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Selling Tips and Techniques to Increase Your Sales Performance

 

Guest articles > Selling Tips and Techniques to Increase Your Sales Performance

 

by: Steve Eungblut

 

Why can the really top sales people earn so much and look so relaxed? Well, it’s because they get great results, get great rewards, develop great lasting relationships with their clients, are respected in their own industry, and have skills that are transferrable across multiple industries.

Traditionally, great Key Account Managers were considered to be great ‘relationship farmers’ who could develop a strong commercial relationship with one (or a few) complex ‘key account(s)’. Meanwhile, ‘new business sales people’ have traditionally been considered to be ‘sales hunters’ who grow the business fast but won’t typically nurture the longer term client relationship during the sales process…. If you ask a hunter to tend to crops, he or she will simply get bored and look for something to shoot – they may even take a few shots at the crops!

Today’s business-savvy buyers AND employers expect their top sales people to be a hybrid hunter/farmer. What makes a great sales person? Well the answer is: insight; skills; attitude & behaviour; and application!

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Developing Your Insight

By insight we mean that a great sales person has insight into their target customers and the industry as a whole:

Believe it or not this can be gained very quickly and to a level that makes you better than 90% of other sales people out there. Most sales people absorb insight over a period of years as a whole heap of facts that eventually through experience and many hundreds of discussions makes them ‘insightful’ or ‘wise’.

However, you simply have to do some research into the client and industry in terms of:

  • External pressures, trends and compelling events, e.g. retailers facing a downturn in consumer spending, increased online competition and increase in sales taxes.
  • ‘Internal pain-points’ – these are caused by external pressures that, either individually or in combination, result in internal problems or ‘pain points’. For example, retailers see their sales falling, their margins squeezed and their profits falling due to the external pressures previously mentioned.
  • Their main objectives (i.e. their ‘desires and needs’) to improve their performance, e.g. a retailer’s objective of reaching more customers, reducing cost-of sale, and reducing their overheads.

Once you know the top 3-5 factors in each of the above categories, you can hold a great sales conversation with any decision maker and can start to develop a consultative sale… and you’ll be better than 90% of your competitors!

Developing Your Skills & Techniques

To be a great sales person you have to become a hybrid of a ‘key account manager’ and a ‘new business development specialist’ by developing the following skills:

  • Generating instant credibility, perceived value and interest in new contacts
  • Consultative selling i.e. leading the client’s thinking and business direction (and sometimes challenging and disrupting the client’s existing plans and commercial relationships)
  • Influencing decision makers in the buying AND selling organisations
  • Out-selling even the most capable competitor organisations
  • Avoiding and handling senior objections (and even complaints!)
  • Closing complex solution sales
  • Up-selling and growing existing relationships

Again, all of these are easy much easier to develop than you might think and you can get there.

Getting the Right Attitude & Behaviour

Attitude is the perspective that the sales person has about the world and him/herself; while behaviour is how he/or she acts. Of course, attitude (and skill) will determine the sales person’s behaviour. To be a great sales person you need to use the right attitudes and behaviours together:

  • Have and maintain a positive outlook, even in the face of adversity.
  • Be confident in your own ability but never arrogant.
  • Treat the customer with respect but don’t put yourself down. You’re both specialists – your customer has specific needs and you can provide a tailored solution if you both work together in an adult-to-adult relationship.
  • Act professionally at all times - without fail and act smart.
  • Be driven by, and focused on, the results (for both the selling and buying organisations) rather than the effort involved.
  • Learn something new and important every day!

Again, all of these are much easier to develop than you might think. This is about personal leadership and mastery of your own thoughts. Just always think about the good aspects of a situation and seek to solve problems you are presented with – they’re not problems, just new opportunities to learn! Think of the desired outcome and put positive energy into making it happen.

Great Application

For great application of these techniques you need to:

  • Practise, observe the results and learn quickly– learn from your successes and learn from your failures
  • Be effective and efficient – have a plan, make your actions count and make sure every action contributes to your desired outcome
  • Deliver results for your customer decision makers as well as for your own company
  • Apply consultative selling in your customer and in your own organisation to develop your influence – sell in your own company as well as your customers … and sell yourself!
  • Make sure your boss (and his/her boss) knows about your progress and results – and its great if the publicity comes from your customers!

If you think about these tips every day along with the other attributes of a great sales person, you’ll be superior at selling in today’s new world, you’ll get time to enjoy your selling and you’ll get to reap the rewards!

 


Steve is the founder and managing director of Sterling Chase Associates. In his corporate sales career, he became one of the leading sales practitioners and sales leaders in Europe, with over 20 years experience in consultative selling and sales leadership. He has delivered success for individuals, teams and organizations around the world. Steve has won numerous awards for his sales and leadership achievements. He is a Harvard Business School alumni, and has developed award-winning sales-force transformation tools and selling techniques that deliver a sustained shift in sales performance for organizations of all sizes and all industries. Visit his website at the Sterling Chase homepage or drop him an email at eungblut@sterlingchase.com.


Contributor: Steve Eungblut

Published here on: 21-Aug-11

Classification: Sales

Website: www.sterlingchase.com

MSWord: Selling Tips and Techniques to Increase Your Sales Performance.doc

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