The 7 Secrets of Sales Success
By: Robert Reed
In order to achieve success in business, you have to be able to sell. Sales is tough, and in order to do it well you need to be on top of your game. Some say that sales is the most exciting aspect of business, and it is certainly where the money gets made. Many self-made millionaires have made their millions one sales presentation at a time. However, before you can get to the pot of gold, you'll have to first answer the million little questions that pop up along the way, such as: How can I make my product stand out from my competitor's? What questions should I ask? How do I handle opposition? How should I ask for the sale? While for most entrepreneurs, making the first sale is a monumental feat, for entrepreneurs who know the secrets and incorporate them, it is just the logical result of a tried and true method. Here are the 7 secrets of sales success.
1. Face Reality - One of the hardest things to do is to recognize when something isn't working and accept the responsibility to change or end it. For most of us, it's easier to hold out until things improve or make endless excuses instead of admitting that something's gone wrong, and deciding to stop pursuing a dead end and trying another avenue. It's amazing how many entrepreneurs strenuously avoid an admission of failure. However, failure is a frequent stop on the path to success, so get used to it and move on. This is often the key to improving the sales process of your business.
2. Accept Change - It takes foresight and courage to accept the inevitability and necessity of change. In business, just like in the biological world, you are either growing or dying. Likewise, it is the ability and willingness to adapt when your circumstances change that is essential to survival. Change is the hardest challenge that a businesses and especially sales departments will encounter, but it also offers the greatest opportunity for growth.
3. Empathy Works - Having the ability to put yourself in the customers' shoes, pinpoint their needs and concerns and respond accordingly is the most important trait of a sales leader and team. Do your workers have high enough levels of empathy? It is a perceived trait and one that can improve, but it must be constantly worked on. Women tend to naturally be more sensitive, thus empathy can be cultivated as a strength. High levels of empathy are optimal for sales strength.
4. Goal Orientation - You should always know what your sales team is going after and how much progress they're making. This can be found through using a CRM (customer relationship management) system. It can also be done on a simpler level through the use of white erase boards or flip charts and markers. While goals are often intangible, you need the tangible element to keep them at the forefront of your business and on the minds of your employees. Be specific; goals must have a measurable component to them to be effective.
5. Accept Results - You can't blame the economy, the competition or the company for slumps in sales closings. If adaptation to change is occurring as it should, these factors shouldn't matter. By accepting responsibility for results, the harder the team will work to turn negatives to their advantage. Help your team accept their results by discussing the ownership of issues with them. It's everyone's problem if there are dips in sales closings.
6. Inside Information - It takes experience and know-how to do a job well repeatedly over time. A company that yields continuous sales results will tap it's knowledge base to develop its people and build more success upon that useful information. Sales personnel more than any other field are a source of great information and priceless customer feedback. Give them an easy mechanism for funneling feedback to product development teams and management, and you'll be all the wiser for your feet on the street.
7. Self-esteem - When it comes to sales, you don't take "no" personally or allow it to make you feel like a failure. Confidence and self-esteem are leadership qualities that are absolutely essential to sales success. When finding a sales team look for individuals with high levels of self-esteem, but also high levels of empathy or else you might find someone who is arrogant, which is off-putting to many customers.
Incorporating these seven secrets into your sales force will not necessarily lead to sales success, but they should serve as a powerful backdrop to your sales strategy. They must be combined with hard work, knowledge of the facts and the willingness to take risks and the capacity to learn from mistakes. Sales isn't easy, but it's often the most rewarding things that are the hardest.
Written by Robert D. Reed, this article was based on the book, The Chic Entrepreneur by Elizabeth Gordon. Published by Robert D. Reed Publishers http://www.rdrpublishers.com
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