If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would enjoy being in sales, I would have laughed. I am the opposite of pushy, don’t love speaking in front of large groups, and only want what is best for people.
Looking back, that thinking came from me not fully understanding what it takes to be in sales. Now that I have a better understanding, sales is one of the elements I enjoy most about my position. It’s not about being pushy and can most definitely include wanting what is best for someone. It’s about listening, providing value, and developing a relationship. The tough “Always be closing” is a thing of the past.
Today, nailing a sale and nurturing a relationship goes hand and hand. Especially when it comes to bigger ticket items such as landing a new consulting gig.
Below are 5 easy steps that I have learned, and try to follow for every single sales opportunity that comes my way.
Do the Research
There is absolutely no excuse not to at least Google the person you are trying to sell to. A next easy step from there is turning to social media to learn a bit more about their experience and/or personal life. It is incredible what you can find out about people online these days, don’t let that resource go to waste. A huge key to selling is establishing a relationship. If you can find something in common with the person before you get on a call, you are one step ahead. You might also be able to find a positive thing to congratulate them on, such as a birthday, graduation, or an award. The goal here is to either establish a connection or kick things off on a good note.
Ask the right questions
A second very important thing to keep in mind in sales is asking the right questions. People love to talk, if you can get them going, it is usually a good thing. Ask questions with the goal to get the prospect to admit any pain points they may have. And of course, actually listen to what they have to say with they start speaking. Don’t think about where the conversation is going or what you want to ask next, simply sit, listen, and take in what they are saying. The goal is you could then swoop in with a solution to help them fix any pain points and allow them to go back to only focusing on things they love.
Selling is about building trust. By giving away advice, almost to the point you may be feeling like you are giving away too much, you are able to establish a relationship with the client and to build that very important trust. When I have a sales call with a potential consulting client, I like to give them three very valuable recommendations that they could put into place regardless if we work together or not. I have found that this level of giving keeps the prospect engaged and appreciative for the direction.
Continue to Educate
The relationship doesn’t stop after you say your goodbye on a phone call. And the next step is not as simple as sending a proposal and asking for money. Content is king these days in terms of getting your message out there. However, it is equally important when it comes to sales. We have a large library of eBooks on various marketing-related topics. In addition, we have over 100 worksheets that help our clients focus on their marketing efforts. Access to this library allows me to send valuable resources to prospects after a phone call ends versus simply turning on the hard sales press.
Use tools to track leads
There are so many great tools available to keep tabs on the leads in your funnel. One of my new favorites is called Pipedrive. In a very visual way, Pipedrive allows me to see what phase my leads are in. You start with setting up your own funnel with specific steps in your sales process. Next, you add your leads and any information you have on them. Finally, you can set reminders for calls, emails and meetings and get an email in your inbox each day you have a reminder set. This helps keep my inbox as clutter-free as possible – which is always a goal for me.
Sara Jantsch is the Vice President of Operations at Duct Tape Marketing. She oversees day-to-day operations to support the growth of Duct Tape Marketing and the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. She focuses on strategic planning, goal setting and directing the operations of the company in support of its goals. Sara is also a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and has a very strong passion for working with small business owners that started back at the dinner table as a child. Connect with Sara on Twitter.