Sales can be a melancholy job. On one hand, many people (especially nonsales people) feel that it’s sleazy and lowbrow. Frankly there are a lot of really bad sales people out there. On the other hand, when done correctly, it can be a fulfilling & progressive interaction between both parties.
Selling is really the art of convincing someone to believe and buy into your concept. So, here are my top 10 sales tips, all of which have served me well over the years:
1. You can sell only if you yourself are convinced: If you are not sold on the product or service, it will be an uphill battle to sell to someone else. Your lack of conviction will scream through.
2. Be clear and direct: When pitching do not use complicated diction. Pride yourself instead on being able to explain the concept as quickly, clearly and simply as possible. This is important because the biggest problem in sales is client confusion. Confusion does not lead to a Yes.
3. Pressure is an art: Creating FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in your client’s mind can be a good thing because it will lead to serious consideration of your concept. What are they missing out on by not going with you?
4. Know your client: Make sure to research your potential clients, know their challenges and their needs. One size hardly ever fits all, and you look much stronger if you care about the business enough to invest in the research. I can’t tell you how many times I get cold calls from sales people who don’t know what Canadian Energy does.
5. It’s all about the presentation: Building a compelling slide or question deck is critical to the sales process. Practice it, memorize it and be prepared to shift your emphasis based on how the energy changes when you give the presentation. Internally, we should ask ourselves: “Is the flow of this deck right? Will it be compelling and therefore effective?”
6. Be passionate and excited: Most presentations are BORING! So create a show and make it exciting. Excitement is contagious – just like a yawn.
7. If you don’t know the answer, don't guess: People will ask you tough questions, and you may not always know the answer. The person asking you may be testing you, knowing the answer full well. And if you fumble or lie, it’s very hard to rebuild credibility.
8. Answer questions directly and clearly: If you are asked a question and you give a “politician’s answer” – in other words, if you don’t answer the question – your credibility will decline, and you will hurt your chances of making the sale.
9. Humor is a great lubricator: Funny stories always break the ice.
10. You can always be better: Sales is an art, not a science. Which means it’s never perfect and can always improve. I've gone through 94 versions of my sales process in the last several years and version 95 is around the corner.
11. Don't fear the "No". We can always learn and grow from every "no" (sorry, didn't mean for that to rhyme). Accept the fact that having someone say "no" is better than a having them say "maybe". No's are hard to swallow but in order for us to learn, keep an accurate pipeline & adjust our tactics/approach they are essential. And inevitable!
The Bottom line:
Sales is a critical function that is more art than science, so hone your art.