According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 13 million Americans were recently reported as having a profession directly related to sales. Naturally, an industry this large—one that is quite often entirely dependent on generating commissions over time—is one that is sure to be highly competitive. There are many different variables separating those who are able to succeed in sales and those who are not. If you hope to be successful, it is incredibly important to develop an effective sales strategy.
The sales strategy that will be best for you will depend on your experience, your current network, the industry you operate in, and what you hope to accomplish. In an industry that moves and changes as quickly as sales, you may need to adjust your approach over time. Though there will still be many variables that need to be accounted for, these simple tips can hopefully help you begin moving in a more productive direction.
Specify what you are hoping to accomplish
Contrary to popular belief, developing an effective mission statement isn’t something that should only be done by large organizations. Mission statements can also be effectively developed and employed by individuals (such as salespeople) who are operating on their own.
A mission statement is a formal declaration of what you value and what you hope to accomplish. Many of the most effective mission statements are developed using the “S.M.A.R.T. Goal” Method.
- Specific: your mission statement should declare exactly what you are hoping to do and not just utilize general buzzwords.
- Measurable: whatever it is you hope to accomplish, this accomplishment should be something you can tangibly quantify (sales, contacts, revenues, etc.). This way, it will be much easier to make adjustments over time.
- Achievable: instead of aiming to be the greatest salesman in history, it will be much more productive to simply try to be a better version of your current self.
- Relevant: your mission statement needs to be directly related to what you are doing on a day-to-day basis.
- Time-Bound: in order to expedite results, it is usually best to work within a very specific timeframe.
By keeping these things in mind, you should be able to develop a mission statement that can help you immediately begin to move forward to improve your sales skills.
Know your industry and your product
In many ways, trying to make a sale is like trying to win an argument. As a salesperson, the burden of proof rests on your side and you must prove to your potential customers that the value you can offer is greater than the cost. Traditionally, the three most important components of an argument are referred to as ethos, pathos, and logos.
While pathos attempts to appeal to emotion and logos attempts to appeal to logic, ethos seeks to utilize the credibility of a speaker. In essence, when each of these components of an argument are effectively employed, they will fundamentally strengthen the others. In order to improve your selling ability, you should try to develop your ethos by knowing as much about your industry and product as you possibly can.
Doing things such as taking night classes, continually reading literature related to what you are selling, and attending major conferences can help you learn more and increase your credibility over time. Additionally, you may want to consider establishing a personal website, blog, or periodic newsletter. This way, you can become publicly recognized as a source of authority in your industry and be able to share your knowledge with others.
Make yourself as accessible as possible
In order to increase your monthly sales totals, you will also want to deliberately focus on increasing your accessibility. You should always assume that no potential customer will want to make a final decision unless making that decision will directly benefit them and is also something they can easily do. If you distance yourself from the public, making sales will ultimately be much more difficult.
Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to increase your level of public accessibility.
- Develop a website that is also connected to various social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Always have a set of business cards you can distribute to new people that you meet
- Add your name to various indexes, directories, or internet communities
- Offer periodic newsletters or other deliverables that remind potential clients that you are committed to your profession
- Continue expanding your network in every way that you feasibly can
In general, being accessible means that if someone were to suddenly desire your services, they would be able to access these services as soon as feasibly possible.
Develop an effective daily routine
Because the sales cycle is something that often comes in waves—particularly for real estate agents and other individuals reliant on making large sales all at once—it is important to try to establish an at least somewhat consistent daily routine. By having a reliable daily routine, all elements of your sales operation can be appropriately addressed and you can also establish a greater sense of stability.
The routine that will be best for you will obviously depend on the dynamics of your position. But in general, the daily routine of a salesperson might include things such as responding to all emails, making a specific number of phone calls, recording the status of specific accounts, updating your website or creating original content, and organizing all of your recent activity in a way that is quantifiably useful. Sales is a numbers game and if you can consistently do these things, you will be continually making progress.
Be patient and willing to change
No matter what industry you may be operating in, if you are a salesperson, it is incredibly important to realize the virtue of patience. Though you may be very eager to be breaking sales records within the first few months of operating—and having a strong level of ambition is certainly a good thing—many of your closing sales will likely not come to fruition until the very distant future.
To put it simply, a salesperson is someone who should always be focused on building bridges rather than burning them. There should never be one person you are counting on to help you reach your monthly goals, rather, there should be many people who may make a purchase by the end of the month. This helps reduce the pressure that is being generated by closing on a single account.
A good salesperson will also be willing to change over time. You should make a consistent effort to monitor industry trends and develop a hypothesis for why things have been changing in a specific way. If you are able to do this effectively, you will be ahead of the curve and positioned to succeed. Though being a salesperson is not always easy, there are certainly some changes you could easily begin to make.