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Five Keys to Success in Sales

Dec 13, 2007
Becoming a great salesperson rarely just happens; it generally takes a whole lot of study and effort. After working in sales for years and rising to the top of my company, these are my five keys to success in sales:

1. Get rid of your stinking thinking.

Most people naturally default to a negative, pessimistic state of mind if they aren't actively telling themselves to think positively. That kind of negativity will kill your career in sales before it ever really gets started. Before you can ever be a successful salesperson, you have to believe that you already are one.

2. Become a master listener.

When you think of sales I bet your first thought is about charisma, thinking on your feet, wit, and the like. I'm here to tell you that more important than all of those is the ability to truly listen to your prospective client. If you can master the ability to really hear them, to really grasp the feeling behind their words, you'll know not only what to sell them but how to sell them.

More than anything else people love to talk about themselves and feel that they're being heard. They'll buy from you without even realizing that they didn't buy because of what you said, they bought because of what you heard.

3. Love your prospects and clients.

Once you grasp how powerful listening is to your sales success, it shouldn't be hard to understand why compassion and genuine concern for your clients is another huge contributor to your success in selling. People can feel whether you're sincere at a subconscious level (if you're good or bad enough they'll be able to tell on a CONSCIOUS level). Basically if you will commit to becoming a person who genuinely loves people and wants them to be successful and happy in whatever they do, you'll become great in sales.

4. Learn to use your voice as a tool.

Here are three numbers you may not have heard before in this context: 55/38/7. What do they stand for? 55% of all understanding a person gets from an interaction is through body language. 38% is gained from the tone of voice the speaker uses. Which leaves only 7% of the understanding a listener gets from an interaction that can be attributed to the actual words the speaker uses.

If this is true, why do you fret so much about the words you use when you give a sales presentation? Why do you worry so much about saying the wrong thing when you're prospecting new business? I'm not saying you should go in unprepared, but I am saying you're probably preparing the wrong thing most of the time. Use your voice as a tool. Learn to convey empathy, authority, understanding, and assertiveness with only your tone of voice.

Can you guess the best way to practice a great tone of voice? It's the phone. Do some telephone prospecting or make a few sales presentations via telephone. Record your calls and play them back so you can hear yourself. Based on the quality and tone of you voice, would you buy from you? Work on it.

5. Learn to sell the benefits instead of the features.

This is timeless advice. People buy a product because of what it will do, whether that be a feeling of importance it gives them or a specific function they need. Have you heard the old story about why people buy drills? It's not because they want a drill; it;s because they need a hole.

The biggest point I can make about this topic is this: You will become great in sales once you truly decide to. After that decision is made with commitment and firmness, all five of these attributes will become yours because you'll do the work necessary to acquire them. Happy selling.
About the Author
Jeremy lights up his truck with lighted hitch covers for night driving and uses college hitch covers on game day.
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