From becoming a master at prospecting to creating proposals that convert, there are many tips and behaviors top sales professionals claim give them an edge when it comes to closing deals. We connected with several top sales experts in a variety of industries to get their insights on how to become a better salesperson.
Check out these 25 tips on how to be a better salesperson:
1. Do Your Homework
Jonathan Penn, VP Customer Success, Sampler.io
If you’re looking to improve your sales performance, do your homework before meeting with your client. Whether it’s through industry-specific research or setting up Google alerts, you should take the time to thoroughly study all about the brand, its challenges, and staying up to date with their latest news and product launches. This will give you a “house advantage” against your competitors when discussing challenges with your client and lead to a constructive, creative, and meaningful conversation.
2. Develop Relationships & Cross-sell
Beverly Friedman, Content Manager, Reviewing This
Remember to develop relationships with your prospects and clients. Clients and prospects are not robots—they are human. The best sales and strongest profit revenue develops via strong customer relationship management. Also, cross-selling is key. If you notice a customer likes one product or service, suggest another one that’s similar in nature. Doing this will increase sales and loyalty.
3. Deliver Customer-centric Presentations
Brittany McShane, Senior Account Manager, CobbleStone Software
I find that providing customized and targeted presentations is the most important part of the sales cycle. Making the extra effort to learn your prospect’s specific requirements and ensuring they are met for the product demo will set you apart. The little things make a huge difference. Listen closely to their terminology as they refer to their business and speak their language during the presentation, so they are confident that you understand their needs.
4. Flip Objections
Amy K. Hutchens, Business Strategist, AmyK International, Inc.
An objection is an opening to close. When prospects are objecting, they’re interested. Otherwise, they wouldn’t still be spending time with you. A great way to flip a tough objection is to ask, “Well, what happens when…?” Let them then tell you what happens when things go wrong. Once they share their frustration and concerns you, respond with, “I know exactly how to help you avoid this,” and share how your product or service resolves their pain point.
Evan Tarver, Sales Content General Manager, Fit Small Business
If you are a sales professional in an industry with long sales cycles, chances are there are many activities that compete for your time and attention. Prioritizing your sales activities and focusing on the ones that will get you closer to a sale quickly will increase your sales, thus making you a better salesperson. It is important to use a CRM like Pipedrive that gives you a visual representation of your deals and shows you which activities you need to handle first.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Kyle Bles, Account Executive, Optimum Technologies, LLC
Don’t be afraid to say no. Sometimes sales professionals are so afraid to disappoint the prospect early on that they feel like they can’t show the limitations of their product or services. Always be as transparent as possible, even if it means being honest about the limitations. There is no worse feeling than thinking you’ve got one in the bag and it turns out to not be the right fit at the last second.
7. Ask the Right Questions
Henry McIntosh, Founder, Twenty One Twelve Marketing
As a salesperson, focus on asking the right questions to find out what the real pain point is that the prospect is facing. Only then can you provide the correct solution. When you are the one asking the questions, you are the one in control of the conversation. Having a set of questions scripted out to fall back on can help—even experienced sales people use this method.
8. Start With Why
Sean Spicer, Marketing Technologist & Growth Engineer, Agile IT
It may seem simple, but it is easy to forget. When beginning your relationship with a prospect, it is important to find out their motivations. You may think your prospect has only one reason to buy, e.g., I want solar to save money, but you lose the ability to sell on value if you fail to ask why a prospect wants your services. By selling on saving money when a customer is interested in saving the earth, you will lose to a competitor who took the time to first ask why. It doesn’t matter what you are selling—starting with the customer’s motivation always places you in a better position to deliver a winning proposal.
9. Understand the Buyer’s Mindset
Lance Tyson, President & CEO, Tyson Group
In order to align with what is in the buyer’s mind, you need to take every action that person would normally take when buying something: getting the prospect’s attention, qualifying them to see if they fit the business parameters, engaging them in some kind of request for their time, asking them a series of questions, and creating a scenario in which you can present ideas and start to create an opportunity.
Allison Potts, Sales Editor, Fit Small Business
Building better relationships with your prospects will make you better at sales. A great way to do this is with educational webinars. Addressing your prospects’ pain points or giving them industry insights without selling your product builds trust and leads to increased sales. Software like GoToWebinar makes it easy to set up and deliver webinars, and it even includes tools that allow you to automatically send invitations and remind attendees to show up. Check out GoToWebinar today for more information.
11. Listen More Than You Talk
Angela Hein, Founder, Mombo
I’ve been in sales and marketing for 15 years, and my best tip is to listen more than you talk. People think that being in sales means that you do all the talking. The customer will tell you what she wants. You just have to give her room to talk while you listen carefully.
12. Be Flexible & Open to Learning
Mercy Muigai, Founder & CEO, Onlipac
Most salespeople get comfortable with one sales methodology, even when the environment and prospects are different and constantly changing. Be open to learning new things you could offer to make the product or service more valuable to your audience. After every sales process, come up with at least one lesson to make the next experience better.
13. Focus on Solving Problems, Not Selling
Damien Buxton, Director, Midas Creative
If your salespeople receive calls from a prospective client, they are probably calling to understand more about your products and services because they’ve already done preliminary research. They aren’t calling to be sold to. Listen to what they are asking. Explain how your product or service offers solutions to their pain points. It’s much better to assist in their buying decision with education than to be seen as a “hard seller,” which no one likes.
14. Organize Your Talking Points
Dayna Williams, VP of Training Solutions & Services, Caliper
After learning what is important to your customer, it is critical to connect the dots between what you heard them say and how you pitch your capabilities or solutions. Don’t make the customer hunt for what’s relevant to them. Organize your talking points or materials so that they directly align to your customer’s stated needs.
Maggie Aland, Marketing & Reviews Editor, Fit Small Business
If your sales activities involve a lot of time talking to customers and prospects on the phone, record your calls so that you can listen to them with your manager or sales coach. Doing this will help you identify areas you can improve in and practice. It can also give you and your sales team a library of successful calls to listen to. Software like Freshcaller makes it easy to record calls for you and your team. Check them out today for more information.
16. Ask for the Sale
Louis Wood, Owner, Defend It Yourself
The most effective tip that has made me a better salesperson in my 20-year career in sales is to ask for the sale. After you have listened to your customer’s wants and needs and explained your plan to address them, I find it works great to tell the customer that I want their business and then ask what I need to do to make that happen.
17. Send Handwritten Thank-you Notes
Lindsay Anvik, CEO & Business Coach, See Endless
Send thank-you notes. No one sends snail mail anymore, and everyone loves mail. Instead of a thank-you email, which can be read on the fly and easily deleted or forgotten about, a handwritten note is often something that is held on to. People often keep those kinds of things on their desk for a while, making you a more long-term presence on their desk, and, therefore, their mind.
18. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Vulnerable
Scott King, Director, Zimperium
Knowing the industry provides you knowledge to answer your prospect’s frequently asked questions, but you should also show vulnerability to your prospects in order to build trust. People buy from those they like and trust.
19. Provide Value Before Requesting a Meeting
Jeff West, Founder, West Marketing Group, Inc.
Take just a few minutes to research your prospect and gain insight into their business and personal interests, internet mentions, awards earned, and mutual connections who could make an introduction for you. Based on what you find, ascertain some items that you now think may be valuable to them (helpful articles, copies of kudos, and so on). Then email, snail mail, or drop off an item to your prospect—with a note telling them to expect your call. Do this at least three times prior to requesting your first meeting.
20. Focus on Relationship Building
Tracy Newman, Senior Sales Representative, MyCorporation
My tip is to always build rapport with the client. Go the extra mile and make a relationship with the customer instead of focusing solely on sales. When your conversations with a customer become more personal rather than transactional, it tends to help with referrals and repeat business from that client.
21. Honor Your Prospect
Zac Kerr, Chief Strategy Officer, Sales Rabbit
Paying honor and respect to a prospect requires appreciating what is truly great about them. Here’s an example of how you can honor your prospect in an introductory conversation:
“Mr. Customer, regardless of the outcome, I want you to know I honor you for your accomplishments in your personal career and within your current company. As I researched your background, I became eager to talk with you because of your depth of experience with the very problem our solution solves. I realize you are an expert, and so it is a privilege and honor to have this conversation today.”
Then watch your prospects engage with you in a completely different spirit, where trust and open communication is established faster. Also, I never use this unless I truly feel it; having said that, as I have used this, I have become genuinely more cognizant that most people have noteworthy and amazing accomplishments that merit honoring.
22. Use Analogies
Bryan Mattimore, Co-founder & Chief Idea Guy, Growth Engine
Use analogies to make more sales by linking your selling message to a concrete object on the prospect’s wall or their office desk.
Example: Our service is a lot like the _________ (the picture of the winning baseball team on the desk) _____ because we have two kinds of account managers: those who were developed within our own proven farm system and free agents, the superstars recruited from the outside who are always bringing us innovative new customer service ideas. Together, they’re an unbeatable combination.
23. Ask Open-ended Questions
Lorena Tomasini, Owner, MALM Life & Health Insurance Agency
If you really want to get to the root of why people want your service or product, ask open-ended questions. They will go into more detail about their pain points when answering questions that are open-ended.
24. Get Eight Hours of Sleep
Ollie Smith, CEO ExpertSure, ExpertSure
The sales industry is a fast moving and competitive industry that requires a high level of energy to succeed. My tip to sustain this level of energy and become an even better salesperson is to get eight hours of sleep every night to avoid forgetfulness, reduced energy, and decreased motivation. To be at your best on sales calls, prioritize your sleep.
25. Follow Up
Albert Ho, Healthcare Consultant, Author, & Speaker, Healthcare Heroes
The fortune is in the follow up. After establishing your credibility and a relationship with the prospect, follow up with gentle yet persistent reminders. Sales professionals should set regular reminders (e.g., every six months) to follow up with the prospect.
Bottom Line: How to Become a Better Salesperson
There are many habits, behaviors, and other secrets that go into making you a better salesperson. From educating versus selling to your customer to using analogies in your sales message, you are sure to find a tip in this list that will help you become a better salesperson.