13 Tips to Improve Your Sales Performance
As a seasoned sales rep, you have probably learned some potent industry sales performance tips and tricks during your career, and you’re likely to have already created a solid recipe for increasing your sales skills. It’s likely that you’re not new to the sales world, and that you’re probably reading blogs like this to refresh your knowledge, not just learn the secrets to sales success of your experienced peers.
However, the truth is that things are always changing. To drive your sales performance, you have to understand the benefits of sales transformation, while remaining open to the process of improvement, and vigilant in your search for bleeding edge skills and techniques.
Sales Performance Improvement Tips
1. Understand the Customer Mindset and Adjust Practices Accordingly: The key to accessing the peak of sales performance is to understand the customer mindset, and adjust your practices to cater to the modern buyers audience. The customer base you are selling to is more educated than it’s ever been, so brunt force techniques are best left in the past where they belong. But intuitive, intelligent sales reps can leverage the complexity of the modern work environment to provide valuable thought leadership, and ultimately close more deals
2. Always be Looking for an Opportunity to Connect & Empathize: Customer communication has changed in recent years, but whatever the method, it is undeniable that gaining customer trust is key for reps. In order to gain this trust, a rep must make building rapport a priority, first connecting with the customer by empathizing with their needs. One way to do this is by sharing other customer stories with their prospects. By leveraging the praise and success of happy customers in a sales interaction, new prospects have a good sense of the success and performance rates of your previous engagements. This will further enable customers to trust that their reps will be able to help them solve their current business problems.
3. Ditch the Pitch and Have a Real Conversation: It turns out that simply using the word, “pitch,” can be intimidating or leave a sour taste in the mouth of both sales people and potential clients, ultimately impacting your sales performance. According to Wendy Weiss, known as The Queen of Cold Calling, “sales people sometimes think it means they should talk at someone, but that’s not an effective way to communicate. A good pitch is one where you ask questions, listen to the prospect, and offer them a solution to a problem.” The pitch needs to become an interaction and an active conversation.
4. Learn from your Mistakes to Keep Growing: If you have one method in sales, it is guaranteed that you will fail. You have to tweak your pitch to your audience in order to make it personal and give the customer what they actually need, not what you think they might want. Take the time to really research your audience and get to know what interests them. Are they focused on the cost factor? Or are they searching for the best quality and don’t care how much it is?
5. Listen Up Before Speaking Up: In social media, we use the 80/20 rule: 80% of content is catered to the reader with tips, tricks, and knowledge related to our service, while 20% is specifically about our company and what we are doing. Take that same principle and apply it to your sales pitch – you should only be talking 20% of the time, while the other 80% should be devoted to the customer asking questions, answering your inquires and telling you about themselves.
6. Show you Care and Understand Pain Points: Introverts tend to be excellent listeners, and because of this inherent skill are able to make more quality sales more often. So how can you capitalize on this knowledge, and improve your sales performance? Simple: show that you C.A.R.E. about every prospect and play to the strategy of the introvert. The key takeaway from this introspective character is the effort placed on listening and understanding. Put this energy towards your customer meetings and watch your sales performance increase.
7. Let your Data do the Talking: When it does come time to talk, inspire your customers by sharing valuable thought leadership data and benchmarking insights with them. Providing them with solid market infographics, actionable information, and comparative analytics gives them the strong impression that you understand their business and have their best interests at heart. This will prompt them to communicate more readily, and inspire them to learn more about how your products can benefit them long term.
8. Turn to Loyal Customers and Enhance Relationships: Building these relationships is essential to improving your sales performance. New blood is important for keeping your prospect pool fresh and vibrant, but your first friends can be an invaluable source of return business and glowing recommendations. If you take care of your customers, they will make your job a lot easier.
9. Stay Connected with the Ecosystem: Establishing relationships not only with customers as mentioned above, but with influential peers is valuable as well. One of the biggest SaaS ecosystems is the Salesforce.com community, so keeping current with this is a must. Social media is another important arena to master – preferably LinkedIn and Twitter, where reps can become advocates of their work while connecting with customers and partners. In the end, it never hurts to meet people the old fashion way first – namely, in person. Then, you stay connected to them through their preferred social media platform.
10. Personalize Incentives to Drive Sales Performance: Focus on incentives that lead to sales, such as lead conversion, prospecting, face-to-face conversations, and advancing stages. Of course, don’t throw all of these goals at the sales reps at once – meter them out in threes, to ensure maximum completion rates across all your reps. This is not an educated guess, but rather a bit of benchmarked data that you can leverage to get ahead. Learn more about incentive insights here.
11. Engage Your Team Through Gamification: If you want something to last, you have to keep it interesting. There are a wide variety of things you can do to spice things up in the bullpen, and if you plan out engaging systems that cater to your specific sales reps, you can capitalize on their potential and increasing your sales performance. Focus on maintaining engagement through sales gamification, and allow reps to brag a little. Give real-time feedback and keep up with the changing opinions of your team. Finally, make the badges and level-ups as easy or challenging as you like, so long as they maintain a strong motive.
12. Embrace the Journey: In the day to day of an average sales rep, the driving force is not simply the end incentive, but the buzz of competition, the positive camaraderie, and process of seeing sales reps meet their goals and push forth to the next one. You need both of these things to create a strong sales team structure and boost sales performance.
13. Be Head Strong and Defend Against Objections: Are you prepared to fight? Make sure that you know how to address the four most common objections: Budget, authority, need, and time (BANT). It doesn’t need to be an argument, but it’s great if you can defend your product/service against these objections. Sure, you ultimately want to close a sale. But do you want the customer to agree with you? Do you want to conquer BANT objections? Write out your main goals before you even pick up the phone and keep them in front of your during the course of your sales call.
To end, the game has changed, and if you don’t change with the game, then you are going to lose. If you stay motivated and inspire your prospects, the payoff will be loyal, successful clients and a rich, enviable pipeline.
Research Report: Salesperson Retention and Turnover
This new report from Sales Management Association investigates sales force practices in hiring, onboarding, and retaining key performers.