The other evening when I returned home from a long and tiring day with my clients, I decided to begin work on a project I had been anxious to start for some time.  

As I gathered up the materials and tools needed for the job, I couldn’t find some of the exact tools I needed, so I attempted to improvise and use a tool that was close, but not exactly what I needed.  I fussed around trying to achieve the desired result but just couldn’t make it work. In frustration and desperation I tried even harder. The harder I tried the more frustrated I became until I finally realized that I was not going to succeed until I either found the missing tool or took the time to purchase another one.  I wasted a lot of time trying to achieve something that just couldn’t be done without the proper tool. What a futile waste of time and effort!

Guess What?  Selling can be just as frustrating and fruitless as working on my project the other evening--if you attempt to work your sales process, by using the wrong tools or even worse, by not knowing what tools to use.  Time is too precious to waste. It would have only taken me thirty minutes to travel to the store to buy the tool I needed. To learn and apply the proper tools of selling will take far less time than conducting your trade without them.  Selling is just like any other profession, if you want to be efficient and successful, it is essential to be using the correct tools. So what are the tools of selling that will afford you the success you are seeking, without all of the frustrations?  Here is my short list of the essentials:

  1. Maintain an inventory of raw materials.  Current and past customers are your raw materials.  Monitor your bucket of happy satisfied customers regularly.  Your best next sale will most likely come from a happy customer.  Keep track of them and visit them often. Your objective is to help them solve problems and even though you may have just made a sale to them, everyone has continual needs of some kind.  If your happy satisfied customer has no immediate needs, then ask for a referral and make sure you have their endorsement to share with other prospects.
  2. Referral letters, videos and other forms of endorsement are essential tools for selling.  Make sure you have several endorsements to reinforce your claims and promises.  Trying to sell without endorsements is like driving a nail with a pair of pliers.
  3. Effective questioning in selling is as critical a tool as a measuring tape is to a carpenter.  What’s the carpenter’s rule; measure twice, cut once.  Effective questioning allows you to discover, uncover and remove the prospect’s pain.  If you don’t know their pain, you will never make the sale regardless of how much time and effort you expend.
  4. Know your products or services.  Knowledge applied, is one of the most powerful of all sales tools.  You can never know too much. However, knowledge by itself is useless and a waste of time to acquire if it is not applied.  Just like we’ve told our children for years, “Knowing and doing are two different things”. It’s not what you know, but rather what you do that makes a difference in your life.”  Salespeople need to both know and apply to be successful.
  5. Belief is a powerful tool.  Salespeople must believe in their ability to be successful if they ever hope to become successful.  The world would still be in the dark-ages if we didn’t believe in something better. Sometimes in selling you can “will” a sale to happen if you just believe.  The positive spirit of man is a very compelling sales tool.

There are many tools to be used in your sales trade.  Discover them, use them and find greater success with less frustration and stress.