Tips for New Salespeople: How to Bag the Whale

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Okay, you’re pretty good in some sales situations, not so good in others. You’ve read enough sales books and “people” books to know you’re on the right track. But you’re still not bringing in the “whales” like the top dog in your company. So what’s up? What are you missing?

Founding partner of Proteus International, and author of Leading So People Will FollowErika Andersen, offers a number of guidelines for achieving sales success. She suggests salespeople should align themselves with the prospect's personal style to determine if they are, for example, fast talkers and outgoing or slow and reserved. If their personal style differs from yours, Anderson suggests you employ the concept of “versatility” to adapt your style to the prospect’s. She cautions that you needn’t fear coming off as fake or insincere when do this; it’s merely adapting your behavior to the other person to make them feel more comfortable. By adapting your style to those of your prospects’, you’ll be in that “sweet spot of interpersonal flexibility” that turns average salespeople into rainmakers.

In the SalesForceBlog, sales pros offer a number of suggestions on boosting your sales success:

Question, Listen, Focus. Mark Hunter says you should focus on a prospect’s desired outcomes and be committed to pricing structure and not rely on discounting.

Stay Fresh. Babette Ten Haken, Sales Aerobics for Engineers suggests you stay “fresh” and treat every conversation you have as though it’s your first meeting--to make sure you remain an attentive listener. She also advises that you bring the customer some “news” to every meeting, something impacting the industry, something that pertains to their competitors.  

Emulate Winners. John Barrows suggest listening in on the calls and presentations of top salespeople. Ask them what works over lunch. Write everything down, then try out their techniques and make them your own. He also advises that you set SMART goals and adhere to them.

Create Value. Anthony Iannarino, President and Chief Sales officer for SOLUTIONS Staffing suggests you learn to create value for your prospects. He cautions that social media, blogs, and LinkedIn merely “amplify” either your ability or inability to create value.

Sales Gaint founder Jon Gilge has some interesting advice for sales newbies.

Ask and You Shall Receive. Before you start selling, ask your prospect what they need to know about your company and product. By answering their questions, you don’t come across as “selling them,” you’re just answering their questions in the form of information.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Practice your sales pitch in front of a mirror. Do this every day until you get comfortable looking and listening to yourself. You can also record a video of your sales pitch, with a friend asking questions off camera. Get some feedback from friends and colleagues. Would they buy anything from you?

Follow Up. Be religious about this. Follow up on every sales call, every inquiry or question your prospective customer may have. Be as responsive as you can. Gilge notes that people have come to expect poor follow-up these days, so when you call or email them right back, you’ll stand out as someone who’s a real mensch.

If want to go from zero to hero in sales, you’ll keep these tips in mind.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut/


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