So you’re the top tier sales person in your organization? Maybe you’re new to sales? Maybe you’ve been in sales for a while but lost your “mojo”?
Sales is and has been a profession where you have the potential to make a lot of money. Even though wages may not be great, the best sales people make money, a lot of money, due to the commission structure. Almost every single sales role relies on commission and through this many great salespeople have made millions.
Here we are then, the cold calls, the cold emails, the phone sales and the damned gatekeepers, it seems to be getting harder and harder to make that sale to reach your monthly quota. – Been there, done that! Actually still doing it, I love the adrenaline rush.
So what is the secret you ask?
Please keep in mind that sales unlike every other profession is not a 9-5 job. Sales is something you do at your kids’ birthday party, at a parent-teacher conference, at the next industry event, on your next flight to your annual holiday, on the beach, at the pub. I’m sure you get the picture. Well, here are my ten rules to making your sale each and every time you talk to a prospect:
- Always be open to meeting new people, no matter where you are (as mentioned above). Be welcoming, smile, be friendly, but please do not spend two hours telling them your life story, pouncing like your new meet is prey – they are NOT. Instead, bite your tongue, always have business cards handy and ask 5 questions about them, who they are? About their family? Where they work? What do they do? Basically, find out as much as you can about them. Before you leave, give them your business card and thank them for their time.
- Ensure you use your social media platforms professionally, especially if you know it’s a platform where potential clients might come from. Please avoid provocative, sexual, lurid, and distasteful content. Present a professional but friendly image, always! Post something at least twice a week, it doesn’t have to be related to your company just something that will present you as a seasoned professional in your industry, and the odd joke every now and then.
- Clean up your profiles, make sure all your social media platform profiles are up to date. These are your online CV’s or portfolios when potential clients are searching they will review your portfolio/CV. Place yourself in your potential client’s shoes, what would you like to see in someone’s portfolio/CV that will make you send an invitation for collaboration. Make sure it’s updated at least once every three months.
- Engage on social media with your professional connections, like their posts, re-share if you believe it’s beneficial and adds value. Your connections will take notice.
- Send a message to introduce yourself, especially if you’ve not communicated with your contacts in a long time or never, beware do not PESTER/SPAM. Find something that you have in common, work out what value you will bring to them, and then start a conversation online.
- Find out what industry events are there around your area, or where your next business trip or holiday is. Although technology has certainly become a big part of our lives professionally and personally, the socializing and personalizing to collaboration has come full circle and it will always be easier to sell whatever product or service you have to offer if you are able to speak to your potential client face to face. Do not forget – always have your business cards handy, even at the pool, dancing lessons, movie theater. I think I made myself clear.
- Prior to making your cold calls, prepare the day before, find out what is the common ground between your client and what you have to offer. What value will you bring to their organization, be sure you know who it is you need to speak to. When the gatekeeper tells you maybe they can help one way around it, this line works well for me “Thank you, unfortunately, I must speak to James because we have already been in contact through “social media”, “email” and he requested that I call him. Could you please tell me when James will be available?”
- Sending a cold email – Now this requires quite a bit of insight, please do not just send a template. Use your social media platforms to find something that would link you both. Personalize the email, by making reference to the topic of mutual interest, and only a brief sentence requesting a time to speak. Please do not write two pages about how great you and your company are.
- Video conference – where possible always ask for a video conference conversation, this is usually the best solution for organizations working globally. Remember that the opportunity to be able to see your client face to face and answer any questions they or you may have, right there and then, develops this relationship further and helps in the trust-building and better understanding.
- Follow up – This is absolutely crucial, however, many salespeople forget to follow up and they wonder why their client or sale has turned cold. Follow up is not just calling or sending an email – “have you made a decision yet?”, a follow up can be an invitation to your event, after-work drinks or just a good old “handwritten” thank you card to their office.
You see, sales has become quite an art form. It’s not just one of these points above, but it’s all of them working together for a complete approach. Today salespeople are required, to be marketers, content creators, PR specialists, and project managers all at once. Today as a salesperson you can’t just rely on cold calls or cold emails, or networking, today sales is about a balance between all of the above points, it’s about always being able to find the right solution for your clients’ problems and the ability to quickly on your toes make your perfect fit.
You have to be prepared to burn the midnight oil and sleep a little less if you want to be successful in sales today, none of the skills in the past are redundant, I’ve heard this so many times, “Oh, cold calling doesn’t work anymore”, “email doesn’t work anymore”, well it’s not quite true it’s just that today you can’t rely solely on one of these. You as a salesperson do have to be more creative. At the end of the day, it doesn’t hurt to know more about your client and their needs. This might help you better define the value that you can bring them, and this value and your solution is the key to getting your sale every time.