We’ve interviewed over 150 sales executives that collectively manage over 100,000 salespeople. We asked these sales executives what causes poor results on their sales teams. One of the most common responses is too many salespeople are winging it on sales calls. According to these sales executives, salespeople aren’t putting in the time, practice, and effort to master their sales techniques with better sales skills that generate results, under pressure.
Certainly, there’s a lot to master the craft of selling, which we discuss in our book, “Compete Selling.” However, in this article, we’re focusing on 3 things you can do right now to take your selling skills to the next level. It takes some effort and practice, but with these 3 improvements, you’ll get better results immediately.
Begin with Sales Messaging
We simply cannot overemphasize how important it is to develop verbal fluency with your sales messaging. This includes:
- Your competitive advantages and differentiating factors
- A short, crisp answer to the question … “what do you specialize in?”
- The ability to answer the question, “what makes you different from your competitors?”
- Having, at the ready, several powerful customer success stories that highlight the benefits they’ve received from partnering with you and using your products and/or services
At some point in every sales cycle, you must communicate these important elements in order to build credibility, reduce resistance, and increase buying receptivity. Fantastic sales messaging is a core sales tactic of the absolute top performers.Fantastic sales messaging is a core sales tactic of the absolute top performers. Click To Tweet
An excellent way to practice these sales skills is simply to rehearse responses to these questions:
- What makes you different from your competition?
- What do you offer that I’m not already getting from my current provider?
- Explain to me what you mean by better service?
- If I were to call your best customers, what would they tell me, in their own words, about why they chose to do business with you?
- What are the 3-5 competitive advantages you feel really defines what makes your company unique and a better value?
Take each question one at a time. Make notes and then verbalize your answers. Try to keep them under 90-seconds. End each response with a relevant, connected, open-ended question. Then record your answer. Critique them. Ask people you trust for feedback. Then practice more and improve. This is the kind of self-directed sales training that pays real dividends.
Develop a comprehensive open-ended questions cheat sheet
This is a relatively easy task that once you’ve finished it will help you on every sales call. Simply create a document and start listing as many good, effective open-ended questions as you can. Ask other people you work with for their best questions. Bring up the topic in a sales meeting or in a brainstorming session and write them down. Get them all on one master list and then keep that list with you, highly visible … posted at your desk and in your notepad. Refer to it frequently when preparing for sales calls to help you generate better results.
Organize your customer success stories
The best salespeople are often masterful storytellers. This is one of those sales techniques that is really worth the effort to acquire. Telling the stories of your best customers, why they chose you, and the results that decision generated is one of the best approaches to set up closing recommendations. Telling the stories of your best customers, why they chose you, and the results that decision generated is one of the best approaches to set up closing recommendations. Click To Tweet
Think of your best customers. Why did they choose you? What positive changes happened as a result of that decision to start using you? How would they describe what makes you and your company different?
Practice telling these stories so you can nail them in less than 90-seconds and then attach a closing question at the end. Suggest to your customer or prospect that a similar decision would lead to similar results and ask for the business.
These three sales tactics will set you up for an even better upcoming year! Set your goals … plan time to practice and rehearse … record and critique your improvement … practice the same way elite athletes do!