Let’s face it, sales is a grind. The daily slog of cold calls, follow ups, and client maintenance, combined with the stress of trying to hit your monthly, quarterly and yearly numbers, can take a toll on you. As the old saying goes, working smarter not harder can help to ease the burden. Three key factors — research, attitude, and persistence (RAP) — can impact your bottom line:
How to Be a Better Salesperson
Who is it that you need to speak to, and what do they do? It seems obvious, but using LinkedIn can be a tremendous asset towards saving you time by pointing you directly to the decision maker that you need to be talking to. Targeted list building via tools like LinkedIn will save you time in the long run by whittling your call list down to just the essential people, and weeding out the time wasters.
A LinkedIn message rather than an email shows that you’ve taken the time to learn about your prospect, and turns a cold call slightly warmer. This also gives your prospect a chance to look at your profile before responding, which can help eliminate some early questions.
Aside from learning about your contact, take the time to learn a little about the company. This will help you to better identify their potential pain points and how you can provide the solution. Part of this research will also illuminate their target markets and buying cycles, so you can make sure you’re calling them at the right time.
Sales is a business of rejection. Even the most optimistic of ratios would have you hearing a “no” at least half the time. When several of those rejections come consecutively (especially on the same day), it’s easy to let it get you down. But each new call or email is potentially the streak-breaker. Even though you’re not face-to-face with your prospect, your mood impacts your tone of voice on the phone and your word selection in emails. Negativity breeds negativity, and having a positive outlook each and every time you reach out is critical.
Part of this attitude is not just a belief in yourself, but a belief in what you’re selling. You have to know your products inside and out. Additionally, you have to know your competition inside and out. How can you be expected to solve your prospect’s problems if you don’t fully understand how your product provides the solution? Knowledge is power, and that power brings a confidence which is perceptible to anyone hearing your pitch. Your prospect will quickly understand that you firmly grasp the challenges they’re facing, and will trust that you can provide a solution.
It should take you at least five “no” answers in a conversation before you actually take no for an answer. Think of it this way. If for every 100 people that tell you “no” the first time, you get 10 to change their mind to a “maybe,” that’s 10 more detailed pitches you get to make. From those 10 pitches, if two of them decide to turn their “maybe” into a “yes,” that’s two more sales than you had before just by not giving up. The other 98 rejections were rejections the first time they said “no,” so you haven’t lost anything. Each time you hear a “no,” ask for a reason. If you’ve done your research and know your prospect and product like described above, you should be able to counter their “no” with a valid reason why they should hear you out.
Part of persistence is also a dogged determination to keep grinding. It’s simple math: regardless of your closing percentage, you’ll sell more by making 100 calls than you will by making 10. The constant rejection can wear you down, but if you follow the RAP guidelines, you’ll have better targets, a better attitude and a determination to turn “no” into “yes” that will carry you to better sales.