Sales reps tend to be so bogged down in our day to day that we can sometimes forget the basics. The same goes for learning new things. If you’re constantly improving your sales process, and looking for new techniques or approaches, you might accidentally forget to stick to the fundamentals. Too much information can cause analysis paralysis and have the opposite of its intended effect.
This is why it’s important to remember the core tenets of sales. Think of it like riding a bike. You can find the latest gear, learn how to do all sorts of tricks, and find the best places to ride, but if you don’t focus on balance and pedaling the bike, you’re going to fall right off, no matter how clever or geared-up you might be.
In the spirit of these reminders, we’ve put together a list of the obvious ways to close more deals that we sometimes forget about. They’re not based on the latest cutting-edge sales research, but if you don’t do these things, then it won’t matter how many other things you learn, because when it comes to getting signed contracts, you’ll still fall flat. Here they are:
1. Qualify early and aggressively
We love opportunities, and when they show up, we’re usually afraid of losing them. This is probably the biggest reason why sales reps spend so much time with prospects who might not be qualified: they don’t want to give up anything resembling an opportunity. This is backwards, however, because time is finite, and the more of it you spend with someone who isn’t qualified to buy, the less of it you’ll have to spend with somebody who is. This is why qualification should start early, during the research phase, and during the first conversation. The quicker you can get yourself into this mindset, the more effective you will be.
2. When someone tells you to check back in with them, do it
In sales, the timing isn’t always right, and many prospects will suggest that a rep follow up with them in a few months (or sometimes a year’s) time. To be sure, sometimes this is just a brush-off, and the prospect might not have any real interest in doing business. But to assume that this is always the case is a huge mistake, because any competent sales rep knows that the money is in the follow-up. Make it a point to follow-up when the prospects asks you to, and even when they don’t. Set a calendar reminder and do it. Otherwise, you’re not only failing to do your job, you’re leaving money on the table.
3. Sell something you’re passionate about
This is the ultimate sales “hack,” and yet it’s completely ignored by vast swaths of the sales population. Selling something you don’t care about or don’t believe in is the death knell for enthusiasm and commitment. And sure, there are sales reps out there who can convince themselves (and others) that products they don’t believe in are worth buying, but they’re far from the majority. The rest of us need some sort of belief to be able to transfer that belief to others. So make sure you’re selling a product you think is great, or at least one that you believe is effective and worth buying. It’s a concept that’s so simple, yet so often ignored.
Want a prospect to accept your proposal? Ask. Want to find out what you need to offer in order to earn someone’s business? Ask. Want to know where you fall short in terms of your sales abilities? Ask. Want more referrals? Ask. We get so fixated on the difficulties of achieving the outcomes we want that we forget there is a much simpler way to get from point A to point B. Most people want to help, and most people are willing to be honest as long as you have the courage to be direct with them. What will it take to earn your business is a perfectly legitimate question to ask after you’ve taken the trouble to understand a prospect’s problem. And asking your sales manager or coworkers for help and advice shouldn’t be taboo. So don’t think you’re an island or have to struggle or play games to get what you want. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking a question, and there’s no need to make it any more complicated than that.
Keep your deals on track, and your manager off your back.
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