There is a very intimate skill in becoming and being a top sales professional in any industry.
Surprisingly, the industry itself doesn't matter, and the techniques used by the top sales professionals selling software systems to international industries and those selling medical equipment to individual doctor's offices are not much different.
One of the biggest issues in being a successful sales professional is having and maintaining a deep and up to date knowledge of the products and/or services you are offering.
You must also have a significant understanding of the business or industry you are selling within. This is so that you can come up with unique and very good solutions for your customers/products. Once you have that mastered, there are eight other techniques that top sales professional use that can be incorporated into any type of sales.
The more of these techniques you practice and use, the bigger improvement in your sales you will see. By employing the techniques top sales professionals use you will see an increase in both your volume of sales to existing customers and your volume of sales to new clients and accounts.
Turn cold calls into warm calls
One of the biggest benefits of social media, including sites such as LinkedIn, is that sales professionals now have the ability to create nurtured leads. A basic definition of a nurtured lead is making your buyer/prospect aware of the benefits of your company’s product or service by providing informational content prior to your sales pitch.
As the seller, you have already built the brand recognition and positioned yourself as a resource for the buyer. In research completed by the Annuitas Group a nurtured lead, when making the first purchase, will make a 47 percent larger purchase than a client that was developed with a cold call.
Avoid comparisons to other companies
A very common mistake according to Sanjeev Saxena, the CEO of the prominent medical sales equipment company POCMedical, is to bring up the competition in your initial sales calls. As soon as you mention the competition the customer immediately starts to think of the other product. You want them to focus exclusively on your solution.
Not being direct
While it is essential not to be pushy or overbearing to a customer, giving them an option to opt out of the sales call is never a good tactic. Avoid starting the conversation with "do you have a few minutes?" or "is this a good time to talk?"
A better option, according to Jill Konrath, author of Agile Selling, is to immediately present how your product will make a difference for the organization you are selling to. Focus on knowing a problem your customer is facing and addressing how your product or service will address this problem.
Know how to close the deal
I think one of the biggest mistakes that sales representatives make is not understanding how to move from presenting the product to actually getting the buyer to commit.
In fact, I recommend rehearsing the close as much as the presentation, and even having a few different options to allow your prospect to choose from. This will allow you to present different options that can go with the flow of the conversation in a natural, comfortable and confident way.
Don't give up
According to several top sales professionals and trainers including myself, Jake Atwood, and various LinkedIn studies, it takes on average 7-10 contacts to get to a point where you are selling into the C-suite or large corporate buyer.
These sources also report that most low to average producing sales professionals stop calling after 3 to 5 unsuccessful attempts. By staying persistent and learning about your target client and industry, statistically, you will be more successful.
Be the first to call
Surveys by groups such as InsideSales.com have shown clearly that the first sales person to contact clients is going to get 50 percent more of the prospects they contact first. This means that if you are first to suggest a solution to a problem for a company through your products and services, you are 50 percent more likely to get that sale.
Images are incredibly powerful aids and tools for your sales presentation. They can be incorporated into all types of presentations including in-person materials as well as short videos, infographics or PowerPoints that can be set up on apps for the customer to view. Additionally, they are easy to use multiple times without losing much effectiveness if any.
Research now shows that the human brain is able to process a visual image up to 60,000 times faster than the same information in text form. In an article by Mike Parkinson, leader of Billion Dollar Graphics, it was noted that images have both a cognitive and an emotional component, which speeds up processing and engages the imaginative part of the brain. They are also processed into long-term memory, a fact that Dr. Lynelle Burmark has studied. This means people recall total images while they only retain a very small amount of verbal information or what they read.
Be a storyteller
Bestselling authors and brothers Chip and Dan Health have written the book, "Made to Stick" about how to create lasting ideas in the minds of those you communicate with.
It was found through several studies that about 63 percent of people remembered the facts of a story while only about 5 percent remembered the same facts or information when it was provided as an unrelated piece of information.
Creating a memorable story about how a product or service was used in a way that is relative to your buyer is a critical factor in making a sale. Not only does this also bring you in as a problem-solver, but it provides a positive emotional and cognitive experience for the decision maker, all which are essential in making a sale.
Still want more tips on closing the sale?
Here is a great article on How To Present Your Sales Proposal Like A Boss.