How to Become a Better Salesperson
Sales can be a difficult career. However, for those who work hard and find success, earning potential can be unlimited. That is why so many people are drawn to the industry. Whether you are selling insurance or watches, you ultimately are in charge of your own destiny. For people of a certain personality type, this is incredibly appealing. Sales may not have the safety net that a typical Monday-Friday, 9–5 job does, but then again, it doesn’t have the trappings either. If you are tired of your routine and are considering sales as a potential career, here are five ways to become a better salesperson.
1. Think Critically
Critical thinking is incredibly important in sales for a number of reasons. Perhaps most simply, critical thinking allows you to solve problems. By thinking critically, you can analyze pain points and offer solutions on the spot. All strong traits for salespeople, as they must adapt quickly to ever-changing environments.
This brings us to our second point: critical thinking allows salespeople to be flexible, enabling them to go off script when necessary to offer rebuttals, answer pointed questions, provide benefits or use cases, and steer conversations back in the right direction in the event of tangents. If you are unable to think for yourself, you will find yourself trapped and at an inherent disadvantage.
Finally, a critical thinker may be able to improve an existing sales pitch, or devise an all-new way of approaching sales based on the product and target market. Why blindly follow the script that is given to you if you can do better?
2. Be Charismatic and Personable
Sales is about forming a connection with other people. If you want to succeed, you must be trustworthy, easy to talk to, helpful, and someone who others feel they can confide in. Have confidence and conviction in your product, be forthright and to the point, make yourself easy to converse with, and above all, don’t ever give off the impression that the sale is more important than the client.
There is a reason the phrase “used car salesman” is synonymous with someone who is untrustworthy. Many people have an existing pre-conception and bias against salespeople, and not without reason. For many people, this pre-conception is based at least in part on past experiences. Don’t reinforce their stereotypes — prove them wrong. Be personable, be yourself, and be someone they can trust.
3. Have Drive & Commitment
It’s important to remember that sales is a numbers game. Cold calls yield remarkably little success, which may be discouraging if you are new to sales. The good news, however, is that conversions jump dramatically with referrals and inbound leads. Knowing this can help you cope with the many failures you’re sure to experience along the way to success.
Selling a product is never easy, and you will very likely have more people say “no” than those who say “yes.” For this reason, it’s important to be driven and committed. Give yourself a goal and stick with it no matter what. If you do, you might just reach the finish line. Give up, on the other hand, and you’ll never succeed. That much is guaranteed. Which will it be?
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
When it comes to sales, some people are naturals, but for most, it takes practice. And that’s okay. Believe it or not, extroverts aren’t inherently better salespeople. So-called ambiverts can have just as much, if not more, success. Why? Because if you’re too extroverted, a client may be turned off by your approach. And if you’re too introverted, you likely won’t ever muster up the courage to get started in the first place. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, sometimes it pays to sit somewhere in the middle.
If you fall in this camp, give yourself a leg up by practicing. Companies like Amway can help you start out in sales part-time as you transition from your current career into your new one. Not only can you gain invaluable skills and knowledge, you can make money in the process. Practice makes perfect as the old saying goes, and this is as true for sales as it is for any art, craft, or sporting competition.
5. Understand Your Product
Finally, it helps to understand your product, your target market, the problem that the product addresses, and the solution that it offers. Sales really could be broken down into three simple steps: 1. finding a customer; 2. pinpointing a concern, need, or desire; and 3. offering up a solution or answer. Do this, and your product should sell itself.
So make sure that you know your product. Who needs it or might want it? Why is it the best solution for them? Why is it better than similar products in the marketplace? Remember, your client is going to ask you these same questions. If you don’t know the answers, why should they buy from you? Have a good idea of what your product is, and why people might want it, and you could find that half of your job is done for you.