Selling, it’s an essential part of any successful business. Whilst online sales and ecommerce are at an all time high, there is and always will be a need for a human sales team. Whether that is to man stores, make sales calls in an office or selling in person (door-to-door, networking, events etc), selling successfully requires certain elements to be in place.
For some, selling may seem like something they’d never, EVER, be able to do or would want to do. Others take to it naturally and in their stride. Once upon a time, I used to think I could never sell nor did I want to. I never considered it something that came naturally to me, I preferred marketing and being back stage and not on the front lines.
But I soon discovered that anybody can learn to sell, and enjoy it in the process. It’s an essential skill, and one that many more of us already possess without knowing it.
For me being a marketeer, the strategy of sales is something I already understood — I just needed to learn to apply it to human beings.
But anybody has sales skills, ANYBODY.
A cleaner has sales skills. Their customers are internal customers, the colleagues who’s offices and workplaces they’re keeping clean. They need to interact, keep them happy, deliver on what they’re there to do — that is sales.
Accountants, in a business to keep the books balanced, pay suppliers and employees. All of these are the accountants customers — and again the skills they use to do a great job of this are all sales skills. Negotiation with suppliers, communication with employees. Keeping the directors, owners & share holders happy.
I’m not going to list every job people hold, but they all require sales skills.
And guess what, the same applies to everybody — not just those with jobs.
Full time parents, need to sell to their kids to keep them happy.
You get the point.
To help literally anybody to unleash their potential as a sales person, there are 7 key elements that will ensure their first time selling is successful. Let’s dive in.
Setting goals with any area of life is essential to success, whatever success looks like. The same applies for sales — set goals, high goals. Strive to sell X number of dollars a week, and strive beyond any targets set by the business. Aim high but don’t expect to reach it in a week — it’s a long term strategy to strive and overachieve, eventually.
As I said earlier anybody can be a sales person — some are naturally sales people, others are not. The key to successfully sell, whatever stage you’re at, is to acknowledge that sales is not an art. It’s more of a scientific, and technological process. Science & technology has certain rules and laws, as does sales. Understanding them is key.
Before trying to sell to anybody, you need to understand the people you’re going to sell to — in particular the pain they’re in (the problem they have) and how the solution you’re trying to sell to them will help.
Get into the head of the target audience, understand them, imagine living their lives and fully grasp the problems they have. This will allow you to passionately and confidently sell the solution. It transforms the process from selling to helping somebody.
In marketing, it’s essential to measure everything — spend, lead source, return on investment (ROI), clicks, conversions, views — for everything. This is done to identify areas of weakness that needs improvement, and areas that do well so more budget can be allocated.
The same must be done for sales. Record stats such as average call time, average conversations in an hour, conversion rate (% of people spoken to that buy), total calls etc.
Then monitor the stats — often. Spot areas that need improvement, and areas that are going well. Constantly learn, constantly strive to excel and improve — even when you’re hitting and beating the targets you set yourself.
The best sales person in the world couldn’t sell a wedding dress to a teenage boy. Successful selling requires selling to the right type of people. Now control over this will vary depending what sales person you are.
If you’re manning a store, you have less control on who comes into the store. However quickly identify that suitability, budget etc and send them on their way if they’re not suitable.
If you’re supplied leads from marketing, again you can’t really control suitability — however a good marketing team should deliver only well qualified, targeted leads. However like with the store, you should quickly qualify them and get rid if they’re no good.
Getting rid of unsuitable leads by the way is not being nasty — it also saves them wasting their time dealing with you!
If however you’re responsible for sourcing your own leads, focus on finding only those suitable. Quality over quantity is the way forward. This is aided significantly the more you understand your ideal audience (point 3) and their pain.
The chances are you’re part of a sales team. If you are, you should not try to view them as direct competition. Embrace the team, learn from them and also aid them where possible. And when comfortable, strive to excel and beat their achievements and leverage any competitive elements within the team.
It’s hard to detail conversations in person to analyse, measure and improve from. Calls however can be recorded in their entirety and be used to measure more detail and review. However it’s important to have others review your own calls too — ideally a more experienced/successful sales person or a sales manager or other superior.
By following those 7 points, you can start to successfully sell for the very first time, regardless of how inexperienced and unconfident you are. Start today.