New year, new quota - here are 101 tips to keep in mind when evaluating your sales technique to crush it in 2017.
1. Have a good, balanced breakfast. It increases cognitive performance throughout the day.
2. Exercise in the morning. Get the blood flowing, get motivated.
3. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Time management is critical for optimizing time spent on the phone, emailing, and performing demos.
4. But keep some flexibility in your availability. You never know when a prospect might call back or change an appointment.
5. Log everything. Whether for future reference or a hand-off, it is critical to keep comprehensive records.
6. Utilize an integrated approach. Your prospects use more than different methods of communication at different times of day.
7. Learn how each prospect prefers to communicate. Some prefer phone, others email, still others social media. This is why an integrated approach is critical.
8. Set up a touch point cadence. This goes hand-in-hand with scheduling. Don’t follow up to the point of annoyance, but don’t drop off the face of the Earth either.
9. Do your homework on potential prospects. The more legwork done ahead of time, the fewer calls it takes to get to a decision-maker.
10. Try framing conversations as one buyer to another. Prospects trust other buyers, leverage that mindset.
11. Use real numbers and data. Present product benefits as real added value for the customer.
12. Aim for a target talk time of 2-3 hours. While the exact number might be subject to change depending on your industry, establishing a connection with customers over the phone is a crucial part of long-term success.
13. But don’t lose sight of the big picture. Focus on the prospect. If you focus on the prospect, hitting target talk time will come naturally.
14. Transfer energy over the phone. Prospects can tell if you are unenthusiastic. Sit up straight and smile to convey confidence and enthusiasm over the phone.
15. Plan calls ahead of time. No one has time for an unprepared salesperson.
16. Keep voicemails short. Voicemails over 20-30 seconds are less likely to be opened.
17. Personalize voicemails. Most people like hearing their name: it gets their attention and signifies that you’ve done your homework.
18. Create intrigue in voicemail. Frame your solution in different ways on follow-ups, and address different pain points.
19. Use voicemail to ask ultra-specific questions you could not ask over email. These will get your prospect’s attention, as well as build your product’s brand.
20. Always schedule the next call or meeting before ending the call. Make prospects make a time commitment.
21. Ask for a prospect’s mobile number when scheduling future meetings. If they give it to you, it means they are committed to attending the meeting.
22. Remember that if a prospect takes a call, they probably have a need they think should be addressed.
23. Prioritize the most high-value calls on Wednesday & Thursday 4-6pm. This is the most likely timeframe to make contact.
24. Don’t sell during cold calls. Instead, use the opportunity to build relationships and build your product’s brand.
25. Utilize a phone number local to each prospect. This will increase the likelihood of the phone being picked up.
26. Avoid canned email templates. They don’t get read.
27. Be creative with email headers and email in general. Most decision makers are bombarded with thousands of emails a year. Make yours stand out.
28. Send emails on the weekends, and in the early morning and evening.
29. Use social media. 75% of customers use it when considering their options. You should too.
30. Brush up your LinkedIn profile. In social selling, your LinkedIn profile is your business card. Make sure it’s perfect.
31. Take social beyond LinkedIn. An existing customer’s Twitter network can be a valuable source of prospects.
32. Engage on social, don’t just sell. Like a prospect’s content and follow them on Twitter.
33. Join groups your prospects are a part of. Provide valuable contributions to group discussions- don’t sell.
34. Build your personal brand. Blog, create content, and share your experiences.
35. Personalize… everything. Reference decision maker’s Tweets, blogs, etc.
36. Gain insight into each organization’s number of employees, revenue, etc, prior to making first contact. Tools like Salesforce are great for this.
37. Check the news. This can be a great source of pertinent, organization-related information that can be leveraged in email and voicemail.
38. Reach out at different times of day. Decision makers’ schedules are riddled with meetings.
39. Avoid canned responses. Don’t look for an opportunity to pitch, look for opportunities to learn and address.
40. Use demos to tell a story. Lead your prospect to imagine their pain points alleviated.
41. Ask managers and peers for feedback. What may seem obvious to others might not seem obvious to you, and vice-versa.
42. Work with peers to better techniques. Roleplay selling scenarios and ask the best what they are doing that works.
43. Find a coach or mentor. This could be a high performing peer or a respected sales manager.
44. Insist on coaching. Every salesperson has skills they can improve, and sales managers are in a position to identify and improve them based on performance metrics.
45. Consider using a video coaching platform to practice and rehearse. These can be programmed with unexpected questions to improve the ability to think on your feet.
46. Make the distinction between feedback and coaching. Feedback is backward-looking, coaching is forward-focused. Both are crucial for long-term success.
47. Make coaching constant, not sporadic. Create a cadence and a culture of improvement.
48. Be a consultant. Become familiar with the market for your solution.
49. Know your competitors. More importantly, know how your product is unique.
50. Be nice to gatekeepers. Make casual conversation and don’t come across as rushed.
51. Think of gatekeepers as information chaperones. Chances are they have the contact information you need.
52. Gather pain points from non-decision makers. Gatekeepers and customer support can provide valuable, leveragable insight into the problem your solution solves.
53. Differentiate yourself from other salespeople. There are lots of robots making calls, but it’s the human element that makes sales.
54. Don’t waste time selling to someone without the authority to buy. While these people might be great sources of information, they are not the people to sell to.
55. Stop pitching to detractors. Instead, work to mend those relationships and address why they did not buy your product.
56. Always convey confidence in your solution. If you aren’t sold on it, your prospects won’t be either.
57. Work on navigating your own organization. C-suites want to deal with reps who can marshal their own resources.
58. Don’t jump to pricing negotiations. It is easy to jump the gun, particularly with an eager prospect- but be patient.
59. Practice self-awareness. Awareness of self leads to awareness of others, and is the cornerstone of self-improvement.
60. Keep messaging consistent. Confusing decision makers with uncoordinated messaging is an easy way to lose a sale.
61. Alter your expectations based on reality-checks.
62. Set reasonable targets. Targets set too high (or too low) hamper productivity and self-esteem.
63. Look beyond quarterly quotas. Don’t give up on prospects solely because they are not ready to buy that quarter.
64. Think in terms of long-term trends, not short term hiccups. If one week yields a strikingly low conversion rate, is it a trend to be concerned about, or a one week hiccup?
65. Set timelines for each prospect. Leaving ten voicemails a week probably isn’t a good idea.
66. Read between the lines. If a prospect sounds rushed or angry, it might be a good idea to reschedule.
67. Use pricing objections as an opportunity to present ROI. Highlight the potential earnings (or savings) relative to cost.
68. Frame objections as obstacles, not confrontations. Never become confrontational, no matter the adversity or condescension.
69. Know when not to automate. Automation is great for information sharing and scheduling, but not for human interaction.
70. Gather feedback from Closed Lost prospects. Depending on how the close was lost, they might prove the perfect candidate for a nurture campaign.
71. Follow up with Closed Lost prospects. You never know how things will turn out with their vendor selection. Make a note of the contract expiration date, as well.
72. Focus on asking questions. Prospects hear pitches all the time. Find out what problems they have and design a solution.
74. Seriously, listen. Many salespeople make the mistake of listening for particular “buying cues” then take those as permission to dive into a long-winded, rehearsed pitch. Real listening requires tailoring responses to each customer and their pain points. It requires effort and creativity.
75. Set yourself up as a resource for prospects. Have an arsenal of product-related material at the ready for any questions a prospect might have.
76. Break the wall between sales and marketing. Chances are your marketing department has some applicable content they’ve never told you about.
77. Learn about different processes. If you are a disciple of Solution Selling, look into the Challenger Sale. Go outside your comfort zone and build your own unique process.
78. Think the market is saturated? Slow down and look in places others wouldn’t think to look. Apply “outside-the-box” thinking to your solution.
79. Position your product as “must have,” not “convenient to have”. There are an infinite number of convenience devices on the market.
80. Tell prospects how you can help them, not what your product does. Frame what your product does in light of your prospect’s specific problem.
81. If an account seems to have dried up, go deeper. Contact other decision makers in the department.
82. If an account seems to have dried up, go wider. Contact other departments in the same organization.
83. Hear “No” as an opportunity. You are contacting prospects to offer a solution. If you go away after a simple “No,” it just means you are only there to sell, not to solve.
84. If “No” remains “No,” use it as an opportunity to gather feedback. Was the product lacking? Could the problem it solved be framed in a better way?
85. Always learn. Keep up to date on the latest advancements in your product (patch notes, bug fixes, etc). You never know when these may be pertinent to a prospect’s pain points.
86. Avoid bloating your pipeline. Use a qualification checklist for prospect evaluation.
87. Build comradery in the workplace. Close-knit teams sell more.
88. Focus on the deals most likely to close. Sales analytics tools can provide valuable estimates in this regard- focus on the deals with a 50%+ close likelihood.
89. Listen to podcasts. There are tons of great sales-related podcasts that can help you bolster your skillset.
90. Keep existing customers happy. Help them with any product-related concerns and they may become powerful advocates.
91. Upsell to existing customers. These people already have your product- if a new feature solves a problem they have, let them know.
92. Be prepared to make exceptions. Ideal customer profiles exist for a reason, but you shouldn’t pass up an easy inbound sale just because they don’t fit the criteria.
93. Reevaluate your tech stack. Optimize it based on existing integrations, and trim the fat.
94. Build a referral network of happy customers. These provide some of the best leads.
95. Build a referral network of fellow salespeople (who don’t sell the same product). Build a rapport: “You find leads for me, I find leads for you.”
96. Consider meditation. Stress demotivates and dulls your edge.
97. Adopt a work-life balance. It is easy to fall into the trap of working all the time. Creating a positive work-life balance goes a long way toward avoiding burnout.
98. Cultivate a passion for the product. If you don’t care about the product you are selling, consider selling a different product.
99. Consider a handwritten card. It’s old-fashioned, maybe even cheesy- but it gets a buyer’s attention.
100. Pursue interests and hobbies outside the product and outside of sales. The people you are selling to have hobbies and interests as well. You never know when an overlap in interests could be used as an icebreaker or leveraged to get to a decision maker.
101. Stay optimistic. Sometimes it’s hard, but if you’re not, everything else will suffer.