Nov 3, 2007

Seven Keys To Selling Success

Are you a salesperson who desires to overachieve your quota? Or, are you an entrepreneur seeking ways to improve your percentage of sales success?

Here are the seven keys to sales success that will ensure you will blow your quota away year after year:

1. Double your GOAL. Have a planned quota or goal to achieve? Now double it. Set your goal as double or triple whatever your boss told you to sell. People tend to miss their own goals - on average, they only hit about 80% of the goal. Therefore, your goal needs to be higher than your manager's goal for you. If you are in business for yourself, take your sales goal that you know you need to sell to make money, and triple it. Strive for that goal, rather than the break-even goal. You're in business to make money, not lose it, right?

2. Deliver what you promise. There is something known as "vaporware" in the software industry. It refers to selling something that doesn't exist. If you're selling "vaporware" your customers won't buy again - and they won't refer you to anyone else. That will spell doom for your business. Sell something real, something you know you can deliver, and sell it honestly. You'll build customers for life.

3. Offer what you can deliver right now. Don't sell futures. Many companies make the mistake of selling the product they're announcing next year. Well, is that going to put money in your pocket today? Probably not. Sell what you have. It will keep the cash flow coming in.

4. Build relationships, not orders. Many managers are always focused on the order. What are you forecasting this month? Which order will close? Etc. It's all about the numbers. But what brings in the order is building a relationship, first. If the relationship is in place, when the order is needed it will be easier to ask for. Believe me. If you ask for the order but haven't earned it, you will lose respect. And respect is a salesperson's #1 sign of credibility. Focus on your customer's needs, and problems they are trying to solve. Then figure out ways to solve those problems with your company resources. You'll get more orders, you'll determine new services and products you might sell, and you'll build a relationship that will provide numbers for longer than alternative approaches.

Network DEEP and WIDE. Build relationships 4x4 = Pick four departments which you absolutely must penetrate in order to grow sales with a company, then get to know four people in those departments really well. Don't worry about selling them, at first, just build a relationship. As each of these sixteen learn to trust you over time, they will send business your way because they will know you offer real solutions to their needs.

5. Use REFERRAL-BASED SELLING. As you meet one person, always ask if there are one or two other people who rely on them for advice and who could possibly use your product or service. Often, people won't say anything at first. But when you say, well, if not in your company, how about another company outside your industry (the people they know are usually in related industries)... at this point, they'll usually come up with two or three names more easily. Follow through with these people immediately, and report back to the original person the progress you made. This lets them know you valued their advice and used your network wisely. This is the single most useful selling "trick" anyone ever taught me. Networking. It's not who you know, but who you know who knows who.

6. Keep some in reserve. I used to have a Director of Sales who jokes "you open the cage, throw in some meat, and slam the door back shut before the lion bites the hand that fed it!" Well, it is important to "feed the lions." And yes, the lions DO have a "what have you done for me lately attitude" even when they're smiling and patting you on the back for your stellar month. When you have orders coming in like crazy, stall the booking of orders where you can do so without losing credibility. (Yep, sandbagging is a form of job-protection.) The reason you should do this is to always have some left in case of a rainy day. Don't lose the customer or the order, just make sure that you always have a slab of meat to throw in the lion's cage at the end of each month. This keeps the lions happy.

7. Spend your time wisely. First, how much time are you in the office versus in front of customers? The salespeople who are in front of customers the most learn the most, and sell the most. A key to keeping fresh over the long run is to remember that your customer is not just a friend. They're supposed to buy something, at some point... if they're off the path for your success, spend your time elsewhere for a while. Sometimes, people get so focused on the business plan, writing the perfect email, or spending time in the relationships where they feel comfortable they forget to make to meet new people or they forget to make the sale.

Again, in summary:

1. Work your plan - double your manager's goals for you, or double your sales figures.

2. Deliver what you promise.

3. Offer what you can deliver today.

4. Build relationships, not orders. Build 4x4 relationships.

5. Use your network. Keep people informed. Use referral-based selling. A warm call is almost always better than a cold call.

6. Keep some in reserve.

7. Spend time wisely. Time is our biggest resource -- and our smallest. Use it well and make the sell.

Follow these seven keys and watch your funnel grow.


Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com, visit, or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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