Category: Sales strategy advice

The Quintessential Salesperson: Navigating Trust, Value, and the Art of the Ask

The Quintessential Salesperson: Navigating Trust, Value, and the Art of the Ask

In the exciting world of sales, getting swept up in targets, quotas, and the rush of closing deals is easy. Yet, as a young salesperson just starting out in your career, it’s crucial to remember the essence of your role: You’re not just a seller; you’re a valuable addition to your customers’ lives and their companies. You offer a benefit that goes beyond the product you sell – you provide solutions, help achieve goals, and in doing so, create value that far outweighs the monetary cost of your product.

The Value Proposition: Solving Problems, Achieving Goals

In sales, the first step is always about understanding your product and its inherent value. Your product is not just a commodity – it’s a tool that solves a problem and facilitates the achievement of a goal. Your customers are not merely trading their money for your product; they are investing in a solution that is valuable to them and helps them conquer challenges and move closer to their aspirations.

Remember, if your product doesn’t solve a problem or help achieve a goal for your customer, they probably shouldn’t buy it. It’s your responsibility to ascertain whether the product you’re selling aligns with your prospect’s needs. Hence, the questions you ask before they become a customer are crucial. Those questions are designed to allow you to help them. The design of those questions enables you to discover if the prospect has a problem that your product can help with and if they have a goal that aligns with what your product offers.

In the memorable words of Jerry McGuire (a sales movie masquerading as a love story), discovery questions are simply asking the prospect to help you so that you can help them.

Trust: The Foundation of Sales Success

As a salesperson, trust is your currency. Your belief in the ability of your product to solve a problem worthy of solving is the foundation upon which you build your sales strategy. Your job is not just about making a sale but transferring that trust from you to your customer. And doing it quickly enough to matter to your timeline, be it this quarter, this month, or this year.

The trust you build with your customers also extends to understanding that your product might be a better fit for some companies. Discerning the right fit requires asking probing questions to determine if the prospect has a problem big enough and a goal valuably sufficient to warrant the investment of the company’s resources.

The Art of Asking: Confidence and Curiosity

As a salesperson, your strength lies in your product knowledge or persuasion skills and your ability to ask the right questions. This requires a blend of confidence and curiosity. Confidence stems from your belief in the product and the value it provides. Curiosity comes from your genuine interest in your prospect’s needs, challenges, and goals.

You’re not merely trying to sell a product; you’re attempting to do your prospect a favor by offering a solution that will make a difference in their lives or businesses. This perspective empowers you to ask difficult questions. It gives you the courage to delve deeper into your prospect’s needs and challenges to discover the true extent of the problem they’re trying to solve and the value of the goal they’re trying to achieve.

Remember, as a salesperson, you’re a problem solver, a goal facilitator, and a trusted advisor. You offer a benefit, provide a solution, and create value. Your job is not just about closing deals but about making a difference. And that, a young salesperson, is the essence of a successful sales career.

The Pride of Problem-Solving: A Salesperson’s Badge of Honor

In the grand tapestry of business, the role of a salesperson is often underestimated. The skills and tenacity it takes to close a deal are frequently overlooked, and the value a salesperson brings to the table can sometimes be undersold. But if you peel back the layers of what it truly means to be in sales, you’ll discover a role that’s integral, important, and worthy of great pride.

As a salesperson, you’re not merely a cog in the business machine but a problem-solver, a facilitator of goals, and a conduit of value. You’re the key that unlocks the door to solutions for your prospects, the bridge that carries them toward their goals. And that’s something to be incredibly proud of.

When you help a prospect solve a problem or achieve a goal, you do more than just sell a product. You’re making a tangible difference in their lives and businesses. You’re helping them overcome hurdles, reach new heights, and achieve success. The pride that stems from this role isn’t merely about the deals you close or the targets you hit but the real and meaningful impact you have on the people and companies you interact with.

So, as you step into the shoes of a salesperson, remember to carry with you not just your product knowledge and sales techniques but also a sense of pride in your role. Because you are more than just a salesperson – you’re a problem-solver, a goal-facilitator, a value-creator. You are a catalyst for change and a harbinger of success for your customers. Wear your salesperson badge with pride, for it is a testament to your ability to make a difference, one solution, one goal, and one sale at a time.

Header Photo by Mizuno K
You Need Timed Repetition to Influence Your Prospects

You Need Timed Repetition to Influence Your Prospects

In the world of sales and marketing, there is a principle known as the “Rule of 7.” The Rule of 7 is a principle that states that a prospect needs to see or hear a message at least seven times before they take action.

The idea behind the Rule of 7 is that a prospect must be exposed to a message multiple times before being motivated to take action. This principle was first introduced in the 1930s and has been used in the sales and marketing industry ever since. However, exposure alone is not enough. The timing of these exposures is just as important as the frequency.

The science of memory

For the sales message to be effective, it must be remembered between occurrences. This implies that salespeople should have a basic understanding of how memory works so that a great salesperson can purposefully create messages that have the desired effect.

Memory experiments provide empirical evidence for the effectiveness of the Rule of 7 in sales. According to short-term memory capacity, most adults can store between 5 and 9 items. Miller’s (1956) theory of the “Magic number 7” suggests that short-term memory can hold 7 (plus or minus two items) because it only has a certain number of “slots” in which items can be stored. If we want our marketing messages to be remembered, we must ensure they are repeated at suitable intervals.

There are two ways in which capacity is tested in memory experiments. One is span, which refers to the number of items that can be held in memory simultaneously. The other is the recency effect, which relates to things presented at the end of a list as more likely to be remembered than those shown in the middle.

Items can be kept in short-term memory by repeating them verbally (acoustic encoding), a process known as Rehearsal. Suppose we want memorable sales messages. In that case, we need to repeat them at the proper intervals so they can be rehearsed and encoded into long-term memory. For example, a study by Atkinson and Shiffrin (1971) found that the duration of short-term memory is between 15 and 30 seconds.

Another study by Jacobs (1887) used the digit span test to test short-term memory capacity. He found that people find it easier to recall numbers rather than letters. The average span for letters was 7.3, and for numbers, it was 9.3. To make our sales messages memorable, we need to use simple and unique phrases that can be easily recalled. We should also use numbers in our sales messages whenever practical.

A study by Cowan (2001) found that working memory capacity is limited to four items rather than the seven items suggested by Miller. This means we need to be even more strategic in using the Rule of 7 and ensure that each repetition provides valuable information that can be easily encoded into long-term memory.

Memory experiments provide evidence for the effectiveness of the Rule of 7 in sales. However, we also need to be strategic in using the Rule of 7 and ensure that each repetition provides valuable information that can be easily encoded into long-term memory. Doing so increases the chances of our prospects remembering our message and taking action. By understanding the capacity of short-term memory and the importance of repetition at the proper intervals, we can create marketing campaigns that are effective and influential.

The Forgetting Curve

To understand the importance of timing in marketing, we must first understand the concept of the forgetting curve. The forgetting curve is a psychological phenomenon first discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1885. The forgetting curve shows that we forget information at an exponential rate. In other words, we forget most of what we learn within a brief period.

According to the forgetting curve, we forget up to 90% of what we have learned within the first week if we don’t reinforce that knowledge. This curve means that if we want to remember something, we must revisit that information multiple times and at the proper intervals, to avoid forgetting it. The same principle applies to marketing messages. Suppose we want our prospects to remember our message and take action. In that case, we must reinforce that message multiple times at suitable intervals.

So, how often do we need to expose our message to our prospects, and at what intervals? The answer to this question varies depending on the source. Still, the consensus is that it takes between 5 and 12 exposures to get a prospect to take action. However, it’s about more than just the number of exposures but also the timing of those exposures.

In a study conducted by the Association for Psychological Science, researchers found that the timing of repetition plays a crucial role in memory retention. The study showed that participants exposed to information at spaced intervals were better able to recall that information than those who were exposed to that information at massed intervals. In other words, it’s better to space out your marketing messages than to bombard your prospects with them all at once.

Spacing out our messages allows our prospects’ brains to rest and process the information. This gives their brains time to encode the information into long-term memory, making it easier to recall later. On the other hand, if we bombard our prospects with messages all at once, we overload their brains, making it difficult for them to process and retain the information.

Message content

In addition to spacing out our messages, it’s also essential to consider the context of those messages. For example, if we are trying to sell a product or service, we must consider the prospect’s buying and seller’s selling cycles.

During the seller’s Discovery and Scoping stages, the prospect must be made aware of their need for our product or service. Our sales messages during this stage should focus on understanding the prospect’s goals and how our product or service can help them achieve them.

During the Scoping stage, the prospect tries to understand how to achieve their company goals and initiatives. Our sales messages should focus on our product or service’s unique benefits and features during this stage.

Finally, during the Validation stage, the prospect is ready to purchase. Our sales messages during this stage should focus on closing the deal and providing social proof.

To effectively influence our prospects, we must tailor our sales messages and space out those messages at the proper intervals. For example, during Discovery, we might send an initial email introducing our brand and providing valuable information about the prospect’s goals. Then, we might follow up a week later with another email or blog post that dives deeper into the benefits of our product or service. Another week later, we might send a case study or customer testimonial demonstrating our solution’s effectiveness. By spacing out our messages and providing valuable information at each buying cycle stage, we are more likely to influence our prospects and turn them into customers.

It’s also important to consider the medium through which we send our sales messages. Different mediums have different levels of effectiveness depending on the context of the message and the target audience. For example, email marketing is a highly effective medium for B2B marketing, as it allows us to personalize our messages and reach decision-makers directly. Social media marketing and outreach might help to “surround” the prospect, allow for a more extensive reach, and provide for 3rd party validation of the message. General social media posts will enable us to get a larger audience and build brand awareness.

However, regardless of the medium, the key is to space out our messages at the correct intervals and provide valuable information at each stage of the sales cycle. Doing so increases the chances of our prospects remembering our message and taking action.

The biggest challenge of using the Rule of 7 in sales is that it is a lot of work and can be haphazard. Effective planning needs to occur, and a system is required to use the knowledge of how the mind works. In my book Eliminate Your Competition, I explain the 6-3-1 program, which touches the prospect 13 times with four communication channels. It systematizes the Rule of 7 in a straightforward process every salesperson can use to engage with new prospects.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers, such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at retailers like AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

The Rule of 7 is a marketing principle that has stood the test of time. However, it’s about more than exposing our prospects to our message seven times. The timing of those exposures is just as important as the frequency. By spacing out our messages and tailoring them to each stage of the buying cycle, we increase the chances of our prospects remembering our message and taking action. Marketing is a process requiring patience, persistence, and strategic thinking. By understanding the importance of timed repetition, we can create marketing campaigns that are effective and influential.

Header photo by Vlada Karpovich
5 Sales Success Tips By A Multi-Decade Sales Professional

5 Sales Success Tips By A Multi-Decade Sales Professional

My good friend, Dean Wiener, published the following post on LinkedIn about some of the “secrets” to his success over many decades. He was kind enough to allow me to embed his post into this article.

Let’s explore each of these items in a bit more detail.

1. I attach my solution to a big problem/pain/goal.

As a salesperson, it is your job to understand your prospect’s needs and offer a solution that meets those needs. However, simply offering a product or service is not enough. You also must demonstrate how your solution can address a specific problem the prospect is facing. Doing so will make you much more likely to close the sale.

Attaching your solution to a goal the prospect wants to achieve has several benefits.

  • First, it helps you to focus on the most critical aspects of your product or service.
  • Second, it allows you to position your solution as the best possible option for solving the problem.
  • Third, it makes it more likely that the prospect will take action and buy from you.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for problems.

First, ensure that you are addressing the prospect’s real problem. If you try to attach your solution to a problem that does not exist, or one that is not relevant to the prospect, you will not be successful. This is why I suggest that salespeople look for company goals to attach to rather than simply looking for problems. By looking for goals, you can be confident that the company will devote resources to achieving the goal. They may choose to live with a problem because other problems are more immediate or damaging. A stated goal that they want to solve that problem ensures that resources are applied to the problem.

Second, clearly explain how your solution can solve the problem. The more specific and detailed you can be, the better.

Third, ensure your pricing is aligned with the market’s expectations. If your prices are too high, prospects will be hesitant to buy from you. But if they are too low, they may not perceive your solution as valuable enough to solve their problem.

Finally, attaching your solution to a big problem is just one part of the sales process. You also need to build rapport with the prospect, establish trust, and address any objections they may have. If you can do all those things, you will be much more likely to close the sale.

Start by attaching your solution to the prospect’s most significant problem or goal to increase sales. This will help you focus on the most critical aspects of your product or service and position your solution as the best possible option for solving the problem. Just remember to focus on real issues that prospects are facing, and be sure to explain how your solution can solve those problems clearly and concisely. Do all of this, and you’ll be well on closing more sales than ever!

2. Early and consistent engagement with the decision maker

To be successful, salespeople need to have early and consistent engagement with the decision maker. This statement may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many salespeople make the mistake of trying to engage with the decision maker too late in the process. By then, it’s often too late to turn the tide and win the sale.

Why Is Early Engagement Important?

Salespeople who engage with the decision maker early on in the process are more likely to build a relationship of trust and respect. This is because they can establish themselves as a credible source of information and insights from the very beginning.

Early on, engaging with the decision maker also allows salespeople to better understand their needs, wants, and pain points. This, in turn, allows them to tailor their pitch in a way that will be most relevant and resonant with the decision maker.

Finally, early engagement allows salespeople to establish themselves as trusted advisors. Being there from the very beginning, the salesperson can help guide the decision maker through every step of the process and ensure that they’re making well-informed decisions.

Why Is Consistent Engagement Important?

Once you’ve established early engagement with the decision maker, it’s essential to maintain that engagement throughout the entire process. This means following up regularly, keeping them updated on your progress, and proactively addressing any concerns or questions they may have.

Consistent engagement reassures the decision maker that they made the right choice in working with you and instills confidence in your ability to deliver on your promises. It also allows you to continue building trust and rapport, which are essential for maintaining a good working relationship.

3. A strong and effective champion selling on my behalf

A Champion is not a coach (although the Champion might give advice). Champions have influence and may have power. Regardless of power, champions have respect among the top decision-makers. The ultimate Champion says, “I will quit if we don’t buy this product.”

You can have more than one Champion, but the Champion must be loyal. It is not just about achieving the goal but about achieving the goal with your product.

Every single purchase ever made in a business had a champion. Since salespeople are rarely present during the final decision when the Decision Group is asking, “Is everyone ready to buy this product?” the Champion is the person that says, “We should buy this product from that vendor to achieve the goal of the company.” Someone always makes that statement; therefore, there is always a champion for every B2B purchase. The issue is that you may not know your Champion.

Champions are respected stakeholders within your prospect’s business who meet very distinct criteria:

  • They have power and influence (power and influence are non-negotiable)
  • They are selling internally for you
  • They have a vested interest in your success

If your Champion has the other two qualifying criteria but is without power and influence, they are a Coach, not a Champion. Whereas you can work with your potential Champion to help them sell internally for you and to have a vested interest in your success, power and influence are non-negotiable. If they lack it, you can’t change this factor, and you will need to find a true Champion. 

Selling Internally is easily identifiable.

Often sellers think it is not easy to identify if their Champion is selling internally for them, but it is easy. You ask your Champion: “Has our solution come up in discussions with other stakeholders?” If it hasn’t, then this is a red flag for your deal, but if it has, then it is vital to understand how your Champion acted in the discussions. 

  • Did they talk about your solution positively?
  • Did they stick up for your solution if anyone had any criticisms? 

You can find out the answers to these questions by asking your Champion. 

Having a vested Interest doesn’t mean bias.

For a Champion to have a vested interest in your success, your solution’s value must align with your Champions’ goals. This can mean your solution will solve your Champion’s problem, making their job more manageable, or they’ll get a bonus or promotion. 

Having a vested interest doesn’t necessarily mean a bias towards your or your company—quite the contrary. Your Champion will lose credibility if they are seen to be biased.

4. Clear/differentiated solution tied to value/metrics

If you’re in sales, you know that the competition is fierce. To succeed, you must ensure that your selling effort has a clear and differentiated solution tied to your product’s value. In other words, your product needs to offer something unique that sets it apart from the competition and provides value to customers.

A value proposition is a statement that outlines the unique solution that your product offers and the benefits that come with it. Value propositions are essential for any sales effort. For a value proposition to be compelling, it needs to be clear, concise, and tailored to the specific needs of your target customer. It should also be differentiated from the competition so that customers can see why your product is the better option.

A compelling value proposition will do more than list the features of your product; it will also address the pain points of your target customer and show them how your product can provide a solution. For example, if you’re selling a new type of software, your value proposition might address the need for a more user-friendly interface or faster performance. Whatever it is, make sure your value proposition is clear and easy for customers to understand.

Once you have a compelling value proposition, you must ensure it’s communicated throughout your entire sales process. This means using it in your marketing materials, such as website copy, brochures, and email campaigns. It should also be incorporated into your sales pitch so that potential customers can see how your product can solve their specific problems. By communicating your value proposition throughout the entire sales process, you’ll be able to increase closes rates and win over more business.

An effective selling effort must have a clear and differentiated solution tied to the product’s value. This solution must be communicated throughout the entire sales process to increase conversions and win over more business. If you’re unsure where to start, begin by creating a powerful value proposition that addresses the specific needs of your target customer. From there, make sure to use it in all of your marketing materials and sales pitches so that potential customers can see how your product can help them solve their specific problems. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to success in no time!

5. Committed compelling event (go-live) with a date attached.

To close a sale, salespeople must identify a specific event that will incentivize the prospect to purchase. This event is known as a “compelling event.” Without a compelling event, the prospect has no reason to act now and may never act.

Compelling events can take many different forms. For example, a prospect might face an impending deadline, such as the end of a fiscal year or the expiration of a limited-time offer. Or, a prospect might be experiencing pain points that your product or service can address. By understanding the prospects’ needs and identifying a compelling event, salespeople can close more deals and drive revenue for their company.

Types of Compelling Events

As we mentioned before, compelling events can take many different forms. Some common types of compelling events include:

  • An impending deadline: This could be the end of a fiscal year, the expiration of a limited-time offer, or any other time-sensitive issue.
  • Pain points: Is the prospect experiencing problems that your product or service can solve? If so, addressing those pain points can be an influential motivating factor.
  • A change in circumstances: Has the prospect recently changed their business (e.g., they’ve merged with another company, acquired, etc.) that has created new needs? If so, your product or service may be able to fill those needs.
  • Competition: Is another company trying to win over the same prospect? Positioning yourself as the better option can create a sense of urgency and help you close the deal.

Identifying Compelling Events

So how do you go about identifying a compelling event? There are four key steps you can take:

  1. Research the prospect: Start by doing your homework on the prospect. In addition to basic research like reviewing their website and social media presence, try to find out as much as possible about their specific circumstances. The more you know about them, the better positioned you’ll be to identify a compelling event. This research may require talking to others in their organization or conducting secondary analysis (e.g., reading industry reports).
  2. Build relationships: Once you’ve done your research, reach out and build relationships with key decision-makers at the target organization. The goal is to get to know them personally and understand their specific needs and challenges. The better you know them, the easier it will be to identify a compelling event.
  3. Listen carefully: When talking to decision-makers, ensure you’re really listening to what they’re saying (and not saying). Pay attention to both their words and their body language; they may give you clues as to what’s really on their mind. Frequently, prospects will provide you with information that will help you identify a compelling event without even realizing it.
  4. Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions that will help you uncover someone’s real needs and motivation for buying. For example, you might ask them what their top priorities are for the next fiscal year or what challenges they’re facing hampering their ability to achieve their goals. By asking tough questions, you’ll be able to get to the heart of what’s important to them and identify potential compelling events.

Compelling events are essential for closing sales; without them, prospects have no reason to act now and may never act. By understanding prospects’ needs and identifying a compelling event, salespeople can drive revenue for their company and close more deals. There are many compelling events—deadlines, pain points, changes in circumstances, and competition—and salespeople must identify the right one for each individual. Researching prospects, building relationships with decision-makers, listening carefully, and asking probing questions are all great ways to uncover someone’s real motivations and identify potential compelling events.”

Header Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash
Sales Training is Crucial for Businesses

Sales Training is Crucial for Businesses

The sales profession is incredibly difficult, and failure is common. There is no profession (aside from marketing) where the expectations are so significantly missed. It is not unusual for 10-20% (or even 30%) of a sales team to not achieve their company-set goals. If accountants failed at that level, most companies would get fined by the SEC and the IRS. If product engineering failed at that level, the products we buy would constantly fail.

Some of this is the way that companies set their quotas. It is common practice that companies will set quota (i.e., the expectation of success) so that only 60-70% of the sales team achieves quota.

Doing sales training well could be significant. 37% of salespeople do not think their company can provide the techniques and training they need to be successful.

Salespeople are not typically trained in universities, with only 59 universities offering a major in sales. Comparing this to the above professions, accounting is offered in over 1,800 universities. This means that sales managers cannot rely on the university system to offer them quality candidates.

Universities Don’t Offer Sales Education, So Businesses Need to Offer It

It’s no secret that the traditional university education system is lagging behind when it comes to teaching students the skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace. As we can see above, this is no more evident than in the sales field. With the ever-changing digital marketing landscape and data analysis’s increasing importance, today’s salespeople need to be equipped with a more diverse skill set than ever before. However, universities fail to keep up with the times, leaving businesses to pick up the slack.

The Importance of Sales Education

To be successful, salespeople need to be able to understand and employ a wide range of skills, including but not limited to market analysis, lead generation, product knowledge, presentation skills, objection handling, and closing techniques. In addition, with the rise of digital marketing, many salespeople now need to be proficient in using various software platforms and tools such as Google Analytics, Hubspot, and Salesforce. The problem is that most universities don’t offer courses that adequately prepare students for a career in sales.

It’s no secret that businesses invest a lot of money in sales training to fill the gap of the lack of university-led training. In fact, U.S. companies spend over $70 billion annually on training and an average of $1,459 per salesperson — almost 20 percent more than they spend on workers in all other functions.

The Case for Businesses Offering Sales Education

Given the current state of affairs, businesses can’t afford to wait for universities to catch up; they need to take matters into their own hands and start offering sales education themselves. By doing so, they can ensure that their employees are equipped with the skills they need to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace. In addition, offering sales training can help businesses attract top talent and retain their best employees.

Universities aren’t doing enough to prepare students for careers in sales, so businesses need to step up and offer sales education themselves. By doing so, they can ensure that their employees have the skills they need to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace.

Sales training is crucial for businesses because it helps them close more deals, increases customer satisfaction, and grows revenue.

Here’s a closer look at each of these three benefits:

  1. Sales training helps businesses close more deals.
    Sales training gives salespeople the skills they need to succeed. When salespeople are properly trained, they’re more likely to understand their customers’ needs and pain points, know how to tackle objections, and have the confidence to close more deals.
  2. Sales training increases customer satisfaction.
    When salespeople are properly trained, they can provide potential customers with the information they need to make a purchasing decision. This leads to happy customers who are more likely to become repeat buyers and sing your company’s praises to their friends and family members.
  3. Sales training grows revenue.
    It’s no secret that businesses exist to make money. By investing in sales training, businesses can see a direct return on their investment in the form of increased revenue. Skilled salespeople mean more closed deals, which leads to a boost in the bottom line.

Effective sales training includes role-playing.

Role-playing is one secret ingredient that can make all the difference in sales training. Role-playing allows trainees to practice their new skills in a low-stakes environment by simulating real-world sales scenarios. Not only that, but role-playing also helps trainees to better understand their customers’ needs and how to best meet them.

Why Role-Playing Works

In a role-playing exercise, trainees are placed in simulated sales situations and must use what they’ve learned to succeed. This allows trainees to get a feel for using their new skills in the real world and helps them identify areas where they need further training. Additionally, trainees are more likely to retain the information they’ve learned by seeing firsthand how their newly learned skills can be applied.

Role-Playing Helps Trainees Understand Customers’ Needs

It can be difficult for trainees to understand customer needs if they’ve never been in a sales situation before. This is where role-playing comes in. By putting trainees in simulated sales situations, role-playing allows them to experience firsthand what it’s like to interact with customers and understand their needs. Additionally, by allowing trainees to try out different approaches, role-playing can help them determine which approach is most effective for meeting customer needs.

Role-Playing Builds Confidence

Another benefit of role-playing is that it helps build confidence. Sales can be daunting for anyone, especially if you’re new to the job. Role-playing allows trainees to build their confidence by practicing their sales skills in a safe and controlled environment. Additionally, role-playing allows trainees to get feedback from trainers and other participants to improve their performance and build up even more confidence.

Role-playing is essential to any successful sales training program because it allows trainees to put their new skills into practice in a low-stakes environment. Additionally, role-playing helps trainees understand customer needs and build confidence. If you’re looking for a way to improve your sales training program, then consider incorporating role-playing into your curriculum.

You may want to check out my article on maximizing your sales training budget. In that article, I list four ways to make sales training fit into your tight budget.

Sales training is essential for any business that wants to close more deals, increase customer satisfaction, and grow its revenue. If your company isn’t investing in sales training, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities — because you’re leaving money on the table!

Header Photo by Jeremy McGilvrey on Unsplash
Successful Salespeople Must Learn To Lead Or Follow In A Sales Situation

Successful Salespeople Must Learn To Lead Or Follow In A Sales Situation

When it comes to sales calls, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Some prospects want a salesperson who will confirm their existing thoughts and perceptions, while others are looking for someone who will challenge their assumptions and prescribe a new solution. The key is to be able to read the situation and adjust your approach accordingly.

If you sense that the prospect is resistant to new ideas, it may be best to focus on reaffirming their existing beliefs. However, if the prospect seems open to new possibilities, you’ll have an opportunity to introduce them to a solution they may not have known about. By being attuned to the prospect’s needs, you’ll be able to deliver a sales pitch that hits the mark.

What selling style do prospective buyers prefer? A survey by Harvard Business Review shows that 40% of study participants prefer a salesperson who listens, understands, and then matches their solution to solve a specific problem. Another 30% prefer a salesperson who earns their trust by making them feel comfortable because they will care for the customer’s long-term needs. Another 30% want a salesperson who challenges their thoughts and perceptions and then prescribes a solution they may not have known about.

A successful salesperson knows that the key to making a sale is understanding the prospect’s needs. The best way to do this is to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. Only then can the salesperson begin to match their solution to the specific problem the prospect is facing.

This process begins with identifying the need, which can be done through active listening and probing questions. Next, the salesperson must determine whether their product or service is a good fit for the need. If it is, they can then begin to present their solution to demonstrate how it will solve the prospect’s problem. By genuinely taking the time to understand the prospect’s needs, a salesperson can increase their chances of making a successful sale.

In any sales situation, building trust with the prospect is essential. This can be done in several ways, but one of the most important is to make the prospect feel comfortable. When a prospect feels at ease, they are more likely to be open to what you have to say. They will also be more likely to remember the interaction positively, which can help to build long-term relationships.

There are a few simple ways to make prospects feel comfortable.

  • First, use open body language and make eye contact.
  • Second, avoid controversial topics and steer clear of anything that might make the prospect feel uncomfortable.
  • Finally, be genuine in your interactions and take an interest in what the prospect says.

Anyone who’s ever been on a sales call knows that the key to a successful pitch is making a personal connection with the potential customer. One way to do this is through open body language. This means keeping your arms uncrossed and your hands visible.

It also means maintaining eye contact throughout the conversation. This shows that you’re interested in what the other person has to say and that you’re trustworthy.

Additionally, open body language can help put the other person at ease, making them more likely to listen to what you have to say.

It’s essential to be respectful of your prospect’s time and to stay on topic during a sales call. You should avoid anything that might make the prospect feel uncomfortable, or that could potentially be controversial. Stick to discussing the product or service you’re selling and trying to gauge the prospect’s level of interest.

Know when to lead the prospect

Some prospects want a salesperson who challenges their thoughts and perceptions during a sales call. They want someone who will listen to their needs and prescribes a solution they may not have known about. This type of challenge can help make a sale, but it can also be daunting for the salesperson. It requires them to understand the prospect’s needs and come up with a solution that meets them. Additionally, the salesperson must communicate the solution’s value effectively to the prospect. This can be a challenge, but it can be overcome with practice and understanding of the sales process.

The above-mentioned HBR article noted that under 20% of accounting and IT staffers want to be challenged from a departmental perspective, while 43% of the engineering department does. Over 50% of marketing and IT prefer a salesperson who will listen and match a solution to solve their specific needs. The sales department preferred having a salesperson listen and translate their needs and being challenged; HR was equally split across all three selling styles.

An interesting explanation for selling style preferences is based on whether the buyer is comfortable with conflict. 78% of participants who preferred a salesperson who would listen and solve their specific needs agreed with the statement: “I try to avoid conflict as much as I can.” Conversely, 64% of participants who preferred a salesperson who challenged their thoughts disagreed with the statement and were comfortable with conflict.

To be successful in sales, it’s crucial to be able to read your prospect and adjust your approach accordingly. Some prospects want a salesperson who will confirm their existing thoughts and perceptions, while others are looking for someone who will challenge their assumptions and prescribe a new solution. The key is to be able to read the situation and adjust your approach accordingly. When you can lead and compliment when appropriate, you’ll be well on your way to sealing the deal.

Header photo by Sora Shimazaki:
Artificial Intelligence Helps Salespeople Be More Effective

Artificial Intelligence Helps Salespeople Be More Effective

Sales professionals have always been under pressure to close more deals and hit their targets. But now, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), they can be even more effective in their roles. AI tools can automate routine tasks, helping salespeople focus on their jobs’ essential aspects. And by providing insights into customer behavior, AI can help sales teams to understand their customers better and close more sales. So if you’re looking for a way to boost your sales performance, consider using AI tools in your workflow. You won’t regret it!

For example, machine learning and natural language processing can offer sales teams unprecedented insight into their buyers and sales processes. It seems that many sales leaders are already aware of this: according to a Salesforce report, leaders expect the adoption of AI to grow faster than any other tech in sales.

AI is becoming increasingly sophisticated and can now be used to help salespeople become more efficient.

Salespeople are under immense pressure to hit their quotas and secure new business deals. To be successful, they need to be efficient in their outreach and be able to identify potential leads quickly. However, with the vast amount of information available, it can be difficult for salespeople to know where to start. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. AI-powered software can help salespeople by sifting through data and identifying patterns that may indicate a purchase is forthcoming.

In addition, AI can also be used to automate repetitive tasks, such as sending emails or scheduling appointments. As a result, AI is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for salespeople looking to boost their efficiency and close more deals.

Salespeople are always looking for ways to increase efficiency and close more sales. With the advent of artificial intelligence, they now have a powerful tool at their disposal. AI can help salespeople identify potential customers, track their interactions, and predict when they will likely make a purchase. As a result, salespeople can focus their efforts on the most promising leads and close deals more quickly.

AI can help salespeople to meet their quotas by providing them with real-time feedback on their performance. As AI becomes more advanced, it will become an increasingly valuable asset for salespeople seeking to boost their productivity.

Using data from previous sales, AI can help salespeople identify potential new customers and prioritize the best prospects. AI can also automate repetitive tasks, such as sending follow-up emails and scheduling appointments. As a result, salespeople can spend less time on administrative work and more time selling.

In addition, AI can provide real-time feedback on Sales performance, helping salespeople to improve their skills over time. With the help of AI, salespeople can become more efficient and close more deals.

AI can help salespeople identify potential leads, understand customer needs, and recommend products accordingly.

Sales is a notoriously difficult profession. Not only do salespeople have to identify potential leads, but they also have to understand customer needs and recommend products accordingly. It’s a lot of pressure, and it can be tough to keep up with the quotas. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can help.

Salespeople can use AI-powered tools to identify potential leads and understand customer needs quickly. AI can also recommend products that are likely to fit the customer well. As a result, AI can help salespeople work more efficiently and close more deals. In other words, AI can be a powerful tool for salespeople looking to improve their performance.

AI can also automate simple tasks such as sending follow-up emails or scheduling appointments, freeing up time for salespeople to focus on more important tasks.

In any sales position, time is of the essence. The more time spent on simple, administrative tasks, the less time available to sell, and eventually, this will impact efficiency and quota. Artificial intelligence can help to automate some of these tasks.

In today’s competitive market, any advantage that can be gained by using AI should be taken. For example, follow-up emails can be generated automatically after a meeting, or appointments can be scheduled with potential clients without requiring manual input. This frees salespeople to focus on more important tasks, such as closing deals, ultimately leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

By automating simple tasks such as sending follow-up emails or scheduling appointments, AI can help salespeople to focus on more critical tasks. As a result, they can work more efficiently and close more deals. In addition, AI can also provide valuable insights into customer behavior, helping salespeople target their efforts more effectively. Ultimately, AI can be a powerful tool for sales organizations looking to improve their efficiency and performance.

Automating these tasks can help salespeople to avoid human error and improve the accuracy of their work. As a result, Salespeople who use artificial intelligence to automate simple tasks can see an increase in their efficiency and effectiveness.

Using AI, businesses can reduce costs associated with hiring additional sales staff or training existing staff members in new technologies.

With the ever-changing landscape of technology, it can be difficult for businesses to keep up. To stay competitive, companies must continuously invest in staff training and development. However, this can be costly in terms of both time and money.

By utilizing Artificial Intelligence, businesses can reduce the costs associated with hiring additional sales staff or training existing staff members in new technologies. Artificial Intelligence can provide employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to sell products or services without further training.

In addition, Artificial Intelligence can help identify potential sales opportunities, leading to increased revenue and profits. As a result, utilizing Artificial Intelligence is a cost-effective way for businesses to stay competitive and improve their bottom line.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the latest technologies that has the potential to revolutionize the hiring process. Businesses can automatically filter resumes, identify top candidates, and conduct initial interviews using AI-powered tools. This saves businesses time and money and allows them to focus on more qualified candidates.

Artificial intelligence can revolutionize the sales process for businesses of all sizes. Using AI, companies can reduce costs associated with hiring additional sales staff or training existing staff members in new technologies. AI can also help businesses to target potential customers more effectively and to identify up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. In addition, AI can automate administrative tasks such as lead generation and customer data management. As a result, businesses that adopt AI will achieve a significant competitive advantage.

It is important to note that AI should not be seen as a replacement for human interaction – instead, it should be used to complement human skills and abilities.

In a world where technology is increasingly becoming a more significant part of our lives, it is essential to remember the importance of human interaction. While artificial intelligence can be used to perform many tasks, it cannot replace the relationships that we build with other people. In fact, networking with other individuals is essential to succeed in many fields.

For example, in the business world, building relationships is key to finding new clients and opportunities. Ultimately, while artificial intelligence has its place, human interaction is still essential in our lives.

It is important to note that artificial intelligence should not be seen as a replacement for human interaction – instead, it should be used to complement human skills and abilities. For example, AI can be used to manage large networks of relationships. However, AI cannot replace the need for humans to build and maintain relationships. AI can even help humans to develop stronger relationships by providing insights and data that would otherwise be unavailable. For example, AI can help identify relationships between people with similar interests or goals. Ultimately, AI should be seen as a tool to augment human abilities rather than replace them.

In the future, we can expect to see even more integration of AI into the world of sales.

In today’s business world, time is of the essence. Every second you can save is another opportunity to make a sale, reach a new customer, or close a deal. This is why many businesses are turning to artificial intelligence to help boost productivity and efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks and providing instant access to data and analytics, AI can help salespeople work smarter, not harder. In the future, we can expect to see even more integration of AI into the world of sales. As AI technology continues to evolve, it will become increasingly adept at handling more complex tasks, freeing salespeople to focus on the human element of their job: building relationships and closing deals.

As artificial intelligence technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more and more businesses integrating AI into their sales operations. AI is already being used to automate many repetitive and time-consuming sales tasks, such as lead generation and customer follow-up. This allows salespeople to focus on more strategic tasks, such as developing customer relationships and closing deals. In addition, AI can be used to create personalized sales experiences for customers, which can lead to higher conversion rates. As AI technology becomes more sophisticated, we can only expect even more significant productivity gains in the world of sales.

The world of sales is constantly changing, and artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role. AI can help salespeople to be more efficient and effective and to find and connect with potential customers more efficiently. In the future, we can expect to see even more integration of AI into the world of sales. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will be able to do more and more tasks that salespeople currently have to do manually. This will lead to increased productivity and efficiency and new opportunities for salespeople to connect with customers.

Below, I have listed a few AI-based services and solutions. This is far from a complete listing of what is on the market, but exploring these tools will give you some ideas of the problems that can be solved using AI to increase productivity.


ChatGPT is a game-changer for sales professionals and managers. This advanced AI model, developed by OpenAI, is like having a dedicated research assistant at your fingertips, ready to help with everything from prospect research to crafting compelling sales pitches.

For sales reps, ChatGPT can provide quick answers to product questions, assist in drafting emails or LinkedIn messages, brainstorm solutions to customer objections, or even help role-play sales scenarios to sharpen your skills.

As a sales manager, ChatGPT can assist in training your team, generating sales reports, or analyzing sales data. The AI’s ability to understand and generate human-like text means it can also assist in creating sales playbooks, coaching guidelines, and other valuable sales resources.

ChatGPT is not just a tool but a team member that is always available, doesn’t need coffee breaks, and is constantly learning to serve you better. is a new cold email personalization tool. It uses AI technology to write custom intros for your cold emails, saving you time and energy from researching independently. Personalizing the first line in your emails will improve your cold email reply rate and help you close more deals. To use, you first have to choose the goal of your outreach campaign, then enter your prospect’s LinkedIn or Website URL. Warmer will then scan the site and write personalized intros relevant to your prospect.


Appier is a technology company focused on building AI solutions for enterprises. Appier’s solutions help organizations develop deep insights into their customer base by using AI to analyze customer databases, segment them, and generate predictions on how they’ll react to marketing campaigns. Appier makes AI easy to implement for enterprises and saves them from having to build their own data scientist teams. has changed how salespeople work at leading Fortune 500 companies, like GE and Cisco Systems, by delivering the first omnichannel AI-powered digital assistant for sales teams.

By leveraging the generational platform shift from PC browser-based apps to the latest mobile, voice, and conversational AI-powered experiences, the Tact Sales Assistant acts as a salesperson’s single pane of glass over customer data scattered across CRM, LinkedIn, Zendesk, email, calendar, and legacy databases. Tact’s frictionless experience and contextual insights deliver greater sales productivity, higher win rates, and faster sales cycles for companies struggling with CRM adoption.


Crystal’s tools and features are built to give sales professionals improved, more well-rounded insights into the people they work with daily. This includes prospects, current clients, people you meet while networking, and even your own team. Crystal enables you to learn more about a person than just their skills and interests, which is key to successful business relationships – nobody wants to be “sold” to. People want to work with others they feel share their interests and values. Sales professionals need those critical communication skills to earn trust and successfully broaden their business and client base.

Clara Labs

Clara is a scheduling service that coordinates when, where, and how you connect with prospects. Clara delivers unprecedented efficiency and accuracy by combining machine intelligence’s precision and an expert team’s judgment. This human-in-the-loop approach ensures scheduling communication is always clear and swift. Clara works by getting scheduling requests from your emails, automatically engaging prospects to check their availability, and quickly booking meetings. It also handles meeting reminders, ensures prospects have dial-in details, and reschedules if someone requests a change.

Sales teams can use Clara to manage scheduling for their entire funnel, from outbound efforts to handling demos and meetings. Because Clara follows up to get an appointment booked, sales teams will find it incredibly useful in reducing drop-offs, booking more pitches, and ultimately closing more deals.


One of the best accounts payable solutions out there, GetYooz, can reduce your invoicing costs by 80%. As it’s Cloud-based and AI-powered, each step of the purchase-to-pay process is automated. Other tools don’t provide a fully automated experience and need to outsource data
processing to other companies.

So here’s what you’d need to do: gather up a solid selection of products, set them in a display box, find a busy area in which you can set up a stall (you may need to pay for this), set up a pos system to help you track sales and sync them with your main inventory system, and start selling.

LeadCrunch finds and engages lookalikes to your best customers, making it easy for you to find new prospects like the ones you’ve already closed deals with. Even better, LeadCrunch engages those prospects with the information most likely to get them to start the buyer journey before you call. The result? According to LeadCrunch, leads convert 3 to 10 times better than cold outreach.


Conversica provides an AI-based sales assistant that empowers your salespeople to focus on selling and closing deals instead of chasing down leads. The assistant engages prospects in natural, two-way human conversations and persistently reaches out to every single lead as many times and over as long a timespan as is required. It’s a win/win/win: Sales is more efficient, Marketing is more effective, and prospects have a better experience.


Now more than ever, enterprises and SMBs are investing heavily in content marketing because one well-optimized article has the potential to drive web traffic, engagement, and conversion– even long after it’s published. Over four million blog posts are written daily, but 91% of content gets zero traffic from Google. INK is an AI-enabled text editor that helps improve the quality and rankability of web content. As you write, INK’s AI researches your competition, analyzes their content, and provides tailored suggestions to enhance your content, unlike rules-based solutions.

Its clean, distraction-free interface works almost like a game. Since relevancy is one of the most important ranking factors, INK provides a Relevancy Score on a scale from 0% to 100% that changes as you tackle each suggestion for improvement. The INK editor helps streamline content creation with one tool rather than relying on many. Use INK to improve grammar, spelling, readability, ranking potential, craft metadata, and more. Also, the INK WordPress plugin helps simplify publishing.


Jasper AI is a copywriting tool that uses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically produce persuasive and enticing copy. This copy can be for your blog posts, landing pages, social media, ads, marketing emails, and much more, allowing you to write 5x more content in a fraction of the time.

Jasper AI was released in January of 2021 by the team over at led by the CEO, Dave Rogenmoser, and backed by the team that created Proof. is one of the best copywriting tools on the market, with over 1000 5-star reviews on several of the most trusted review sites. This is because it produces the highest quality AI content due to being trained by expert marketers and copywriters.


Drift is probably the best-known tool on this list. It’s a chat platform that has morphed into a full-fledged AI-enabled sales tool. Today, Drift is a sales software that uses artificial intelligence to help sales professionals increase sales productivity and close more deals. It’s an excellent choice for SMBs and even enterprise businesses that want to automate lead capture and the selling process without scaling headcount.


Exceed AI is a sales acceleration and productivity software that helps sales teams close more deals faster. The software provides a suite of tools that helps sales reps manage their leads and opportunities, track their progress, and collaborate with their team. also integrates with many CRM and ERP systems, including Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP, making it easy for sales reps to manage their sales pipeline and data.


Saleswhale is one of the best AI sales software applications because it helps sales reps focus on the most critical tasks and provides them with the best leads. Saleswhale will recommend you data-backed Playbooks depending on your intended use cases. Playbooks include Recycled MQLs with no sales activity, Post-webinar leads with low intent, and more.

In essence, Saleswhale is an email-based lead nurturing assistant that uses AI. All this means less manual work for your sales reps and more closed deals.


Grammarly helps people communicate with confidence across devices and platforms. Our AI-powered suggestions appear wherever you write, coaching 30 million people and 30,000 teams every day to improve the correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery of their writing. Grammarly Premium elevates communication for individual students and professionals, Grammarly Business drives organizations of all sizes to accelerate business results, and Grammarly for Developers empowers builders to enhance the communication experience for their end users. 

Otter is a transcription tool that uses artificial intelligence to generate transcriptions for meetings, interviews, lectures, and other essential voice conversations. Otter empowers everyone to engage and be more productive in meetings with real-time automated notes and transcription. Engage more in discussions by using Otter to record and transcribe in-person or virtual conversations in real-time and collaborate by highlighting, inserting comments, or images.

The list continues to grow.

This list of AI tools for salespeople is just the beginning, and it will get longer every year for many more years. Artificial intelligence has already begun to play a role in sales productivity and will only become more widespread and important. As technology advances, so will AI’s ability to help sales teams close more deals in less time. If you’re not using AI to its fullest potential yet, start looking for opportunities where it can make you more productive. With the right tools, your team can focus on what they do best – building relationships and closing deals. How have artificial intelligence tools helped you increase sales productivity?

Prospecting With LinkedIn

Prospecting With LinkedIn

You have to improve and capitalize on your personal relationships with the companies in your territory. You should probably focus on the top five to ten companies that most closely align with your perfect customer. If you do not know someone at one of your top 10 accounts, that is not a reason to skip them. You must build that relationship.

You will create these relationships by leveraging:

  • Your best clients.
  • Your former employers and former co-workers.
  • People that your prospect respects.

The best way to make a connection to your unknown prospects is via the social platform LinkedIn. The site is arguably the most important social platform for business and especially for salespeople. According to HubSpot, 65% of B2B companies report that they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. 

According to Jim Keenan, the social sales specialist in the “The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue” report, 78.6% of salespeople using social media to sell outperformed those who weren’t using social media. Also, social media users were 23% more successful at exceeding their quota by at least 10% than their non-social media peers. In 2012 non-social media users missed quota (by more than 10% or more) 15% more often than social media users.

LinkedIn is often identified as the place to go to look for your next job. Certainly, it is used extensively by recruitment consultants the world over to find and approach candidates. But to simply look at it this way is to do the network a significant disservice.

LinkedIn is a great way for you to build your personal brand. As I have explained elsewhere, customers buy from you based on three criteria – your product, your company, and you. LinkedIn is an excellent way to build that third component of your value portfolio.

You should be using LinkedIn as a source of new leads and tangible revenue. In fact, for business to business, LinkedIn is a critical tool that can make your prospecting faster, smoother, and, ultimately, more profitable.

Contacts are the power of LinkedIn.

If your contacts are predominantly family, friends, and old school pals, you’ve got some work to do. Your first-level contacts open up a route to a full range of second and third-level connections. This is how you scale your network. Strike while the iron’s hot – whenever you meet anyone (online or off), always follow up quickly with a connection request while you are still fresh in his or her mind.

You need to use LinkedIn to map out the decision makers within your target prospects. In a complex sale, there are numerous people involved in making and influencing a purchase.

When you meet an individual, you can learn a great deal about that person. Many people are quite open on their LinkedIn profiles. You can frequently discover which team they’re on, which office they work out of, and what projects they’re focusing on. With a little detective work, you can quickly build up a picture of who you should be talking to, what they’re like, and what they’ve done before. Make sure you read the recommendations that they have written and that are written about them, as this gives you an idea of who influences them.

With LinkedIn, you can almost always learn enough about someone to make your call more relevant and useful to them. And it’s not simply a case of digital stalking. 

You should pay particular attention to changes in profile, status updates, connections in common and anything they’ve posted to a group (which can be reason enough to call them in the first place). 

Comment to meet people

One of the easiest ways to become known to a prospect is to like or comment on anything that the prospect has posted. This won’t propel the prospect to reach out to you, but at least you will not be a stranger. After a couple of appropriate comments, the prospect will likely be much more interested in having a conversation with you.

Commenting on your prospect’s activity is also important within the forums or groups. You should join the groups that your top prospects frequent. When you are viewing your prospect within the group, you can follow their activity. Following a prospect allows you to have their updates and conversations in your LinkedIn feed.

If you are not connected to the prospect, then use InMail to make that first introduction. InMail is LinkedIn’s internal email system and allows you to send an email to any LinkedIn user. It ensures your email gets through to their inbox. LinkedIn claims that an InMail is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call.

LinkedIn has a fabulous search function. With their advanced search, you can find people by title, company, location, or keyword. By intelligently mixing the different filters, you can get deep and identify key individuals quickly and easily.

You can also save your search criteria and get a weekly report listing anyone new who matches the criteria. For example, you could save a search for Database Administrators in the retail industry within 50 miles of Atlanta. Then, each week, you will get an email with anyone new who matches the search criteria.

Information is king.

This statement is particularly the case when it is account news. With information, you can make appropriate decisions. As any salesperson will know, change creates opportunity. People join, people leave, companies make important announcements – any change can present a good reason to get in touch and offer to help. More than that, information on your prospect allows you to:

  • Respond to the events affecting your customers and prospects.
  • Have background talking material during your sales calls.
  • Find opportunities.
  • Establish financial justification for your opportunities.

There is a lot of information to gather about your accounts. You need a quick and convenient way to review the highlights of your account news so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. 

LinkedIn makes discovering these changes easy. You can follow any company that has a LinkedIn page. That way you’ll see anything that changes directly in your updates. It’s an easy way to stay up to date and spot new opportunities.

Header Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
15 Career Success Principles For Salespeople

15 Career Success Principles For Salespeople

Sales is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers a person can choose. It takes hard work, determination, and a robust set of career success principles to be successful in this field. This post will explore fundamental principles that lead to success in a sales career. Understanding and applying these principles gives you the best chance for success in your sales career.

  1. Identify your personal brand and develop a strong message
  2. Build a professional network and stay connected
  3. Stay current on industry trends and changes
  4. Develop marketable skillsets
  5. Maintain a positive attitude, even during tough times
  6. Stop selling and start helping
  7. Find a professional mentor to guide you
  8. Believe in yourself and your ability to sell
  9. Commit to continuous learning
  10. Be a resource for your clients
  11. Focus on solutions, not problems
  12. Build relationships of trust
  13. Manage your time and energy effectively
  14. Take the initiative and be proactive
  15. Be persistent and never give up

1. Identify your personal brand and develop a strong message

There’s no doubt that personal branding is essential for salespeople. In a world where buyers have more choices than ever before, it’s vital to stand out from the crowd and make a strong impression.

But what exactly is a personal brand, and how can you develop one? Simply put, your personal brand is how you present yourself to the world. It’s the sum of all the experiences and interactions people have with you, starting with how you communicate your message.

If you want to develop a strong personal brand, it’s essential to start by articulating your unique selling proposition. What makes you different from other salespeople? What value do you bring to the table? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can develop a strong personal brand that will help you close more sales.

Remember, there are three things that every salesperson sells in every deal:

  • Your product
  • Your company
  • Yourself

Since most products have competition that solves the core of the same problems, products rarely win the deal by themselves as the second best product usually has enough features/benefits to achieve the prospect’s goals.

Since most companies are of high quality, the company’s reputation rarely wins the deal. Yes, there are times when the customer will only buy from a specific vendor (the adage that no one was ever fired for buying from IBM is long over).

The significant variable in all sales opportunities is YOU. You can show you are a better partner and advocate than the other salesperson.

Customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be. When you have a relationship with a customer, everything is more straightforward. People don’t return simply because it’s where they purchased previously. They re-purchase because salespeople took the time to build a relationship. They gave the customer a reason to buy from their company.

But remember, even one mistake can cause a loyal customer to leave. It is up to you to sell them on your company, sell them on your professionalism, and then keep them sold through simple, consistent communication.

2. Build a professional network and stay connected

As a salesperson, it’s essential to have a strong professional network. After all, your network is your lifeline to potential customers and sales leads. But building and maintaining a professional network can be challenging, especially if you’re always on the go. Fortunately, you can do a few simple things to make sure you stay connected.

First, make an effort to attend industry events and meetups. This is a great way to meet new people and stay up-to-date on the latest trends.

Second, use social media to connect with other salespeople and professionals in your field. LinkedIn is a particularly useful platform for salespeople, allowing you to connect with others in your industry easily.

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to your contacts regularly. Whether you’re staying in touch via email or meeting up for coffee, maintaining regular communication is key to maintaining professional relationships.

3. Stay current on industry trends and changes

Salespeople need to stay current on industry trends and changes. The sales industry is constantly evolving, and salespeople who don’t stay up-to-date on the latest changes are at a disadvantage.

In addition, knowing about the latest industry trends can help salespeople be more successful in their careers. By being aware of new products, sales strategies, and other changes in the sales industry, salespeople can adapt their own tactics to better meet their customers’ needs.

Furthermore, keeping current on industry trends shows potential employers that salespeople are committed to their careers and are always looking for ways to improve their skills. Therefore, salespeople should make it a priority to stay current on industry trends and changes.

4. Develop marketable skillsets

In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to have a set of skills that will make you attractive to potential employers. While some jobs may require specific training or experience, there are a few skillsets that are prized by salespeople across industries.

One of the most important sales skills is the ability to build relationships. Whether you’re selling a product or selling yourself in an interview, your ability to connect with others and create rapport will be essential to your success. In addition, salespeople need to be adept at problem-solving and be able to think on their feet. The ability to quickly assess a situation and find a creative solution can be the difference between making a sale and losing out to the competition.

Finally, salespeople need to be able to handle rejection. In any sales process, there will be times when you don’t close the deal. The ability to pick yourself up and keep going despite setbacks is essential for any salesperson who wants to build a successful career.

5. Maintain a positive attitude, even during tough times

One of the most critical things salespeople can do is maintain a positive attitude, even during tough times. A positive attitude will not only improve your sales numbers but also make you more enjoyable to be around. Your clients and customers will remember how you made them feel, and they’ll be more likely to come back and do business with you again in the future.

A positive attitude is also essential for your career growth. You’re more likely to take risks and seize opportunities when you have a positive outlook. You’ll also be better equipped to handle rejection and setbacks. So next time you feel down, remember that a positive attitude can make all the difference.

6. Stop selling and start helping

Most salespeople see their job as nothing more than a numbers game. The more people they talk to, the more likely they will make a sale. But this isn’t necessarily the most effective way to sell. It often leads to salespeople becoming pushy and aggressive, which turns potential customers off.

A better approach is to focus on helping potential customers rather than selling them something. People are much more likely to buy from someone who is interested in helping them, not just making a quick buck. So, if you’re looking to improve your sales career, start by focusing on helping people, not selling them. You’ll be surprised at how much more successful you become.

It is important to remember that without customers, there is no business. Companies rely on new and returning patronage to succeed; therefore, the customer’s needs should always be the priority. The foundation of a healthy customer base begins with earning the trust and respect of prospective consumers.

When we focus on selling, we’re thinking about ourselves. A salesperson focusing on selling to the customer is thinking about targets, their car payments, and the holiday they’re aiming for. The customer becomes a means to an end. A sale from them is a step in the direction the salesperson would like their life to go – another step towards achieving their sales target and lying on that beach in Fiji.

Helping our customers develops trust, which translates to deeper customer relationships. When we focus on helping our customers, we blow the competition out of the water. Who wouldn’t want to deal with someone focused on helping us meet our needs and goals? This is where you’ll hear your customers’ actual pain points, the real reasons why they can’t say Yes to your proposal right now.

7. Find a professional mentor to guide you

A mentor can be a valuable asset for any salesperson, providing guidance and advice on how to succeed in the sales industry. A mentor can help you develop your sales skills, set goals, create a plan to reach them, and stay motivated throughout your career.

Finding an experienced and professional mentor can help you take your career to the next level. There are many ways to find a mentor, such as networking with sales professionals, attending sales conferences or workshops, or participating in sales training programs. In addition, a mentor can introduce you to new ideas and perspectives and provide outside advice on your sales strategies.

Once you have found a mentor, nurture the relationship by meeting regularly and staying in touch even when you are not actively working together. A mentorship relationship can be a valuable source of support and knowledge to help you succeed in sales.

8. Believe in yourself and your ability to sell

Salespeople are often told that the key to success is believing in themselves and their ability to sell. This may sound like simple advice, but salespeople must internalize this message. After all, selling is all about persuasion, and it is difficult to persuade someone to buy something if you do not believe in it yourself. A salesperson who does not believe in their own ability is far less likely to be successful than one who does.

Likewise, a salesperson who doubts their ability is much more likely to give up when faced with rejection. Belief is a powerful tool, and salespeople who believe in themselves are more likely to find career success.

9. Commit to continuous learning

Salespeople are always looking for new leads and ways to increase their sales pipeline. In order to stay ahead of the competition, salespeople need to continuously learn new sales strategies and keep up-to-date with the latest products. Additionally, salespeople need to be able to adapt to changing market conditions.

By committing to continuous learning, salespeople can develop the skills they need to succeed in their careers. There are many ways to commit to constant learning, such as taking courses, attending seminars, and reading sales books. Salespeople who commit to continuous learning will be better equipped to handle whatever challenges they face in their careers.

Obviously, a great way to learn is to subscribe to this site and follow me on LinkedIn ( You should also purchase and read my book Eliminate Your Competition. The reality is that at the end of every sales cycle, every competitor has been eliminated but the one that received the order. Don’t let someone else eliminate you from a deal that you want to win.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

10. Be a resource for your clients

Being a good salesperson is about more than just making a sale. It’s also about developing relationships and being a resource for your clients.

The best salespeople are always looking for ways to help their clients, even if it doesn’t result in an immediate sale. They build trust and credibility by demonstrating their expertise and knowledge and create long-term relationships by always putting their clients’ needs first.

To be successful in sales, adopt these habits and traits. Show your clients that you’re more interested in helping them than in making a quick buck, and you’ll reap the rewards in the form of loyalty and repeat business.

11. Focus on solutions, not problems

As a salesperson, it’s essential to focus on solutions, not problems. This habit can help you stand out from the competition and build trust with potential customers. When you focus on solutions, you demonstrate that you’re resourceful and capable of finding creative ways to solve problems. This is an essential trait for salespeople, as it shows that you’re committed to meeting your customer’s needs.

In addition, focusing on solutions shows that you’re proactive and can think on your feet. Customers will appreciate your ability to find innovative solutions to their problems, and they’ll be more likely to do business with you in the future.

12. Build relationships of trust

With the advent of the internet, it’s easier than ever for consumers to find information about products and make informed purchase decisions without even speaking to a salesperson. However, that doesn’t mean that salespeople are no longer important. In fact, salespeople who build relationships of trust with their clients can be incredibly valuable, forming bonds that last long after a purchase has been made.

A trustworthy salesperson is someone consumers can rely on for accurate information and recommendations. This type of salesperson doesn’t just try to make a quick sale; instead, they take the time to get to know their clients and understand their needs. As a result, clients are more likely to come back to this salesperson in the future and recommend them to others.

Building trust takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it for salespeople who want to create lasting relationships with their clients. Habitually truthful salespeople with strong communication skills are more likely to succeed in building trust than those who don’t possess these traits. By making an effort to build trust from the beginning of every relationship, salespeople can set themselves apart from the competition and create lasting bonds with their clients.

13. Manage your time and energy effectively

The best salespeople are the ones who know how to manage their time and energy effectively – they are effective time and energy managers. They don’t waste their time on things that don’t matter, and they take care of themselves so they can be at their best when it comes time to sell.

Great salespeople know how to prioritize their time, master the art of follow-up, are disciplined with their self-care routine, and always have a positive attitude.

Good salespeople know that their success depends on their abilities to focus and work hard, so they develop habits that help them make the most of their time and energy. For example, they might wake up early to get a head start on their workday or take a break after every sales call to regroup and recharge.

In addition, salespeople typically have high levels of self-motivation and optimism, which helps them stay focused even when things are tough. By developing these time-management skills, salespeople can set themselves up for success.

Being a salesperson is a demanding job. Many salespeople develop habits that sabotage their productivity. For example, some salespeople spend too much time on the phone or social media, while others allow themselves to be interrupted by email and text messages. The best salespeople have mastered the art of time management and know how to focus their energy on the task at hand. In addition, they know when to take breaks and how to use downtime effectively. They understand that sales is a numbers game, and they prioritize speaking with as many potential customers as possible.

14. Take initiative and be proactive

I am occasionally interviewed about my book Eliminate Your Competition. In those interviews, I am typically asked to summarize the differences between the 4 types of salespeople (Farmer, Hunter, Gatherer, and Trapper).

As I describe in my book, a Gatherer is a superior version of a Farmer and a Trapper is a superior version of a Hunter. That superiority comes with a lot of enhancements but primarily it is that a Gatherer is more proactive than a Farmer and a Trapper is more proactive than a Hunter.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Being a salesperson requires more than simply being good at sales. To be successful, a salesperson must also be proactive and take the initiative. This means always looking for new sales opportunities and taking the initiative to follow up on leads. Additionally, a salesperson must be able to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems. These traits are essential for any salesperson who wants to be successful. By taking the initiative and being proactive, salespeople can ensure they are always one step ahead of the competition.

Any salesperson worth their salt knows that being proactive is a vital part of the job. That means taking the initiative, being assertive, and always looking for new opportunities. After all, the best salespeople are always one step ahead of the competition. While some people may be naturally inclined to be proactive, others may need to work a little harder to develop this habit. However, it’s important to remember that anyone can learn to be more proactive with a little effort. By cultivating the traits of a proactive salesperson, you can set yourself up for success in any sales situation.

Being proactive is the second most essential trait of all things that are needed for a great sales career. When I look at poorly performing salespeople, they are almost always reacting to things that are around them rather than driving those events. The most important trait is coming up below: persistence.

15. Be persistent and never give up

A salesperson’s job is not easy. It requires a lot of skill, charisma, and, most importantly, persistence. Persistence is the last trait that I list for two reasons:

  1. I think it is probably the most essential trait of successful salespeople
  2. Only those persistent readers will make it through to this last listed trait!

I often bastardize this great quote by President Calvin Coolidge:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence [in sales]. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful [salespeople] with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius [in sales] is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated [failed salespeople]. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent [in sales]. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race [especially when it comes to selling and making quota].”

Slightly edited and enhanced quote by President Calvin Coolidge

I have written about persistence before and explained how persistence won orders for me when I was a quota-carrying salesperson.

Have you ever tried to learn to water ski? In my experience, the most common advice for new skiers is to hang on to the ski rope until you almost can’t take it anymore, and then hang on a bit more. For new skiers, it is right when they feel like the rope will be ripped from their hands that they are about to be lifted from the water and beginning to glide. If they just hold on for one more second, success will happen.

The same is true of sales. Success is right after the next phone call. Success is only one more email, Twitter post, or LinkedIn connection away. If you stop now, you will not enjoy the result of this effort as you will have given up just one instant too early.

A salesperson must be able to handle rejection after rejection and still maintain a positive attitude. They have to believe in their product or service and never give up, no matter how often they are told “no.” This is not an easy trait to develop, but it is essential for success in sales.

The good news is that persistence is a habit that can be learned. With practice, salespeople can develop the skills and traits necessary to succeed in this challenging field. There is no doubt that sales is a tough gig, but with perseverance, anything is possible.

The best salespeople are persistent and never give up. They understand that sales is a numbers game, and the more people they talk to, the more likely they will find someone interested in what they’re selling. They also know that it takes time to develop relationships and build trust, so they’re patient and never give up on a potential customer.

Don’t ever give up. No means not yet. You will never be column fodder if you understand what is important to your prospect. You must be prepared to explain how you help your customer achieve their goals, even if the customer doesn’t want to hear it. The opportunity will come with persistence and perseverance.

These traits are essential for sales success, and the best salespeople have developed them into habits. They know that if they keep working hard and never give up, eventually, their efforts will pay off. So if you’re thinking about becoming a salesperson, remember: persistence and tenacity are key. Never give up on your dreams; eventually, you’ll reach your goals.

Get Started

These are just a few of the principles that can help you sell more effectively. If you can implement these principles into your career, you will be well on your way to achieving success as a salesperson. It takes hard work, determination, and a robust set of career success principles to be successful in this field.

If you want to learn more or need help implementing any of these concepts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Use these tips as a foundation to build the successful sales career you deserve. What principle resonates most with you? How are you going to apply it to your own professional development? Let us know in the comments below!

Header Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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