Sales People Listen Up! Improve Your Sales Numbers in 7 Easy Steps |

It is the bane of every salespersons existence. We need to increase our sales each month, not just to stay ahead and keep our jobs, but, to sell more, achieve more, and live better as we make higher commissions.As they say in sales: “You are only as good as your last month!”For most of us, that hurts! We busted a gut last month to find the extra sales the company was looking for. I mean, couldn’t the boss cut us a break; maybe give us a little recognition for digging deep and finding the extra sales volume to get us over the line.But the brutal reality is that your boss, and his business, are not going to be ‘cut a break’ by the customers and markets it serves. Competition is hectic!!As a result salespeople are always encouraged to re-focus their attention on the challenge ahead – just like their boss and the company they work for. Yesterday is ancient history and the future hasn’t happened yet.Can you guess which one you can affect most effectively?!That’s right! The future.So as a salesperson you have to be future-focused and future-orientated. Always looking ahead rather than dwelling on the failures or victories of the past. Sure learn from them. Acknowledge them. Bathe in the sweet ambiance of sales glory… but not too long because you have a job ahead of you.What you need to realize is that you are operating a business within a business. You want your business to boom. And the great news is that there a definitely things you can do to get your business humming along quite nicely!1. Learn how to introduce yourself to more peopleAn old friend of mine who got into sales way before me – and who semi-retired at the ripe old age of 38 – gave me some great advice: sales is a numbers game. The more people you see, the more presentations you give, the more closes you try, then ultimately, the more sales you will get.There is a heap of scientific evidence that this is in fact the truth!Within the field of statistics there is a scientific law known as the Law of Large Numbers that tells us that as the number of people you ask the closing question to increases there will be, in the long-run, a more or less 50% chance of them saying yes.This proves out for almost every other aspect of sales (and of life) too!You have to get yourself in front of more people. The very best salespeople are always busy. They have full appointment books. They are always talking to prospects, presenting to them, closing them, and following them up after their prospects turn into sales.You should do this too!2. Learn how to open the sale properlyThe most salient, yet too often forgotten, fact about selling well is that you cannot close what hasn’t been opened properly. If you can’t get your rocket off the launchpad how can you expect to get to the stars much less to the moon?Firstly, the thing that people hate about dealing with salespeople the most is THAT question. You know the one! The question that falls out of your mouth every time you get within four feet of a customer:Can I help you?Oh please! You can do better than that!!Every salesperson descended from Noah has used that one. To say it is tired is an understatement. Totally!!The second most-important thing you must learn about sales opening is that people don’t like to get down to business too early. You don’t want to engage the left brain before you engage the right brain.People like to have some fun first. They want to enjoy the experience. When you start coming at them straight-away with your sales kung fu, they get scared like fraidy-cat little rabbits, and they will either:Clam-up and will be completely non-interactive. Yeah, you just try it. I don’t like your chances of qualifying your prospect when they won’t even talk to you;Or more likely,Walk-away, leaving you to wonder why they left and what went wrong.The best thing you can do is to have a friendly non-business greeting. This does several different things:-It communicates that you are totally comfortable in your own skin. You have personal power and you don’t need to get them to buy now;-Along the same lines, it shows to your prospect you are interested in them in an authentic way, you are keen, hungry for their business, but definitely not desperate. People really don’t like doing business with ‘desperates’ because they worry their own welfare as a customer will come a very distant second when it comes to doing the right thing.3. Make your qualifying questions conversationalSome salespeople qualify by going through an ordered list of questions in almost rote fashion. It sounds very machine-like; almost robotic.When your prospect thinks they are being put through some kind of ‘system’ it irks them. They feel like you are being in-authentic and they will just shut-down.Don’t make your qualifying sound like you are a robot!Your qualifying should flow naturally as an extension of the rapport which you have built previously. You have laid the groundwork. The prospect is obviously comfortable with you or they would have long since gone. So lighten-up!A great technique to use is to intersperse the non-business, friend-building questioning with the business-building, business-related questioning. The bonus is that you get to understand how the prospect is likely to use your product in their own lives.This is priceless feedback!! And, you can use this information throughout your presentation, your trial-closing and your closing.4. Help your prospect choose the right productYour prospect may only buy what your industry offers once or twice in their entire lives. You are in the industry all day every day.The point is that prospects often don’t even know how to buy because they don’t have the experience. But they aren’t going to tell you this because they don’t want to look like an idiot.Of course they are not idiots but they are inexperienced, and this is where you – with your daily experience of the industry – can help.Up to this point you have opened-up the sale and have some serious rapport going with your prospect. You have gently qualified their needs and wants and have some picture of what they need. So use it!One critical skill of influence is the art of suggestion. Studies show that if you suggest something, as long as it sounds reasonable, your prospect is highly-likely to go with your suggestion.Say you work in a computer store and someone comes to you wanting a new computer. You have qualified them and discovered that they use a computer once or twice a week, send email, use social media, and aren’t doing anything that would need some serious processing power.You wouldn’t suggest something with a 2 terabyte hard-drive capacity, 4 gigabyte graphics card for gaming supremacy, or an 8 gigabyte processor. This would be total over-kill!Instead, you would show your prospect those options in your suite of products that would benefit your prospect most in the situations that they find themselves in most often.Your prospect will more than likely accept your recommendation, head to the check-out and buy. They will also love you for offering a suggestion that clearly puts them first.The more your prospects love what you do for them the faster and stronger your business will grow.5. Practice leading the saleAs mentioned above, you can use your expertise, putting it to good use in recommending the best offerings you have for the prospect’s individual needs and wants.Similarly, you can use your questioning and presentation skills to lead the sale. This is where you give the sales process a nudge in predetermined directions.You know as a salesperson where you should be up to with your prospect at any particular moment in the sales process.You’ve probably experienced those awkward moments where, for seemingly no apparent reason, the sale just seems to run out of steam and falls flat. It kind of runs aground like a ship stuck on a sandbar.But if you track the progress of your sale, taking mental notes along the way, you will realize when the process is beginning to become stranded and you can take corrective action to stop it from landing on the rocks.To do this properly you will need to have a good idea of those key moments, or ‘markers’, that clearly separate one part of the sales process from another. For example, you know that if you spend only a few minutes on qualifying your prospect then you may have missed something. Any good qualifying step will take longer than that.But you would also recognize that good qualifying shouldn’t take three hours. That’s probably too long!Instead, depending on the complexity of your product, qualifying may take between 20 minutes and 1 hour. That’s plenty of time for most qualifying steps.So your ‘marker’ for your qualifying step is ‘set’ to this time frame. You will know that as the 1 hour mark approaches you need to move the sales process in the direction of presenting or pitching your product.You gently nudge or move your sales process in the direction of this next step.It is important you lead the sale correctly because prospects don’t necessarily know when is the right time to go to the next step.Of course, if your prospect has an objection, or a question, then you must deal with that before moving on. In this instance, the customer is establishing the ‘marker’ as they are indicating they’re not ready yet to move on.Salespeople are viewed very positively when they start to get the hang of leading the sale. Prospects feel more at ease and comfortable with a salesperson who seems to know what they are doing. Very often prospects will willingly take their queue from their salesperson.6. Wow your prospects with a tailored presentationProspects are turned-off when you rattle off a list of things that your product does. “It has this,” you might say. “It does that,” you may promise. But your specifications list, and features and benefits table, means absolutely nothing to your prospect.Your prospect’s needs and wants are what is the most important thing to them. How they will actually use the product and fit it into their lives is the key thing that will decide whether they go with your product or someone else’s product.So, wouldn’t you want to appeal to what is important to your prospect?Yet so much sales training will have salespeople babbling on simply because it fulfills some preset step-wise sales system. That will make your prospects run a mile!Instead of following the list your boss or company has trained you in, listen to your customer instead. You will notice tell-tale signs of disinterest in their body language. This is your queue to ask a question, show them another product, or check-in with your customer that you are on track.When they give any indication, at all, that they are not liking where you are taking the presentation, stop and take a breather. Ask them some follow-up qualifying questions to get some more background and texture about their needs and wants.For example, your prospect may have 8 children and need a car that is practical and has lots of room, but this doesn’t mean they are willing to sacrifice comfort, style and sporty looks and performance.Even if they do go for something that is practical, because you have listened and acknowledged their concerns, you may be able to up-sell your prospects to a higher series model or help them to buy accessories to modify their new car to suit all of their needs and wants better.7. Realize that your prospects don’t have one speedNot every prospect you deal with is going to want to deal with you flat-out, at break-neck speed, in order to get the order signed for boss’s afternoon nap.Some people know what they want. They have been researching the purchase for 12 months, 6 months, or who knows how long. When this person comes to see you they are simply going to want to confirm what they have learned, make sure the product suits their budget, and that your product does what their research says it does.For this kind of customer you need a light touch, You will notice that you seem to get all green lights. You may even be thinking, “No way, this is too easy!”But don’t let doubt creep in now. It is just that the customer doesn’t need as much input from you. To win with this customer just get out of their way. Seriously, if they’re telling you they’re ready, just get it done!!Other prospects will be different. They will want to go through every fine detail. They may want you to show them everything in your range. Have patience and do it!!I’m not even kidding!!If you have one of these characters let me tell you: they already know how painful they are! Their wife tells them every four seconds.But if you show them some courtesy?! Wow!! You can bet they don’t get that often. Instead they will have salespeople walk away from them mid-sale to attend to other, quicker, sales.But trust me, if you dote over them, show them everything you have, and do a top-notch, A-1, first-class presentation on everything for them, they will remember you. You will have customer for life!That’s what we all want… customers for life!The whole aim of running your business within a business is to grow it. You want to expand it. You want to make it better tomorrow than it is today. So you stay future-orientated and don’t look back. This is your business! This is your life!As you deal with more and more people, and make more and more sales, your business will seem to grow as if fertilized by magic. But this is not so!It is your hard work and relentless focus on improvement that will see your business sail to ever greater heights of success.