How did you do this year? Did you achieve your sales goals for 2016? What was your biggest takeaway from your selling year? Here are seven tips to help you become a stronger sales professional in 2017.
Here are seven tips that improve your selling efforts in 2017 and beyond! I help clients sell emerging technologies; from advanced analytics, and consulting services, and IOT solutions. But I bet these ideas can help almost anyone in sales. Let me rephrase that: They will help anyone who is open to increasing their effectiveness in sales.
The first tip is to make sure you’re using the right tools to increase your sales. There are so many great tools to choose from, but so many people are doing business the same way they did in 2001. Are you using tools or are they using you? If you’re not using CRM and client tracking systems, you’re leaving business on the table.
The second tip is to learn how to deal with projects that are failing. When I work with clients’ sales teams, I’m always surprised by how much time is spent helping clients to use the products or services my clients sell, but they don’t really learn how to use.
On the other extreme is the client whose project is failing because it’s not being implemented correctly. If you learn how to escalate problems early and often to the right people who are supposed to be helping the clients, you can increase your selling time by 20-30%. Sales people are responsible for selling new business! Are you?
The third tip is to learn how to communicate most effectively with your client. This one is a bit tricky. Do you know what your clients respond best to? At the very beginning of a project, ask your client the best way to reach her. Then make sure you connect with them that way first. I’m a bit slow, but once I started texting current clients more I found more time to call new clients.
Many of my clients prefer phone calls so I plan my day to reach out at the best time for them. Many times, it’s early or late, but usually I can get several great calls done before 7:30 AM and after 6:00 PM. There nothing better than having a yes early in the morning. It makes your day just fly by!
Make sure you think about what you want to say before you call. This might mean having a call objective clearly defined at different stages of the sales process. Don’t waste your time if you don’t know what you want to achieve.
The fourth tip is to educate your potential clients in clusters. I write several articles a week for both my own and other peoples’ blogs. I’m asked to write about many different topics. I negotiate what I am and am not willing to write about for other people’s articles and blogs. I negotiate to write things that help me increase my prospecting activities. I also negotiate to make sure what I write can be used many times on many platforms. This allows me to spend more time calling on warmer prospects.
The fifth tip is to know the game you’re playing. Buyers are becoming more and more sophisticated and disciplined in how the deal with vendors. ARGH! I can’t say that word. Are you keeping your skills on the leading edge of your industry? If you’re not, customers are going to take you to the cleaners. Make sure you’re reading or listening to new sales training on a regular basis. You may be surprised how much more powerful you feel when dealing with clients. Don’t come to fight with a knife when the clients has gun.
The sixth tip is to learn how to be skeptical of what people say and do. There is nothing wrong with asking questions to make sure things are moving along in a positive direction. Fill your sales pipeline with people who are serious about buying in a reasonable time. How do you prioritize your selling time? I prefer to spend my time with qualified economic buyers. Key words here: qualified, economic, and buyers. Not the guy who says your product sounds like something the company needs, but has no say in the decision.
The seventh tip is to learn to say no. I find many of the sales leaders I work with should be saying no more often. Too many articles say build huge pipelines and things will close. It’s a numbers game. You can’t make sales to unqualified and uninterested buyers. You don’t have enough time in your day. Learn to say no. Look at your time as your most valuable asset and you will have better sales results.
Try these tips and see how your sales improve in the coming year. See you next week.