[quote]angry chicken wrote:
Not sure what your industry or product is, but can offer some general advice.
If you give us some more info about your product, commission structure (or do you have draw vs. commission?), CRM (client relationship management system), company structure (are you on a team, how are leads provided, are there structural differences in self generated leads, i.e. referrals vs. lead provided by your company, do you pay for your own marketing, etc…) The more info you give, the better advice you are likely to get. Sales is an extremely rewarding career if you take the time to build the necessary skills to succeed. It’s not easy starting out on commission so good luck.
I’ll give you a few things to think about below and if you give us some more details I can try to get more specific.
#1. Be an expert about what you are selling. Take the time to read EVERYTHING about it. Visit the factory if you can and learn how it is made. Know the product, the benefits and the ROI (return on investment) that the client is likely to experience. Sell the ROI.
#2. Begin each “transaction” with the referral in mind. Take time to develop rapport and build trust. Proactively create “referral spikes” (times in the sales process when you have EXCEEDED your client’s expectation). That is the time to ask for referrals.
#3. Invest in a CRM to track your leads, accounts, opportunities and post closing follow up activity. If you actually stay in touch with the people you’ve done business with and “nurture” the relationship, they will happily become your advocate and refer all kinds of business your way. I use salesforce.com as my CRM. It’s a little expensive, but you can download a free open source one such as SugarCRM at first. Track as many metrics as is applicable to accurately measure your progress and predict your income. This gives you data to measure your goals and milestones as well as projecting the prospecting activity you need to do to meet your goals.
#4. 93% of communication is not verbal. It is body language, facial expression, tonality and a hundred other non-verbal cues that we humans pick up on. Practice your pitch in front of a mirror and PREPARE. Amateurs “wing it”, professionals practice. Study NLP and the Meyers Briggs personality profile system. Know the difference between visual, auditory and kinesthetic communicators and adjust your language and communication style to “mirror” your client.
#5. There are many “sales systems” out there. Having a system is important so you can be sure that your customers get the same experience every time. There is no BEST system, but it would just be confusing to try and learn all of them at the same time. Chose ONE system, learn it and become proficient in it, before taking on another one. They are like tools in a toolbox.
#6. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a sale. If your product or service doesn’t meet your client’s needs, tell him. I’ll even go as far as recommending a competitor if it is obvious that’s what they need. This accomplished two things: you gain their respect and trust (making them more likely to refer business to you) and most importantly, lets you sleep at night.
#7. Save some money for the hard times. You WILL have a bad month every so often. Your bills WON’T go away. 'nuff said.
#8. Master time management. Your income is directly proportional to the activities you do. If you become more efficient at your activities, the money stays the same and your free time increases. If you don’t manage time well, you’ll be working 14 hour days. It will take a while to progress to the point where you can predict how many sales calls you need to make to close ‘X’ number of deals, to make ‘X’ number of dollars. That’s where having a CRM and being consistent about tracking everything comes in handy.
This list is getting longer than I intended. Let us know more about what I asked you at the beginning so I can give you better advice.
Good luck. [/quote]
Good advice for the most part though I wouldn’t personally waste time on Meyers Briggs or NLP (you are either someone that people warm to or you aren’t I don’t think listening for verbal ticks as to whether someone is visual or auditory works, NLP has failed every scientific test ever tried on it.)
On the time management side, coming in early is better than staying late, it is more productive and it reflect better to management. If you come in early you look like you are keen and working hard. If you stay late, you look like you are not managing your time correctly.
Always update your task list before you leave in the evening, then review it in the morning when you get to work. If you leave it till the morning to update your task list you will have forgotten things.
Block out time in your calendar for paperwork etc. If you don’t then other things will fill that time.
Don’t what ever you do check internet forums from work. They will eat your life!