10 secrets of top sales performers
A top sales performer will accept nothing less than being the best in the field and herein lies the recipe to a successful company. Any established company knows that everything depends on how good your sales team is.
You can have an amazing product—the best in the game—but if you do not know how to sell it and who to sell it to, that amazing product is going to remain on the shelves.
It's important to keep in mind that 84% of people want to buy from someone they know and trust.
This means that relationship-building and being exceedingly good at it is a prerequisite for every salesperson but that goes unsaid at this point. Everyone knows sales is all about relationships, but what can a person do to build and maintain those relationships?
What is being a top sales performer all about? Well, I have been in the game long enough to list a few secrets that all salespeople follow to stay in the game.
1. They measure their sales metrics and success rates
Anything you do can be measured. So, when you look at individual sales and your general performance, you'll be able to pick up on things that work and drop things that do not.
You can only do this if you take a step back and view it from a bird’s eye point of view. This allows you to figure out what tasks you are spending time on that are simply draining your energy with no real return on your time investment. That way you can make the decision to stop doing those things.
It also allows you to spend more time doing things that work. What do I mean by this? Well, let's look at how an average salesperson spends their time.
Image via AMA Marketing
A similar time breakdown for your own week will allow you to figure out what's working for you. You can do this by using a time tracking software like Toggl that will help you track your time.
The point is you need to constantly be tracking your metrics to be able to truly succeed at what you're doing. If you are simply moving through the motions every day, there's no room to improve.
2. They build relationships for the long haul
Image via Zety
Ever heard of a sales funnel? If not, that could very well be the reason you aren't hitting those amazing sales numbers you're after.
It's important to keep in mind that customers are more likely to buy a product if it's referred to them by someone they trust. That's why influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are becoming more and more common.
It takes an average of eight outreach efforts for a customer to convert while 92% of all salespersons give up after the 4th call. This means the problem is not who you are contacting or how you are contacting them, but how many times you are contacting them.
When you build relationships with your customers, keep in mind that you want to build them for the long haul. If a customer does buy a product from your company, they are far more likely to buy one again. So nurturing these leads and working on relationships with past and present customers is imperative.
Better yet, if you really want to take your customer relationship game to the next level, you should build relationships with them, then go on to ask them to give you a few honest video testimonials you can then use to sell your product.
85% of fans of brands recommend the brand to their friend and it's well known that referral marketing works better than anything else. This way your customer relationships will help you sell your own products and services.
A great example of this marketing technique is what PixelCrayons does on their app development page. You can find loads of real and honest customer testimonials on there that showcase the company’s benefits, the amazing results, why their customers choose them, etc. This helps companies bring in more leads and more sales by simply maintaining the relationships with customers they already have.
Image via PixelCrayons
3. You test the product you are selling for yourself
A good rule to follow at all times is to try every product you plan on selling. There is no better way to know the benefits and potential drawbacks of the product and no company brochure can give you the insight your own experience can.
It will help you actually become passionate about what you are selling. If you've never used the service or product you are pitching, it'll eventually become obvious.
You want your customer to believe every word coming out of your mouth and for that to happen, you need to believe every word coming out of your mouth.
Use the product or service, form an opinion of your own, and talk to the customer as you would a friend you're referring a product to.
4. Highlight the value of the product over price and quantity
Most customers are looking for the best version of the product available rather than just the best price. Do not get me wrong—good pricing and enviable quantity helps, but it isn't everything.
So, what do I mean by the value of a product? Well, the best way to highlight the value of the product is to associate the product with everyday problems your customer may be facing.
How does your product help them?
More often than not, a customer would be more than happy to splurge a little extra cash on a product that is the exact solution they are looking for.
Here's a good example:
If you're selling an email marketing service to bloggers, you could bring up how most bloggers struggle to convert their affiliate links into sales (customer’s pain point). You could then go on to explain how an email marketing service would allow them to create a relationship with potential leads on their email list and help them better sell more product.
After this is when you could go on to bring up pricing, possible discounts, and how many subscribers are available in each plan (quantity) but the first step should be to talk about the value you are giving them.
Image via ConvertKit
ConvertKit (an actual email marketing service for bloggers) did exactly this when they were trying to grow their brand. They hosted plenty of webinars for bloggers and gave away hundreds of dollars worth of value in each one of these webinars. That value came in different ways — information on how to generate leads, free products, etc.
Customers were so impressed by how much value they were giving them, they could not help but be interested in the product.
Other companies have done this as well, albeit in different ways. They may have started a podcast, written guest posts, etc. but they provided value before they asked their customer to get their wallet out.
5. Look at things from the customer’s perspective
A lot of salespersons tend to simply do their job from their point of view. This means that they are trying to sell their product, get their commission, and get back home. This results in the salesperson not taking into account what the customer wants from them.
You need to remember that your customer is spending their hard-earned money buying the product you are selling. They want to know whether it is worth it, if they need it, and whether they can afford it.
If you are simply listing the benefits of the products by reading a brochure in front of you, you aren’t going to close the deal. This is because you aren’t focusing on what your customer wants to hear.
A good example of a company that keeps the customer’s perspective in mind is Dan Sullivan’s Strategic Coach. This business offers coaching services targeted towards entrepreneurs. If you take a look at their YouTube channel, you'll notice how a lot of their videos are all about the customer.
A recent video of theirs titled ‘One Question To Transform Anyone's Future — Multiplier Mindset’ is full of information that aids the customer’s buying process, helps them become better at their own businesses, and takes them one step closer to success.
If you give your customers the information they want rather than just random benefits of your product, there's a good chance they will want your product anyway. Make your product part of the bigger story.
Talking to Resourceful Selling, customers have said that attributes they look for in salespeople include being able to speak to a salesperson that would offer them unique insight on the market and help them navigate possible alternatives.
This means pointing out your customer’s pain points and explaining why your product (over other alternatives) is the right solution for them. Customers also highly appreciate it when a salesperson is able to give them unique and valuable market information that will help them dodge potential landmines. This could mean offering them ways to save money, avoid risk, or increase their revenue.
You need to be giving your customer a reason to trust you.
6. Value your customer’s time as you would your own
We all know at least one salesperson that has called us pitching a product and has spent way more time than necessary on pleasantries and the product’s list of benefits.
In most cases, a customer wants to get all the information as fast as possible. So, something that you could potentially spend some time practicing is giving your customer the important points of the product as quickly as possible.
You can create a bulleted list of points/topics of conversation you would like to cover and stick to them. This will condense the conversation as much as possible. You could also create a list of frequently asked questions that customers tend to have and have a relevant (but brief) answer for each one.
This way you won’t waste the customer’s time (and your own) researching prices or information, rambling on about irrelevant information, or worst of all...boring them.
7. Top sales performers are using more sales technology
Sales performers that use digital technology have repeatedly stated that they believe it's a very important aspect of their business and there's a good reason for this.
Using something as simple as a Customer Relationship Software could help you send personalized emails, improve response time, manage every channel from one view, unify various mediums of support (email, phone, and chat), automate tasks, and increase productivity.
A good example of this type of software would be Close, which offers all of the above services to sales teams. As we get closer to entering 2021, it's important to realize that sales as a job today is very different than what it used to be. Because of this, we need to take advantage of the technology available to us.
High-performing sales teams are 1.5 times more likely to base forecasts on data-driven results.
On the other hand, it's also important to maintain a balance. Companies that get too automated often have a lot of customers wishing they could get a more personalized experience.
Final verdict: Use sales technology, but always focus on the human element of sales above everything else.
8. Ask for referrals from people who say No (No call should be a waste of time)
Not every call is going to convert — that's just the (sad) truth of being part of a sales team. You'll have days when you feel like you're putting in your all but not getting much back in return.
To make up for the time wasted on these ‘No’ calls, you should always try to at least get referrals from people at the end of the call.
So, for example, if you email someone pitching a product and they give you a solid ‘No’, email them back and ask if they know anyone who might be interested in your product or service.
Most people know the pain of having to build a customer base and would be happy to refer you to someone they know that might need your product.
It's a good practice to focus on in the long-term.
9. Customize your sales approach for every customer
High-performing sales teams are 2.8 times more likely to say their companies have become more focused on personalizing customer interactions. On the other hand, underperforming teams are more likely to approach every client in the same fashion.
What does this tell you? Your sales approach can never be too personalized.
There are a couple of different ways you can do this, but here are some of my personal favorites:
- Include their story in your pitch
Every customer’s journey is different and it's important to keep that in mind when pitching your product. Make sure to include their own story into the product. You can do this by mentioning what you think your customer’s biggest pain point is, or focus on a way your product can aid your customer’s own success.
- Make sure you listen
You can only include your customer’s story in your pitch if you take the time to listen. A common mistake salespeople make is they don't give customers a chance to talk to them. Make sure you ask tons of questions and force yourself to shut up sometimes.
- Make your product the solution to their problem
If you've listened to your customer enough, you'll probably know what their primary problem is (why they are buying the product or service in the first place). You can use this information to explain to them how the product could possibly solve that problem.
- Change your references based on the customer
You probably know that during any pitch you're going to need to make references. This could be in the context of an example or you may be talking about services that your product is used along with- anything. Depending on who you are talking to, change your references to make sure they understand them.
- Research who their competition is
If your customers are primarily businesses, make sure to research who their competition is so that you can mention them in your pitch. You could talk about how your product or service could help them potentially beat that competition.
10. End your pitch with a question
It's always a good idea to finish your personalized sales talk with a question. This could be something as simple as:
- Was that helpful for you?
- Did that make sense?
- Would you like me to repeat any of that and explain it further?
This simple question will allow you to know where your customer stands and inform you on how to plan your next sales move. If your customer does have queries, they are far more likely to bring them up if you give them an opening.
This way you can cover as much ground as possible and be sure to give your potential lead as much information as they need.
11. [Bonus] They prioritize social media
The best salesperson knows that their ideal customer is not waiting for them at the store but is on social media. 68% of Americans use YouTube and Facebook while 84% of buyers who use social media also have bigger budgets than the people that do not.
Image via SuperOffice
This only further proves that you need to be where your customer is: on Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook. Finding and engaging with new prospects via social media has a great ROI and you can provide value for customers on social media as well.
This can be done in a couple of ways:
- Answering their questions on Quora
- Replying to comments
- Sharing the right information when they ask for it
Connecting with your target customer on social media will also allow you to form a more casual relationship. Chat acronyms and replying to tweets with a witty joke is only possible on Twitter which is another social media bonus: you get to connect to your customers in a different way and form a far more friendly relationship with them.
Social selling is the future of sales and the sooner you wake up to that fact, the better.
Sales can be a tough job with low conversion rates and demanding hours. Being able to give your customer exactly what they need, creating long-lasting relationships with leads, and making sales every hour can be what makes it rewarding.
The main focus should always be to keep learning and picking up on new ways to improve your techniques and approach. Whether that means reading articles like this one or taking courses on online learning platforms, there is always something else you can add to your knowledge bank.
Every salesperson has a different approach and that's what makes them unique, but following a few simple rules (in your own way) could be the recipe for success.
Everybody can learn to become a better negotiator if they focus on building the right skills and attitudes. Download our free book, The Founder's Guide to Sales Negotiation and learn the simple framework for winning better deals.