The title of this article sounds a bit like an infomercial, which claims to make selling so simple that a child could do it and even borders on the ridiculous. Understanding the principles of selling is not difficult, but the application and discipline of the principles and skills is what separates the top performers from the average, typical, low-level performer. And yes, even children can be top sales performers.
1. Just do it. We have heard these words all our lives. Nike made the words famous when they adopted them as their motto years ago. In the world of selling, just as in any other endeavor or occupation, it is not what you know, but rather, what you do that makes a difference. Do what you know and your “doing” or performance will improve. Don’t spend your time thinking about doing it, just do it. Don’t plan and then re-plan, followed by extensive evaluation, discussion and then prolonged meditation. Get off your chair, get out of your office and go sell. Just do it.
2. Know your sales process. What is it that you do, that when done right, consistently, generates sales? This is your sales process. Too often, salespeople just do stuff. They are flying by the seat of their proverbial pants doing whatever pops into their heads in hopes of making a sale. Selling is a process, not an event as many salespeople incorrectly demonstrate. Define your process and then follow it regularly and consistently, while at the same time always looking for ways to improve it.
3. Plan every day. Your planning time should be a sacred time to you because of the impact it will have on your success, wealth, family and overall improved life experience. Time is too precious to waste and yet, the majority of all the time people spend in their lives, by their own account, is not utilized doing those things of most importance. Plan and schedule the “what and when” of your sales process. Don’t leave it to chance. People generally do the things they plan. Time that is not planned is typically wasted.
4. Set goals. Goal setting is the secret to accomplishment. Until you set a goal you will not make progress. You will talk about it and think about it and then think about it and talk about it some more, but no progress of any significance will take place until you set a goal. Just as goal setting is the secret to accomplishment, the secret to goal setting is establishing a detailed plan to achieve the goal. Set daily activity goals relating to your sales process as well as your overall sales or profit goals. The effective application of goal setting is the basic difference between wealth and poverty.
5. Prospect every day. Some salespeople deliberately avoid prospecting while at the same time they complain about poor sales. Nothing else matters in the world of sales if you don’t have prospects. Prospecting is part of your sales process and you need to plan time to do it every day. You should have very specific activity goals. Even though you may not enjoy prospecting, just do it. Prospecting is the process of finding new sales opportunities and there are many successful and enjoyable methods of finding prospects.
6. Become the voice of your industry. If potential customers are not aware of your products and services they will buy from someone else. In every industry and market, there are those companies that stand out from the rest because they are the recognized expert, or voice. With the advent of the Internet, self-publishing, blogs and social media, there is no excuse for not being recognized as an expert in your industry. Look for opportunities to publish, speak, network and promote your company and your products. Be creative and consistent. There are publications, both paper and digital, that are constantly looking for content. Again, if the content for these publications is not yours, then it will surely be that of your competitors.
7. Never forget the power of referrals. Spend time with your current and past customers. They are the very best source of referrals. Referrals close at a much higher ratio than any other form of prospecting; they also close much faster. Referrals have been presold by your customer and carry their stamp of approval. Prepare and coach your current customers to give you referrals. Help them know who to refer and how to do it. Develop an effective and consistent program for receiving referrals from your customers. When they are happy with the way your products and services have helped them solve their problems and achieve their objectives, they will be willing to help you accomplish your sales goals.
8. Happy satisfied customers are like a pot of gold. Your very best, next sale should come from an existing customer. However, most salespeople often look beyond this pot of gold. There are three things you can harvest from an existing customer. The first and most obvious is a new sale. The second is a referral, which is as good as a sale. Third, is an endorsement in the form of a letter, or a video. In today’s highly technical environment, video endorsements have a profound impact on a prospect. Spend time with your customers making them happy so they will buy more, provide you with referrals and give you endorsements that will influence others to buy your products and services.
9. Don’t underestimate the impact of networking. Build a team of people who believe and respect you, your products and services. Build a network of people who will promote you to their customers and associates. Your sales are only limited by time and space. Engaging others through networking is a way to clone yourself. The more exposure you have in the market place, the more sales you will make. Expand your sphere of influence through networking.
10. Give to get. This principle is experienced every week at local stores offering free samples. It is also demonstrated in the principle of reciprocity that is described as reciprocal generosity. When you give to others, they will give back to you. Generally, you will receive more than you give. Establish a program of giving to others with a sincere desire to help them improve their situation and your rewards will come back ten fold. To be the most successful, this principle of giving to get, must have an unselfish and sincere concern for the wellbeing of others. The world will become a much better place when we all embrace this principle.