- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
Being a better salesman or woman is far from easy, as it’s the subject of countless books, guides, seminars, college classes, and more. But all of these resources take tons of time to get through and may not even result in you actually being better at sales. They tend to focus on theory and abstract concepts more than actionable changes in behavior.
Below, you’ll find some concrete and practical things you can do today to get better at sales. Let’s dive in!
PRACTICE LISTENING TO CUSTOMERS
One of the best things you can do to boost your sales record, bar none, is to practice your listening rather than speaking. The latter is usually emphasized by other salesmanship guides, but while speaking charismatically is important, listening to the needs of a potential customer will often serve you better.
This is because no two sales are exactly alike. In fact, each sale you make will be marked by individual aspects unique to that interaction. If you listen to each possible customer, you can better tailor your message to their needs. Plus, doing this allows you to honestly tell a possible customer why your product or service is right for them (more on honesty below).
BECOME GOOD AT BEING FRIENDLY
Some people are naturally better at sales than others. These folks are also, without exception, friendly or otherwise social people. If you want to become better at sales and you aren’t friendly, you ought to practice being so as much as you can.
It’s just a fact of human communication that we appreciate people who are friendly and fun more than we do people that seem grumpy or otherwise like they don’t want to be talking to us. The same goes true for anyone interacting with a salesperson.
This isn’t to say you have to be super bubbly and make a totally fake persona. But it’ll go a long way if you practice your smile, learn how to be sociable without seeming pushy, and tailor your actions so that the conversations you have with potential clients are overall pleasant experiences.
LEARN TO TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER… STRATEGICALLY
As a salesperson, you’ll always want your potential customer to say “yes!” But it’s also important to learn early that you won’t always get the sale. In fact, sometimes people will say no before you really begin your pitch.
This is normal and a part of all business that you should get used to. Instead of being the typical pushy salesperson that badgers into saying yes, learn when to retreat and leave the not-client with a good impression.
This is a great idea because it shows that you’re actually invested in the customer’s well-being, not just your bottom line. In the event that the client ever changes their mind, what are the odds that they’ll go with the friendly, helpful salesperson who let them make up their own mind as opposed to a pushy, bullying salesperson who never left them alone?
UNDERSTAND YOUR PRODUCT INSIDE AND OUT
To be better at sales, you can’t be making everything up as you go along. You must learn whatever you’re selling right down to the simplest details. This is important both so you:
- Match your product to people who actually benefit from it
- And so that you can answer any questions a potential customer might have
Nothing seems less authentic than a salesperson who can’t answer questions about what they’re selling. It may take time, but aim to become a master of your products or services. This should happen naturally, so long as you remember the next point…
BE HONEST ABOVE ALL
People can always tell when someone is lying to them or just telling them what they want to hear. Being good at sales is about more than convincing someone to spend money; it’s about being honest and truthfully presenting them with something that will make their life better.
Yes, this does sometimes mean that you shouldn’t sell a product that won’t do that. But the end result will be much better, as clients and customers will trust you and you’ll have an easier time selling worthwhile stuff to people.
Plus, honesty and integrity are applicable to your sales pitch. People are much more likely to buy from someone they trust compared to someone trying to sell them snake oil.
ALWAYS HAVE YOUR INFORMATION AVAILABLE
You won’t make every sale you attempt, but you can become a better salesperson by leaving all your info out in the public so that potential clients know how and where to reach you. Remember, people can and do change their minds, or they might decide to try your product when they can spend a little more.
Having your info available makes it more likely that people will approach you – how’s that for sales success?
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Lastly, this tip isn’t a direct thing you can practice during your actual selling efforts. But taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is just as important for your sales results as it is for the results of any other professional.
If sales is your work, then it’s necessarily affected by your mental health and how much sleep you get every night, in addition to what you eat. If you want to be a great salesman, you need to be feeling great, too.
That means getting seven or eight hours of sleep every night without exception (and possibly going to sleep at the same time every night for consistency). You should eat well and try to maintain a solid exercise routine. All of this will help you stay physically fit and healthy over the long-term.
Furthermore, be sure to take breaks instead of just racking up more selling hours in an attempt to get a promotion. Even if you’re career-driven, having a good work/life balance and allowing yourself time to rest is crucial if you want to stay happy and motivated at work.
Take care of yourself, and you’ll see your sales records skyrocket: guaranteed.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell