I was thrilled recently when one of my clients asked us to groom a new sales professional who had graduated from a local University and joined their team in an acquisition sales territory. We immediately accepted the assignment and begin the grooming process. As we worked together, I shared a long list of Sales Best Practices that I’ve documented during my long corporate career and in the last decade that I’ve been coaching Sales Managers and Sales Teams. This series of articles on Sales Best Practices is the culmination of us emptying out the bin of fantastic sales behaviors we’ve identified over the years. We hope you enjoy the series and find them valuable to you and to your sales team.
Present Like You Are A Presentation Pro Use a whiteboard or flip charts effectively. Don’t overuse Powerpoint slides. Working with your Prospect at that moment, and writing in real-time on a whiteboard or flip chart, is ten times more dynamic and interactive than a canned Powerpoint presentation. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Bill Gates mad at me, and I think Powerpoint is an amazing business tool, but you need to grab the attention of your prospects by understanding their business and asking compelling questions during your whiteboard presentation. This indicates that you are focused appropriately on getting to the root of their problem, their challenge, or their opportunity so that you can help them and create value for them. Roll up your sleeves and position yourself as a member of the prospect’s team. By doing so, you can work collaboratively on tailored solutions that fit their needs. Make sure your presentation is focused on them and on creating value for them, not focused on you and your cool Powerpoint slides.
Remember You Win When You Create Value Too many sales campaigns are about laziness and impatience. Lazy and impatient salespeople lose their nerve and pivot too quickly to discounting or pricing concessions to try to win a deal and don’t give creating value for the prospect their full attention and best effort. Sell “Value” instead of selling “Price”. You must understand that selling on “Price’ alone is always a losing strategy. If that’s all you’ve got, you’re in serious trouble and danger, because someone is almost always willing to go lower than you’ve gone, in the race to the bottom. You must realize that selling on “Price” by discounting is prima facie evidence of a lazy or careless sales performance. You can, and you really must aim higher, and go further. Build value into every sales campaign, and into every solution, you propose. When you do, you will watch your revenue and margin attainment grow and you will benefit your company immensely. That’s why you have this job, my friend. You are supposed to sell valuable products and services and deliver a healthy amount of margin because you do it so well. Create Value. Sell Value. Then you will be valued by your prospects as they become loyal customers. Loyal customers refer new customers to you. Create a successful perpetual motion machine.
Network And Prospect Lika Professional Sales veterans know that they need to network relentlessly. You have to constantly be meeting with other people and sharing leads with one another. That’s how growth happens. When you network you need to give warm introductions and referrals to people as an investment you’re making in their success. They will notice the investment and the good faith gesture, trust me. Earn the right to repeat business by investing in others, and by providing them with warm introductions and referrals. When you do, they will naturally feel an urge to return the favor and reciprocate. Ask for warm introductions to people just like your most successful customers and business partners. Make it a point to target people and companies who closely resemble your most successful customers and partners. Find out where they tend to circulate and hang out there and find a way to get a conversation with people who look a lot like your most successful contacts.
Be Confident And Be Persistent Nothing sells like confidence. Nothing. And conversely, nothing will cause panic in a prospective customer like the odor of desperation. Build your pipeline by prospecting relentlessly, for an hour a day. Before long your pipeline will be robust. Apply yourself so that you become very very good at the Sales craft so that your confidence is quiet, humble, but very tangible. Customers tell me that they want to do business with Salespeople who are Competent. They don’t have time to deal with anyone who is Incompetent. Period. The second thing that they tell me that they look for is a Sales Professional who is warm and friendly, and welcoming. They want to know that if they do business with you, it’s going to be a positive experience and they want to know that you’re going to appreciate the opportunity to work with them over the long term. Finally, be persistent. So many times a sales rookie will give up after one or two attempts at success. The best prospects for your business are most likely very busy. They are not just sitting at their desk waiting for your call. If you want to do business with movers and shakers, you need to become a mover and shaker yourself. Research shows that the most persistent sales professionals usually deliver twice or three times the results that the less talented salespeople deliver. You aren’t done until you decide you’re done. I’ve done business with people after contacting them 7 or 8 times without a connection, but I didn’t give up, and they finally answered my call on the ninth call. Be persistent!
You Control Your Response To Adversity Coaching people for a living I hear a lot of excuses for missed opportunities. Excuses make me cringe. Excuses should make you cringe, too. I don’t care who you are, you are going to face some adversity somewhere along the way. That’s the essence of life on planet earth. Get used to it. And make up your mind that you’re not going to be a weasel. You cannot control the circumstances of your career or your life at first. But you know what, you damned well can control your RESPONSE to any circumstance or situation that comes along. Respond! Respond with urgency, integrity, positivity, proactivity, grit, and determination! The elite level of performance is within your reach. You need to ensure that it is within your grasp one day soon. Don’t give up. Don’t take the path of least resistance. Don’t deliver less than your best, ever. Control how you are going to play your cards. Control your response to every situation, every event, every circumstance, and every instance of adversity. When you respond with the most positive response you possibly can, you give yourself the greatest chance at success and elite performance. You can do it!
Well, that’s our story, friends! We had the opportunity to groom this young lady who is well on her way to becoming a sales performer of substance. She is making tremendous progress. She is listening, taking the lessons, and putting them into practice one after another. That is the success formula that works. Pick up an idea or a new practice that makes sense and seems likely to lead to success and put it into practice. It’s no more complicated than that. We hope that you followed along with our five rounds of tremendous Sales Best Practices. We know these Best Practices work! We’ve seen them work again and again for dozens of high-performing sales professionals for many years. We know that they will work for you too if you are smart enough to put them into practice. We hope you will, and we hope that you have a lot of success along the way as you journey toward mastery and elite performance.
Michael Beach is an award-winning Master Certified Professional Business Coach, certified by the Professional Business Coaches Alliance. Michael’s firm, Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting features five coaches in the United States, who help fast-growth technology companies with Executive Development and Leadership. Michael’s firm is one of the best in the world at developing Emerging Leaders so that they can rise to the challenges and opportunities of a first management position in their career. MBCC is one of few companies in the coaching profession that offers guarantees of success. You can also learn a lot about leadership by checking out Michael’s podcast for Leaders and Emerging Leaders, “What Are You Doing?” Podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts. You may also want to check out Michael’s free videos about leadership and Business Best Practices on Youtube…. If you’re interested in more information, check out www.michaelbeachcoach.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.