The essence of sales success distilled into a single, short list.
Over the years, I've listened to dozens of pundits and trainers explain what it takes to be successful in sales. Here's what they've told me, distilled to its essence:
Use the web to discover how your potential customers view their business and how they serve their own customers.
Apply a set of criteria for who's likely to buy, based upon your past experience of who has bought in the past.
Whether you're cold calling or following up a referral or web access, you must be able to capture a stranger's interest.
You'll need to gradually uncover information, not through interrogation, but through the natural give-and-take of conversation.
Even if you've got a lot to say, you must always remember that selling is mostly about the customer and not you or your firm.
In every sales situation there is a season: a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
Don't let your daydreams of glory keep you from seeing the harsh reality of a prospect who's simply not going to buy.
Customers usually have an idea of what they need; it's your job to diagnose and address the roots of that need.
From the start, you must communicate what's unique about your firm's solution, so that it becomes the only real option.
Prospects who want to buy will surface objections to make certain it's the right decision. Your job is to help them see clearly.
Trust must be earned through consistency and integrity, both of which only reveal themselves over time.
When you're asked to present to a group of people, you can't just run down the bullet points. You want them "eating out of your hand"!
Prospects who want to become your customers give off signals (green lights) that they're ready for you to close the deal.
Even if you're getting all the "green lights," you still must summon the courage to ask, even at the risk of losing the sale.
It costs time and money to drum up new business. It's cheaper and easier to sell to people who already know your worth.
No salesman (or woman) is an island. Your ability to serve the customer depends upon the other people in your firm.
If your customers are truly delighted, they'll send their friends and colleagues your way. Especially if you ask.
Even if you possess every skill on this list, there will be times when selling is tough. It will take inner strength to keep you going.
Success in sales (and indeed in every job) is totally failure unless you're feeling and expressing thanks to those who've helped you.
Like this post? If so, sign up for the free Sales Source newsletter.
Warning: Customers Don't Trust Leaders
The Danger of Positive Thinking
Create Your Personal Brand: 8 Steps
GEOFFREY JAMES did a lot of business stuff and wrote a slew of articles and books. Now he writes this column. Preorder his new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, by May 12 and get an exclusive bonus chapter and a signed bookplate.@Sales_Source