Selling is a premeditated sport. Selling effectively requires a commitment to yourself and your career. If you are a doctor, you have to go back to school and get continuing medical education credits (CMEs) every year. If you are a plumber, you have to apprentice with an expert, get licensed and continue to study. But in sales, all you have to do is borrow someone else’s 10-year-old sales book and read it once – and suddenly you know everything.
But that’s why many salespeople struggle to hit their assigned sales quotas and hit their personal income goals.
Sales is an honorable and rewarding (when you are good) profession when team members take their careers serious. Since 2001, we have worked with hundreds of high tech firms and have isolated 9 specific success attributes that if implemented by any salesperson will automatically improve their revenue capture almost immediately.
While we can only provide you with the attributes, you have to be motivated to implement them because no one is going to make you do it. Your boss is not going stand over you and hold your hand, so implement these 9 practices and you will succeed.
- Accept that sales is your profession. Selling is not a transitional position until you open up a bar, launch the next great mobile app, become a golf pro or figure out what you want to do when you grow up. Be proud of what you do.
- Invest in yourself. Yearly, spend 1% of your gross income on sales training – invest in yourself. If sales is your profession, then why not try to better yourself in your career. It’s your income so don’t wait for your employer to pay for training.
- Cold call every week. Cold call by email, by LinkedIn, by telephone and, depending on what you sell, by physical location. Marketing will never give you enough leads. If you don’t call, you are a junior salesperson.
- Sell business results. The most important person in the room is not you. The buyer wants to know how you can help them. Selling is all about the buyer. Tell them how your product or service can help them be more successful.
- Talk like a buyer. Many salespeople get caught up in spewing acronyms, industry lingo, operational terms, product features and functions of the month and company accolades. If you sell CFOs, CIOs, CEOs, VPs of Marketing or VPs of Purchasing, then you should speak like CFOs, CIOs, CEOs, VPs of Marketing or VPs of Purchasing.
- Know your personal metrics. Selling is a mathematical game–how many calls, how many presentations, how many proposals, how many closed deals. Measure your success and track your numbers.
- Preplan your day, the day before. Selling often results in a managed crisis process–new proposals needed, old customer issues to be managed, bosses to be satisfied, cold calls to be made. Spend 15 minutes the night before and plot out your next day’s strategic activities that will help you make more money.
- When you sell, be a strategic advisor, not just a consultant. Everyone says they use a consultative selling approach. The term is over-used and the approach often produces a failed sales cycle. Often buyers don’t know what they need. To sell more, be more than a consultant asking questions. Instead, become a strategic advisor and tell the buyer what they need – even if it makes them uncomfortable.
- Sell C-level prospects. Selling too low in a buyer’s organizational chart just forces you into commodity. The title of your first entry point into an organization dictates how the buyer will see you. Selling C-level buyers shortens sales cycles, increases gross margins, maximizes value presentations and improves sales closing ratios when managed correctly. To sell more, learn how to get to and sell C-level prospects.
When implementing these 9 sales attributes, you will dramatically increase your sales success as a professional sales executive, but it will take effort.
If you think it is too much work, or that you’re a senior salesperson (or manager) and you have moved beyond these success tools, or that you just don’t want to be bothered, then just quit sales and go find another job and stop pretending you are something you are not.
It’s your career. Success in sales is free; it just takes effort.
Let me know if there are other attributes that you implement that make you successful!