If you are a seasoned sales rep, you have most likely learned some tips and tricks during your career that have created the perfect sale-closing recipe. And if you’re new to the sales world, you’re probably reading sales performance management blogs like this to learn the secrets of your more experienced peers.
The truth is, no matter how long you’ve been targeting prospects via email, phone, and snail mail, things are always changing. The sales secrets you thought you were keeping safe from competitors are now known, while other useful tidbits are just out of your reach. You don’t know what you don’t know, right? So, we’ve decided to bolster this post with updated secrets and commentary.
Some of these secrets might be things you have never thought of, while others could be things you have heard before, but refused to believe at the time, and have since long forgotten. Either way, the following should serve as a great set of sales secrets to get you going as a beginner or out of a rut as an experienced sales professional. There are six primary secrets to sales success. These include:
- Customers actually want to buy from you.
- Elevator pitches don't work.
- Cold calling is indeed valuable.
- Selling is done through listening, not speaking.
- Introverts can outsell extroverts.
- Existing customers can be more valuable than new ones.
Of course, each has a wrinkle, and needs more explanation.
Sales Secrets You’ve Never Heard (Or Have Possibly Forgotten)
1. Customers actually want to buy— if you give them a chance to tell you what they want.
A career in sales doesn’t have to be a slimy manipulation of naïve citizens. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Customers really do want to buy things; we’re in the age of consumerism and many people are looking for the fastest, easiest, and best quality solutions to their problems. Plus, there is a reason businesses set aside money and budget their spending…it’s so they’ll have a pot to dip into when the perfect solution comes along. Takeaway: Nobody wants to be sold something aggressively, but they most always want to buy! Start your sales call by getting to the bottom of why prospects might want or need to buy, and let their feedback guide your pitch.
2. Elevator pitches don’t work, and are an immediate turn-off for anyone you’re talking to.
Speaking of pitches, one of the worst feelings in the world is feeling like you’re being talked at rather than talked to. Ditch the well-practiced elevator pitch and take the time to find out a little bit about your customer before you ramble on about your product’s greatness. Because, the bottom line is, it’s not your product’s features that determine its greatness; it’s all about how well those features function to solve your customer’s problems.
Takeaway: One reason it’s called an elevator pitch is because you can be on the fast track to the bottom if you miss your mark. Ditch the pitch and use your prep time to research customer pain points and how your product can ease such pain.
3. Cold calling is valuable and good for you, because practice makes perfect.
Strengthening the emotional muscles that deal with rejection will give you reason to keep going, and will build your resistance up to a point where you can handle anything thrown your way. One thing that makes cold calling so difficult is that you’re forced to more or less blindside the potential customer on the other end. If you call one person, there could be 10 different ways they’ll respond to you. But if you call 10 people, you’re now in a much better position to handle the next rebuttal…because there is a good chance you’ve heard it before. And, while email has its benefits, the rapport you can build over the phone or in-person is irreplaceable.
Takeaway: Thick skin is something you acquire, and not necessarily something you are born with. If you’re scared to pick-up the phone, that’s natural. Just realize it gets easier every time you do.
4. Selling comes from listening and responding, not convincing or persuading.
Believe it or not, your product can probably fit almost every customer. But, that’s only if you make it so. If you go into a call with a pitch, you’re basically setting yourself up to present your product in a single way. On the other hand, if you try to start your call by listening to customer needs and wants, you have so much more flexibility to tailor your product’s features to fit one of their needs. Ask some things to build rapport, ask a couple of sales questions, then get out of the way.
Takeaway: If you’re not listening to what the customer needs or wants, the only thing you’ll be selling is yourself (short).
5. Introverts can easily outsell extroverts, because introverts are great listeners.
That loud sales rep in the corner cubicle who is incredibly slick and seems to be able to land customers fairly often? He might not be doing as well as you think. Introverts tend to be excellent listeners, back to the points above, helping them to make quality sales, and more of them.
Takeaway: No matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, go into your call with confidence. Know that it’s not the loudness of your voice or the slickness of your words that’s going to land the deal, but rather how well you listen and connect the dots between what your prospect is telling you, and what your product can do.
6. Loyal customers can be more valuable than new ones.
Per the above, cold calling or emailing a brand new prospect can be absolutely terrifying. It’s the fear of the unknown that’ll get you every time. You don’t know what is going to happen, and are in the dark as to how they’re going to react and what they’re going to say. But calling up a loyal customer who loves your product? First, it’s a much easier practice, and second, it’s usually a less costly endeavor. Takeaway: Take care of your current customers and they will make your job a lot easier. Not only do they provide a relatively easier sales process, but keeping in touch with them usually softens any negative blow you might receive from calling others out of the blue. So, there are six secrets for you. The underlying theme of it all?
Customers want to buy, so listen to their needs; elevator pitches don’t work because you’re priming yourself to talk before you listen; cold calling is difficult at first because you haven’t listened to enough rebuttals to feel comfortable.