by Jill Konrath
I was recently asked, “If you were mentoring a new salesperson, what would be your top five sales tips and how did you learn those?”
Good question! It really got me thinking. There are so many things I’d like to tell a new seller. But what are the most important? What things could I recommend that would have the highest impact on success?
After serious deliberation, here are my thoughts …
1. Focus on making a difference.
Nobody cares about your product, service or solution. That’s the hardest thing for sellers to realize. All they care about is the difference you can make for their organization.
For example, today I sell sales training. If I’d call a VP of Sales and mention that, they’ll tell me they’re not interested. However, once I changed my focus to the tangible outcomes they’d get from using my sales training, the door opened wide. After all, they were extremely interested in shortening their sales cycle, reducing the ramp up time for new hire sales reps and driving revenue growth.
2. Slow down to speed up your sales.
This was one of the hardest things for me to learn. When I first started selling, I was so eager to be successful. I tried to wow my prospects with my great product knowledge. I closed often and early. But the more I tried to rush things, the more resistant to moving forward my prospects became. They’d throw out obstacles and objections that I couldn’t overcome. When I learned to slow down, parcel information out over multiple meetings, and simply advance the sales process one step at a time, suddenly my sales increased.
When you’re scared about not getting the business, your prospects can intuitively sense your fear. One of the major symptoms is rushing the sales process.
3. Pay the price of admission. Do precall research!
To get into big companies, you can’t make a 100 cold calls saying the same thing to everyone. Several years ago corporate decision makers stopped answering their phones and rolled all calls to voicemail. They delete most messages within seconds because they sound like salespeople making their pitch.
I discovered that the only way to capture the attention of these corporate decision makers was to create a very personalized message based on in-depth research in their firm. Once I started doing this, I started setting up meetings.
4. Create an account entry campaign.
It takes 7-10 contacts to crack into a corporate account these days. Most sellers give up after 3-5 attempts. If you want to set up a meeting with a corporate decision maker, plan multiple touches from the onset. It takes a while to break through their busy-ness and register on their Richter Scale, but it can be done.
You can use multiple formats in your campaign too: voicemail, email, direct mail, invitations to teleseminars, and more.
5. Analyze your sales approach from your customer’s shoes.
It’s not important what you say. The only thing that matters is what your customers hear. For example, when I was trying to reach a decision maker a while back, I decided to leave the message on my own voicemail first to see how I sounded. When I listened to my message, I was appalled. I sounded pathetic! So I worked on scripting my message and kept calling myself over and over till I finally created something I would respond to if I were the prospect.
Your turn! What would be your top suggestions to a new seller? And how did you learn them?