Monday, January 27, 2014

Six Tips to Survive the World of Sales and Get Paid More

It has been said that a good sales person could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo. This is essentially true, in that outstanding selling skills can apply to any sales transaction, even the most challenging ones. 

Sales is a competitive profession, but it can be highly rewarding, too, when helping customers get their needs met and getting paid well for it. Here are some tips to help move to the top of the sales ladder and get that raise in base pay or commission rate: 

Know Your Product

Most companies now offer specialised training for their sales staff. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions about what you’ll be selling and get as much background material as possible. 

The more complicated the product, the more information there will be to learn. Try to commit as much to memory as possible, so you can talk easily with your customers about it in a conversational way. 

Carry a binder or briefcase with brochures or fact sheets, usually provided by the employer, and be sure to have a few to leave behind with key clients. Become the expert in your area, beyond your own product. Know the competition, market trends and new developments. 

Talk With Your Clients, Not At Them

To create a winning sales pitch watch a truly good salesperson in action, and you’ll find him or her asking a lot of questions. Beware of being too quick to just offer information or debate when a customer raises a concern. 

Ask the customer what current needs are not being satisfied or what could be done better. Inquire about spending time with your customers outside of the sales pitch to find out what they do on a day-to-day basis. 

This can be extremely informative and help build rapport with your clients. Know how to craft an effective sales pitch so you can sell your product while telling the customers what they want to hear.

Offer Value

Value is the ratio of customer satisfaction to the price of goods or services. Think about what you can offer your customers that goes beyond just selling them something. Maybe it’s helping a busy bookstore owner pull in more business by setting up a reading group or bringing surgeon medical journal articles that are not even related to your product but help the practice nonetheless. 

Try to provide value in every sales encounter. Remember, good salesmanship is a marathon, not a sprint, and maintaining a helpful relationship with your customers will pay off in the end. 

Be Proactive

Check in on your clients from time to time, even if it’s not time for them to buy something. Make sure everything is going well, not just with your products, but with their lives in general. 

Stay on top of weddings, graduations, new baby arrivals, and life’s unfortunate incidents, too, such as illnesses, loss of family members, or downsizing in the workplace. Your clients will remember you as someone who cared more than just about selling, and if you ever get made redundant, you will have a network of people who can offer references and potential future business.

Work for a Good Company

This may sound like an odd sales tip, but people who are happy in their work tend to do a better job, and doing a better job is rewarding personally and financially. Strong salespeople are always in demand, so take some time to find an employer that is the right match for you. 

A smart employer will offer fair remuneration, benefits, training, and mentors to help hone your skills.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Competitive

Sales is a business where you are almost always competing against someone else. This is not the time to be a shrinking violet. If you work for a good company and believe in your product, you can stand toe-to-toe with the competition with pride. 

Don’t forget to ask for the business. You don’t have to be pushy or forceful, simply ask the customer in a way that feels genuine for you if he or she will be making a purchase or would like a follow up in the near future.

If you maintain a standard of excellence about your work and find an employer to do the same, you will do more than survive in sales. You can thrive and become the model all other salespeople emulate.

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