How To Improve Sales Performance At Work? The question that every salesperson asks himself/herself. Salespeople are one of the highest-paid people in any industry. It is these people who impact the top line the most. But is there a formula to have a success story here?
A sales representative job description will showcase what is expected of you as a salesperson. But how do you get better at it?
Is sales a natural talent or can it be acquired to perform better? The short answer is YES.
Let me tell you a story related to Mr Robert Kiyosaki, a successful entrepreneur, and businessman. He has authored the popular personal finance book ‘Rich dad and poor dad’, one of the best sellers in the New York Times. While this book is a good take, the one thing that catches my attention here is the term ‘Best Seller’. In this book, the author, Robert, even talks about himself of not being a great writer but he has learned how to be good at sales.
Like Mr Kiyosaki, there are numerous examples of salespersons who faced hardships sometime in their careers but moved on to become very successful in this business. So, if you are starting to worry about not being able to put the desired numbers as a sales rep, good news for you- Sales is a skill that can be acquired over time. But it does have a personal touch too.
Remember, a sales deal involves technical as well as emotional aspects to it.
With time, salespeople develop a process or style that does wonders for them. Aspiring to be a successful sales rep, you must understand your style first before you reach the highest potential. If you have not been able to up to the mark, then definitely, you are missing out on something.
Here is a guide to help you take the next leap in your sales job. Let’s explore!
Empathy – Giving a damn to your customer
By far Emotional Intelligence is the make or break skill required by people in Sales.
Sales jobs can be stressful with tight deadlines to meet and numbers to match. Sales professionals lacking emotional intelligence can be the first casualties in these scenarios.
It doesn’t matter how good you are at prospecting, presentation, or selection of words if it can’t get you to the bank. Nothing can get more frustrating when you spend your time and energy with your prospect and do not close the deal.
Did you know, the secret to your success lies in mastering the ability to empathise your customers? This is even more important when dealing with big-ticket items. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It’s about you giving a damn about the wellbeing of your customers, giving a damn about the outcome. It allows you to understand if your product is a good fit or not.
Let’s accept one thing. Customers today are smart and they come to shop after their due research. To build trust, you must understand their needs and advise accordingly. If you don’t have the right matching product, don’t hesitate to tell that. Even you can recommend any product that will suit their needs.
Don’t be robotic with your customers and try to build a connection. Trust building goes a long way and the benefits are long term.
Ability to discover your prospect’s pain points
If there is no pain point, there won’t be any sales.
Knowing your product, your company’s strengths, various stages of the sales process, etc. are all primary. But until and unless you can diagnose your customer’s pain points, you won’t succeed in the longer run.
Most salespeople talk too much and they don’t ask too many questions. Let’s be clear on one thing- Problems drive sales, not the products. Many customers are not sure of their exact needs on most occasions. Unless you make an effort to understand the gap between where your customer is and where he or she wants to go, you won’t have success by bombarding your product knowledge, features, and benefits.
When customers walk into the store, they have the intention to buy. The ugly truth is that there is so much information available for the customers today that it ends up creating clutter in seeing what is best suited for him. To become a great salesperson, you should be able to clear things out and make the path clear for your customer.
Ability to handle rejections
A sales job is one of those jobs where the word ‘NO’ is very common. Rejection happens and it will hurt your ego. It will hurt you emotionally and psychologically. To sail through it, the simplest way is to accept it.
Rejection is a part of the game. But you don’t take it personally. And don’t give up after a few rejections. It’s a part of the learning.
At the end of the day, you should behave as a professional even while facing the rejections without visibly angry or frustrated. You should try to know what went wrong. It gives you a chance to reflect upon how better it could have been and set things right going forward. Be resilient. The way you react to your rejections will determine your success in the sales business. You might not get any feedback though you have spent a good amount of time and energy into a deal. Sales pros, who become great sales leaders in the future, dare to go on even after facing multiple rejections.
Active Listening leads to Selling rather than Showing
You should be in a position to give insights about your products and services. Insights are the ability to provide information beyond the obvious.
If you are presenting information that the customer already knows or researched about, then you are not being a great salesman. It’s not selling. It’s showing.
When you are reading out the things in a brochure, you are being a reciter of information they already know. If you are educating and enlightening them with insights, you are selling. This is where you connect with your customer and make them believe why that product or service is the best suited for them. Now you are presenting insights.
One way to get those insights is by talking to your previous customers on how they are being benefited from the products/services. This can even give you points that your marketing team might have missed. These insights are priceless and can build a competitive advantage.
If you are convinced of your sales speech, you can sell it to others. Have faith in yourself and the product/service that you are pitching for. Confidence comes from practice and research. Apply the logic of compounding here. Small progress done over a period will give you unprecedented results.
Your confidence in your pitch will empower your customer to trust the product or service. One thing to note here is not to be arrogant while being confident. If there are objections from your customers, then do listen to them. It’s again part of active listening.
Do not leave a chance of learning behind. If you made a mistake, accept it, learn from it, and move on.
Self-motivation and competitive spirit
There will be cut-throat competition in sales and at times, you will go through some rough phases because of frequent rejections. These times are critical and you will need the motivation to move forward. You may want to connect with other motivating salespeople and find motivation from their experiences. You should have ways of rejuvenating yourself when things don’t go as you planned.
When it comes to competition, you should strive to find your success formula. Build rapport with your customers and aim for a good network of people that can give you leads. A good network often acts as the biggest competitive advantage for sales. Talking about a self-styled salesperson, it’s an intriguing read to know about Jordan Belfort.
This is going to be huge in the coming days. There are many tools to manage relations with customers. Ex: CRM and sales automation tools are a few to mention here.
Social media has been a boon for sales reps. Many prospects can be found on social media platforms and their activities do give a clue about their behaviours. Salespeople do maintain engagement with their customers through these mediums. It also helps while researching prospective clients. It depends on how much value you can extract from using technology.
Your preparedness will determine how you handle your customer’s objections.
Objections are another reality for salespeople. The key here is not to be reactive but to be proactive. When you react, it’s like playing catch-up. This shows a lack of preparedness. You don’t do that when you want your customers to close the deal. It’s better to pre-empt objections than to handle objections. That way you limit the objections that are raised during a client meeting.
Do your thorough research- go through their social media handles, through their press releases, get information through your network, and anything that can be done. A SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis might also be helpful to understand the prospective person or business.
Take care of your health
Last but not the least, it’s your health. As a sales rep, you might have to travel to various places to meet your clients. And in a stressful job like sales, it is easy to ignore your health conditions. But try to maintain a balance.
If your health goes south, you will find it difficult to cope with the demands of a sales job. Take rest if you feel burned out and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As it is said, Health is gold and that enables you to give your undivided attention to your performance on your job.
Finally, Sales is a lucrative career option. It pays you handsomely. But, no good fortune comes without hardship. Trust your instincts, stay focused. Don’t fear rejections. Have an open mind towards learning. At the end of the day, a sales job is a relationship management game where you are a walking P&L for your balance sheet. Good luck to you!