Last week, I wrote about the importance of an original message in sales. This week we tackle the six stages of sales genius.
One: Set Your Goals
The best way to get started in sales is by setting daily goals for yourself (daily goals are easier to accomplish and less daunting than weekly or monthly goals). Write your goal out on paper every morning and refer to it for inspiration throughout the day.
Two: Get Organized
Create a database of accounts and assign each one an A, B, or C ranking. A-level status is designated for clients and current customers, B status is for hot prospects and C status is for people who have rejected you now, but might be ready in the future. Be fanatic about keeping this list up-to-date and commit to taking action on all of your A and B prospects within 30 days.
Three: Make Contact
The main goal of your initial contact is usually to get an appointment with the decision maker. Depending on how many calls/emails you make per day – some people make 100 or more – the best way to stay organized is to create a simple log. You don’t have to be fancy, but you should always keep records of everyone you speak with or email, as well as the gist of each correspondence. This will save you loads of confusion – and possible embarrassment – if a prospect calls and you can’t remember who they are, when you last spoke, or why.
Four: Ace the Meeting
Note I didn’t call this a presentation. Presentations imply that the prospect sits quietly while you extol the virtues of your product. Sadly, this is what most salespeople do. Sadder still, these poor folks usually find the end of their spiel met with a polite smile and a don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you walk to the door. Instead, use every meeting to really listen to what your prospect needs. Focus on their goals (as opposed to your goals) and the sale will come.
If you ask for and receive a commitment on the spot, send your new client a handwritten thank you note immediately. One savvy real estate agent I know sends personalized gifts after every closing – a plant, fruit basket, a bottle of wine, etc. – as a token of her appreciation. (This same saleswoman also enjoys TONS of referrals from raving fans.) If the prospect still needs time to marinate, send a brief letter of thanks outlining their issues from your conversation with crafty reminders about how you plan to address each one.
Of all the ways to grow your sales (and your career in general), few are greater than self-assessment. After every pitch, while the meeting is still fresh in your mind, take a couple minutes to ask yourself ‘what worked’, ‘what didn’t’ and ‘what could I have done better?’ Write your answers down in a spot where you can refer to them often and judge yourself on the following:
STAND FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT!
FOCUS ON THEIR NEEDS!
GET TO THE BOTTOM OF ANY RESISTANCE!
ASK FOR THE SALE!
Emily Bennington is the author of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job. She hosts a popular blog for career newbies at www.professionalstudio365.com and can be found on Twitter @EmilyBennington or via email at ebennington[at]msn[dot]com.