There are numerous business models and techniques that focus on the sales process steps, but the most effective sales techniques go beyond the selling process itself. A successful sales team depends on the drive and personality of the individual salesperson as well as on the small, but critical details that take the sales experience from good to great in the customer’s eyes.
Regardless of how many sales process steps your sales force is following, there are certain sales habits that your high performers will all have in common. Soffront Software, a provider of sales automation software for over a decade, examines how to be a successful salesperson.
1. Prospecting skills. Exceptional salespeople are great at prospecting new customers not only because they know how to sell, but also because they genuinely love selling and understand that prospecting is a key component of the selling process. Learning to embrace it is a necessary tool for success.
2. Product knowledge. Knowing what you’re selling may seem like common sense, but many sales teams miss the mark and rely on pre-sales engineers or scripts or fact sheets that contain little or no pertinent information on the product or service beyond the initial pitch. Those sales people who think outside the box and take it upon themselves to thoroughly learn the product or service will be better equipped to confidently tackle questions.
3. Honesty and integrity. Consumers value transparency, so honesty and integrity rank highly in the list of desired sales traits. Most customers can tell when a salesperson is being dishonest or shady, and it’s important to recognize that this doesn’t just reflect badly on them, but on the organization as well.
4. Directness. Instead of going in circles with your sales pitch, hit the important points clearly, concisely, and immediately. Your customers will appreciate the approach, and they will feel more comfortable about listening to what your team has to say.
5. Relationship building. One of the most effective sales techniques is to develop a trusted relationship with your leads and customers. This relationship establishes a comfort level and makes the sales process go smoother. It also increases the chance that those customers will return to you for service and refer your service to others. Having the right CRM software in place will help your sales force facilitate and maintain these relationships by making it easy to stay in touch and follow up with contacts.
6. Optimism and enthusiasm. Negativity has no place in sales. Maintaining a positive and enthusiastic attitude when speaking to customers is what produces sales, gets referrals, and makes great salespeople stand out from average ones. A great attitude also helps spread good morale among the rest of the team, which goes a long way toward improving overall sales numbers.
7. Self-awareness and control. In sales, there are always moments that test a salesperson’s patience. An effective salesperson has the ability to remain cool under pressure and keep emotions in check. It’s also important to understand that a customer’s frustration is best diffused with information, patience, and a good attitude.
8. A closing strategy. Every successful salesperson has a specific closing strategy that works for her. Whether appealing to a customer’s emotional triggers or confidently answering questions and dispelling doubts, finding and tweaking a closing strategy that works is one of the most vital parts of selling.
9. Creating a need. Establishing a rapport with your customer will enable you to find out what your customer’s needs and wants are and will help you analyze his decision making process. In other words, understanding your customers will help you find out why they need your product or service, and it will allow you to affirm their decisions once they’re made. David Sandler, developer of the Sandler Selling System, suggests that prospects respond to their own pain, and the best salespeople listen to a prospect’s needs in order to alleviate that pain. Another benefit of an integrated CRM application is the ability to note every pain point so the salesperson can make the best use of each contact with a prospect.
10. Following up with clients. Finally, the most effective and salespeople understand that the customer-salesperson relationship doesn’t end with the closing of the sale. Following up with clients will ensure a higher level of satisfaction, it will help generate repeat business, and it will enable your sales team to foster and nurture relationships that may turn into referrals.