Every salesperson has received at least one piece of advice that’s stuck with them: That nugget of wisdom that’s consistently helped them be more productive, help more prospects, or win more deals.
If you’re curious to learn other reps’ all-time favorite sales advice, good news — more than 500 members of the Practical Sales Tips LinkedIn group recently shared theirs. We’ve handpicked 42 of the best soundbites.
1) Ask questions first.
“Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.” –Sean McPheat
2) Keep your pipeline full.
“Never need the sale.” –Dr. Joy Madden
3) Stay upbeat.
“No matter what kind of day you are having, always act like a ‘10’ with customers or on the sales floor. Remember, it’s about your customer’s needs, not yours.” –Linda Nickelsen
4) Be honest about your knowledge gaps.
“If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t guess. Agree to come back with a response by a mutually acceptable time — and remember to do so!” –Graham Bennett
5) Borrow the prospect’s point-of-view.
“It doesn’t matter what you think you’re selling that counts. It only matters what the client thinks they are buying. In other words, see the whole sales transaction through their eyes and match what you offer to their wants, lifestyle, and their view of the world.” –Sean McPheat
6) Avoid overselling.
“Trust matters. Never promise what you can’t deliver.” –Audrey Diffley
7) Define expectations.
“At the start of every appointment, reaffirm why you’re there, your agenda, the prospect’s agenda, and likely outcomes. Otherwise, you’re playing by their rules — and nine times out of 10 they won’t tell you what those rules are.” –Fraser Hay
8) Solve problems first.
“Never sell with the goal of getting the money, sell with the intention of solving the problem or making the prospect’s pain go away.” –Zhelinrentice Scott
9) Get multiple data points.
“Don’t trust any one piece of information: Triangulate.” –Darren Hitchcock
10) Look for upsell opportunities.
“Always have an eye out for the second sale.” –George McBride
11) Let the prospect come their own conclusions.
“Everything ties into ‘I believe, let’s discuss, you decide.’” –Nick Meikle
12) Set an alarm.
“Be punctual. They will never remember that you were five minutes early. They will never forget that you were five seconds late.” –Joseph “Joey” Himelfarb
13) Attitude is everything.
“Create a good feeling. It’s what the prospect will remember.” –Andrew Shykofsky
14) Confidence is key.
“Visualize success before you talk to prospects. Be confident and use your body language to emphasize your words.” –Gary Sahota
15) Have prospects sell themselves.
“Never make statements, always ask questions — preferably questions you know the answer to. This leads clients to draw their own conclusions and sell themselves, as opposed to being sold. Even when you’re asked a question and you’re unsure why they asked, it’s better to clarify by saying, ‘That’s an interesting question; why is that important to you?’ rather than diving in and flubbing the whole process.” –Steve Farmer
16) Create a connection.
“Feel satisfied that you’ve built real rapport before any other discussion takes place. And remember, you’re not selling — you’re seeing if there’s a mutual fit between what you provide and what your prospect wants.” –Sarah Hughes
17) Be resilient.
“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” –Gary Mills
18) Timing is key.
“A ‘No’ may not mean ‘Never,’ it may only mean ‘Not yet.’ Learn as much as you can and revisit the prospect when they are ready.” –Martin Rhodes
19) Objections can be overcome.
“Learn to read between the lines so you know when no is not no.” –Laura Kuehn
20) Stay focused.
“Be really present. Don’t pre-empt where the call is going.” –Anthea Vorster
21) Always be helping.
“A sale is not something you do. It is something that happens when immersed in providing great customer service.” –Melody Maki
22) Your competency will improve over time.
“There are four levels of competency in sales. Level one is ‘unconsciously incompetent.’ At first, you don’t even know what you don’t know. Level two is ‘consciously incompetent.’ You become aware of your shortcomings and address them. Level three is ‘consciously competent.’ With careful consideration and thoughtfulness, you can be confident in your abilities to sell. Level four is ‘unconsciously competent.’ You reach a level where talking about the sale becomes second nature.” –Bonnie Brown
23) Think like your prospect.
“Know your customer. If you are able to see things from their perspective, their needs, objections, etc., then you will gain empathy and stand a fighting chance. If you don’t, you’ll come across as patronising and naive — and almost certainly won’t succeed.” –Nick Goode
24) Sell benefits, not features.
“The customer never wants your product. What they buy is always a means to another end: profits, prestige, time, and so on.” –Jason Rekker
25) Don’t forget customers after they sign.
“It takes longer to get a new customer to come on board then to keep a old customer. Treat both like they are gold.” –Lori Sayles
26) “New” doesn’t always equal “better.”
“No matter how excited you are about a new product or what you are selling, don’t just ‘product dump.’ First, ask questions to see what the client needs. Your new product may not be the best answer, and you may lose a sale by pushing it — when you could have something else that might work better.” –Leslie Harper
27) Mind your P’s.
“Mine are the three P’s: Be patient, be persistent, and most of all, be pleasant!” –Annette Bonacker-Hess
28) Know the answer to, “Why now?”
“Always sell to a compelling event and make sure that compelling event is a) the buyer’s compelling event, b) fits with your timeline; and c) is not within the control of the buyer to ignore or change. Then plan the sale backwards from the compelling event with the help of the buyer.” –Steve Eungblut
29) Don’t try to “win.”
“My mentor once explained that a competitive attitude can be a detriment to top sales performance. If you look at every sale as a win/lose proposition, it is likely that you will have a propensity to oversell, or try to overcome objections. Overcome means ‘fight,’ so win the fight, lose the sale.” –Lee Dubois
30) Build trust.
“People will not believe the message if they don’t believe the messenger.” –Phil (PJ) Weber
“Ask yourself before every call, ‘How will I bring value to this customer?’ How will you differentiate yourself from all of the other salespeople so that they will want to see you again and tell their friends/colleagues about you? Go in with a plan. It is easier than trying to create one on the fly.” –Daniel Clutter
32) Don’t lie. Period.
“Practice full disclosure. What you think you might lose by disclosing, you’ll gain in trust.” –Albert Mensah
33) Be nice to the “little people.”
“Do not overlook junior staff. Many of them will be decision makers sooner than you’d expect.” –Dzintars Lusis
34) Don’t get complacent.
“Always play as if you are behind, no matter how ahead of target you are.” – Graeme Brown
35) Build a great personal brand.
“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.” -Jay Danzie (courtesy of Mike Fischer)
36) Make them think.
“Ask better questions than anyone has ever asked the prospect.” –Lisa Cook
37) Building rapport is always doable.
“Professionals have personal lives too. Break the ice and get them to connect on a human level.” –Stephen B. Savage
38) Be persistent.
“Don’t underestimate the power of a proper follow up.” –Adrian Lupau
39) Not everyone is a good fit.
“Telling prospects ‘no’ is okay. Disqualify fast and move on quickly.” –Jesse Pappas
40) Focus on your product’s value.
“Never sell on price alone.” –Bob Earle
41) Lecturing prospects doesn’t work.
“Telling ain’t selling! Have a conversation, ask questions, and be an active listener. Don’t interrupt — whether you’re talking to prospect, your manager, or your reports.” –Dave Ferrante
42) Empathy will set you apart.
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” –Maria May
What’s the best piece of sales advice you’ve ever gotten? Let us know in the comments!