Sales Today

Updated: December 28, 2009

1. Avoid pop-sales tools

Popularized sales tools include constructs, such a the sales funnel, concepts such as "best practices," and techniques, such as "closing." Such tools are general, mass-marketed products of popularized sales ideology. The popularization of something is typically intended to capitalize on mass appeal in order to profit those promoting the popularization. Religion, music, and self-help psychology are other examples of social interests, as with many professions, that have been used, simplified, and even vitiated through popularization.

Since maintaining the integrity of that which is being popularized is often secondary to making money, regard for buyers and what is being popularized is considered only to the extent of increasing sales. Popularization often has damaging effects. Consider how the feel-good platitudes of pop-psychology have negatively impacted the field, now characterized by "psycho-babble." "You're okay just the way you are," "love yourself," as a result of popularization, has replaced the more substantive, less popular psychological advice regarding self-acceptance. Similarly, catchy and sensationalized titles of sales books, courses, and seminars titillate audiences to buy, but usually deliver over-simplified content that diminishes the less appealing, albeit more substantive messages that would be more beneficial for buyers to understand. Generalized, fast and easy sales solutions are intended to increase sales for others. In reality, where your business will thrive, stagnate, or die, "fast" and "easy" are not qualities that you want characterizing your sales solutions.

2. Know where you stand

How does your offer compare with that of your competition? What are your sales challenges? What are your company's leveraging points? What is your vision for success? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How will you convert your weaknesses into strengths? What do you have to learn about your products, market, and prospects in order to sell much more effectively?

3. Have a vision

"Vision" often denotes a "big picture" perspective, which is important; but those I manage have a vision for making each day successful, which requires knowing what to accomplish each day. Successful business owners, sales managers, and salespeople are not aimless, nor do they squander time reserved for productivity. They are dedicated to improving sales with focused attention to a course that is defined by a vision.

4. Replace cold-calling

Few sales roles necessitate cold-calling. The telemarketer is a classic example of a sales role necessitating the cold-call. Unless your work necessitates cold-calling, do not cold-call. The practice of cold-calling annoys most people. The advent of the Internet—its resources—has enabled salespeople to replace the cold-call with the initial call (IC). The IC is an intriguing, research-based, and other-centered reason for reaching out to a prospective client. A cold-call is no longer a cold-call when a content relevant tie-in provides basis that promotes a meaningful, mutually beneficial connection. Maximize your chances of success. Conduct research, find leveraging points, and personalize your initial calls with the relevant and valuable data that creates a meaningful tie-in that interests your prospect.

5. Know why your prospect should buy from you and how you're going to help them understand your value

Effective sales work gives prospective clients a vision, linking their interests with your offer. In order to link, salespeople must understand why their offer should be valued by the specific prospect, and have no less than two approaches for communicating the idea of a mutually beneficial relationship with you.

6. Improve your ability to intrigue your prospect

Effective persuasion is an advanced sales skill that many senior-level salespeople lack. Why should a prospect take your call or respond to your email? Why should a prospect meet with you? Answer these and all related questions before attempting to engage in a sales pursuit. Persuasion requires being able to engage, and engagement requires being able to intrigue a prospect, which is an invaluable sales skill.

The attention of a prospect is not sufficient; you need to gain their interest, which requires your offer to be attractive. Desirability is subjective. Be careful of projecting your interests, values, beliefs, etc. onto your prospects. Your prospect may not share your point of view. (This is why I require having a recovery plan and a minimum of two leveraging points before attempting an initial call.) In order to intrigue, creativity and information attained during a profiling step (an investigative aspect of a process that is conducted during an initial meeting) may prove to be an essential component of your sales program.

7. Stage Your Success

Few salespeople actually sell. Most of those employed in sales today are representatives of a company's products and/or services whose work involves going through the motions of some routine with little thought. Their sales are incidental. Comparatively, the sales of the professionals are the orchestrated results of staging: a positioning skill involving effecting events and dynamics that influence the production of sales. The ultimate purpose of a sales system is to discover, optimize, and manage the most effective and profitable process for staging successful sales.

8. Nurture the Rapport

The most neglected and yet most important step in acquiring new clients is nurturing a rapport with prospects. Solid research, proper application of leveraging points, and appropriates sales techniques will enable you to gain meetings with prospective buyers. However, without a well-defined process for nurturing business opportunities, you will lose sales. I require those I manage to maintain account acquisition campaigns for all their viable prospects.

Account acquisition campaigns (AAC) are simple yet essential means for maintaining the attention of a prospect with whom you seek a business relationship or transaction. Of course, AACs are not appropriate for all sales programs.

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