Sales jobs can be very rewarding, but they can also be very challenging, particularly for introverts. However, with some practice, you can improve your sales techniques, even if you are not a natural. Here are 15 sales tips that you can use to connect with customers, impress your boss, and earn more commissions.
Identify and appeal to customer pain points
When working to improve your sales skills, think about the salespeople who have wowed you in the past when you’ve been out shopping. When a really good salesperson is pitching, it almost doesn’t feel like they’re selling something, because the conversation feels natural and draws you in. One of the best ways to make your sales pitches feel more natural to your prospects is to focus on the problems they have and how your product could solve them. You can talk about the benefits and features of your product all day long, but ultimately, if a prospect doesn’t see the connection between those benefits and their life, they aren’t going to go for it. A good sales pitch uses this problem solving approach to make a connection with customers before pitching the benefits.
Learn from successful team members
One of the best ways to improve your sales skills is to take note of the strategies that work well for your team members who have been there longer or are particularly successful. If you are struggling, ask if you can shadow them as they pitch customers. Take note of the specific behaviors that prospective customers respond to, and try to work these strategies into your own pitches. Another strategy that can help when you are just getting started in sales is team selling. Working together with colleagues to reel in a big new customer is sometimes more effective than trying to do it all on your own.
Remember that every customer is different
A common mistake that many people make when they’re selling is using the exact same pitch for every single customer. It’s important to remember that your potential customers are human, and they will be able to sense when you are being inauthentic. If you’re only focused on bolstering your sales numbers instead of helping them solve a problem, customers are likely going to be turned off. Pay attention to the unique needs and personality of each prospect, and adjust your pitches based on their behavior and their situation. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and really get to know them - it will make the pitch feel more personal, and you can use that information to be a more effective seller.
Take things one goal at a time
In sales jobs, it’s common to monitor performance by setting goals, like a certain dollar amount in sales or amount of new customers in a month. While this can be very motivating, it can also be very overwhelming if you are new to sales. A good way to minimize this stress is to break your big goals down into smaller goals that you can tackle day by day. Some good small goals to hit are reaching out to a certain number of prospects each day, or closing a specific sale that’s starting to show some potential. By setting smaller goals, you will start to feel more encouraged by these accomplishments, instead of focusing on the broader picture, which can be much more daunting.
Keep things conversational
When talking to prospects, you don’t want to inundate them with formal or technical language - at a certain point, they’ll just start to tune you out. If you’re communicating via email, keep your sentences short and make sure you explain things in a very conversational way that’s easy for anyone to understand. Your prospects likely get hundreds of emails every day, so if you can’t draw them in quickly, they will just move onto the next. When you’re talking in person, don’t go overboard with technical details. If you want to go into more detail about the product or service, spread the details out through the course of the conversation and ensure you give a full explanation so that your prospects really understand.
Start fresh in the morning
If you find that you are struggling to connect with a potential customer, it might be because they’ve had a long work day and they’re feeling tired or overwhelmed - not because you’re not making a good pitch. A good way to get around this problems is to set your most important sales calls or meetings for first thing in the morning. At this point in the day, people are feeling more honest and open-minded, and they haven’t yet started to feel bogged down by daily problems and responsibilities. This is the perfect time to make a good impression that will last.
Don’t be the one to bring up competitors
Of course, as a salesperson, your competitors are always on your mind. However, you don’t want this to show to your potential clients. You want to appear to be so confident in your product or service that your competition doesn’t even matter. Never bring up your competition to a prospect unless they are already using their services and you are trying to convince them to switch. You can also address competitors if the other party brings it up, but tread lightly. You never want to be the one badmouthing a competitor. It looks unprofessional, and your prospects might even start to wonder if you’re trying to compensate for a product that’s less than perfect.
Fit into your customers’ schedules, not the other way around
Your customers shouldn’t have to make an effort to buy something from you - the entire process should be easy and seamless. To ensure that this happens, go out of your way to accommodate your prospects’ schedules when it comes to meetings and communication. Always let them pick the time and place for in-person meetings unless you have a direct conflict. You should also accommodate their communication preferences, whether that’s email, phone calls, or another medium. This will help customers feel relaxed and more like they are on their own turf, which could make them more open to making a purchase.
Make the client think they’re right
You know that your product is the right fit for a potential customer, but it can take some work to get them to see it that way. Subtle flattery is a great strategy to add into your sales process, so sneaking in a compliment about their work every once in a while can help warm up a difficult customer. Another helpful trick is to make the customer think that you’re always agreeing with them, even when you are actually correcting them. This is easier to do than you think - anytime you have the urge to interject with ‘but’, start that same sentence with ‘and’. The word ‘but’ can make people defensive, but with this approach, you’re just giving them more information to compare with what they already know. Be sure to continually check in with prospects to see how they are feeling about the product you are selling - this puts them in the driver’s seat, and it gives you a chance to subtly adjust your pitch to make it more successful. A final tip to butter up your potential customer is to occasionally rephrase what they’re saying to show you’re listening. This is a trick that therapists use to make their client feel supported and understood, but it can also work well for sales.
Believe in what you’re selling
This can be a difficult one at times, but it makes your sales pitches sound much more energetic and authentic. When you start selling a new product, really take your time to not only learn the key specs and features, but to dive into what makes it great and how it solves peoples’ problems. Find the things about your product that you love and really focus on them when you get stuck at any point in the sales process. When you truly care about what you are selling and believe that it can help your prospects, they will sense that. Think about it from your perspective - you’re much more likely to take advice from someone who cares about you and really knows what they’re talking about. Your clients will feel the same way, so strive to become that advice-giver for their company.
Never stop prospecting
Unfortunately, leads fall through all the time, no matter how good of a salesperson you are. The best salespeople focus just as much on prospecting as they do on closing a deal. You want to make sure that you always have more leads to fall back on if none of your current prospects work out. This is where it can help to take the sales process slow at first - start by casting a wide net just to see who responds, and then you can decide where to focus most of your energy. Always spend at least a small portion of your day prospecting, and try to have a few different strategies in place to find new leads.
Always have a next step in place
It depends on what you’re selling, but in most cases, it’s going to take more than one phone call or meeting to close a sale. One of the biggest challenges as a salesperson is to make sure that prospect doesn’t disappear in between meetings. The best way to do this is schedule that second meeting before the first meeting is even over. Have your calendar available so you can work out a time that’s right for both of you then. When you’re that prepared, the prospect is going to be much less likely to back out of a future meeting. It also shows them that you’re professional and are going to make the sales process run smoothly for them.
Use visuals when necessary
Sometimes it’s going to take a little bit more than just your description of your product to get a prospect engaged. If you’re having an in-person sales meeting and you can sense the prospect is starting to tune out, using visual aids can pull them back into the conversation. Professional photos, diagrams, and videos of your product in action can help them imagine how it will fit into their lives, making it feel much more relevant. You can also opt for the traditional PowerPoint presentation - but make sure that your slides are adding value, not distracting from your pitch.
Respect everyone involved with your prospects
Many people in sales make the mistake of only focusing on the decision maker at the company and neglecting everyone else. This can cost you the sale in the long run - you never know which lower level people are communicating their experiences with the decision makers. No matter who you encounter at the companies you are prospecting, be friendly and try to show them the value of your product if you can. A good way to make sure you get to the right decision maker is to contact people who are high up in the company - they can refer you down to the right buyer. If you start with the lowest level employees, it’s unlikely your pitch will make its way up.
Never forget your goals
Unfortunately, there are always going to be days where working in sales just feels like a total slog. You’re going to need strategies to stay motivated if you want to be successful. Always have personal goals to keep in mind in addition to your sales goals. This could be anything from impressing your boss and getting a promotion to saving up money for a vacation - whatever makes you happy.
Using these tips can help improve your sales pitches and win more clients, even if you’re a sales beginner. With some practice, you’ll soon be closing deals left and right, and you’ll feel right at home on a sales call or in a meeting.