100 Sales Tips
Below you'll find 100 Sales Tips I've learned over the years.
Some of them will be in the form of quotes.
Feel free to add your own advice at the bottom of the page.
The 100 Sales Tips
- Always ask plenty of questions, you will build a better relationship and may find more opportunities
- Listen more than you speak.
“You have two ears and one mouth” Bob Willis … This quote is attributed to Epictetus, a Greek philosopher Listening gives you an understanding of the customer's needs and then you can customize a solution.
“Sometimes the most influential thing we can do is listen.“ – Bob Burg …
- “Sales is the hardest job in the world if you try to work it easy but the easiest job in the world if you work it hard” (heard this from my first sales manager)
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them” – Ann Landers …
“There’s No Lotion Or Potion That Will Make Sales Faster And Easier For You – Unless Your Potion Is Hard Work.” – Jeffery Gitomer
- Always look for better and faster ways to do your job, sell and serve your customers.
- Accept responsibility. Don't blame others, the economy or the environment.
In the words from the movie “Wedding Crashers” “Rule #76: No excuses . . . Play like a champion!”
“I’m not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey
- Sales is not a 9-5 job. Sometimes you have to start early and finish late. It’s about getting the job done.
“Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” -Sam Levenson
- Plan, Plan, Plan! The more you plan, the more chance you have to succeed.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” Benjamin Franklin (requited many times since)
- Develop your sales skills. Read books, listen to audios, watch videos online about selling and attend sales training. Long term it will pay big dividends.
- Make sure you know who the decision maker actually is.
- You should be good at starting things, but even better at finishing them if you want to be successful in sales.
- The No. 1 key to success in today's sales environment is speed. The salesperson who delivers the most valuable information to their customer or prospect first, wins the sale.
- Don't forget your ABC's - NOT Always Be Closing, BUT “Always be Caring” after all
“they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” usually attributed to Zig Ziglar but actually from Teddy Roosevelt.
“Always Be Helping” is another motto to live by.
- Have quiet time to escape from everything, stop, and think about new opportunities and ways to do your job better. It could be a 5 minute walk, a coffee break, something that takes you away from work.
- Customers objections are not to be feared, embrace them and see them as buying signals, the customer is only looking for reassurance.
- “Have you ever played the follow-up game? Before you leave a meeting, make sure you and the prospect have a clear next step. This step must be actionable and measurable.” Bryan Kreuzberger
- "It’s amazing how many sales reps fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to leaving voicemails. You’ve got to be prepared prior to picking up the phone. Why not try rehearsing your message or listening to it beforehand?" - Michael Pedone
- "The trust that a customer has in your company and in you strongly outweighs the techniques you use to sell. Building trust is better than any sales technique." - Mike Puglia
- Enjoy what you're doing, whether it's cold calling, meetings or even asking for the close, make it enjoyable for you and your customer. And you'll be more likely to succeed.
"You are in sales for fun and for profit, if you are not getting both you are doing it wrong" - Bob, my first sales manager
- Remember the Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 Rule). 80% of our business comes from 20% of our customer base. (Sometimes it's more like 90/10)
- Focus first on existing business. How to keep it and grow it. Most lost business happens as a result of neglect. It's 5 -6 times harder to sell to a new customer than to sell more to an existing customer
- Join LinkedIn groups.
"You are 70 percent more likely to get an appointment with someone on an unexpected sales call if you cite a common LinkedIn group than if you don’t." - Steve Richard
- The most common problem in sales can be "time". Make sure you are managing your time effectively. Ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time right now?”
- Smile and dial! Not only does smiling make you sound better on the phone, it's also a great tip to keep making calls.
- Target the right time to call your clients. Directors won't be available 10:00 - 16:00, but between 07:00-09:00 and 16:00-18:00 they are more likely to talk to you.
- “Selje” is the word that “sales” came from and it means “to serve”
Don't see yourself selling as much as you do serving but also know that a sale must be consummated in order to truly serve your customer. Salesmanship is about serving your customers needs even after the deal is done.
- “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want” Zig Ziglar
- If you don’t know the answer, do not guess. Be honest and use it as an opportunity to show your reliability by saying that you will find out and DO get back to them.
It’s better to give a good answer later than a bad answer now.
- You can always be better. Sales is an art, not a science. Which means it’s never perfect and can always improve. (Actually I believe it's a skill and as such needs to be practiced continually just like the Olympians do)
- Know your client. Make sure to research your potential clients, know their challenges and their needs. One size hardly ever fits all, and you look much stronger if you care about the business enough to invest in the research. This was also a strong point made in SPIN Selling.
- Make sure you are completely convinced that your products and services hold more value than the money you charge for them.
- You need to be an excellent communicator and be able to focus your communication on getting the deal closed.
- Be inspired by failure, know that failure can be the inspiration for innovation.
It is rumoured that Enzo Ferrari had a number of miniature car models on display in his office. The models were of the Ferrari cars he considered a failure.
- Always deliver more than you promise. Customers want sales people they can trust, and if you don't deliver on what you say you will, how can they trust you?
- First impressions are formed quickly but last a long time. Make sure yours is a good one. The best salespeople are aware of the importance of the image they present to clients. Invest in the way you look. You don’t want to be perceived as just another rep!
- Spend 5 minutes a day prioritizing. Without prioritization, it's difficult to be efficient and productive. It’s important that you spend time on activities that will effect results over those that won't. You should never be busy, you should only ever be productive.
- Prospecting never ends, you should always be looking for new customers. Try and set key prospecting times each day, and goals for how many new prospects you want to get.
- "Sales is not about selling anymore but building trust and educating." - Siva Devaki
- You have to ASK questions. Ask the right questions (and listen) and the prospect will tell you what they want and how they need to be sold.
- Don’t just launch into discussing the features of your products and services. Features never sold anyone. Speak in terms of benefits and your prospect will be more pre-disposed to listening to your presentation. As the book title says “Sell Futures, Not Features” … In sales you sell the potential, not the item.
- Be like Vinny … Vinny was the salesman I followed. He had retired 3 years earlier and the company had waited to replace him because the market was in a downturn. Just about every one of his old customers I contacted opened with the phrase "How's Vinny?" and immediately changed to a happy state. He was universally liked and TRUSTED.
- Have the right attitude. The best salespeople think positively. Beware of negative thoughts. Thoughts like, "I could never do that" and "What if I fail?" can seriously impact the way you behave.
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude." -Zig Ziglar
- Don’t use high pressure selling techniques on your customers. They don’t work. Treat your customers as you would want to be treated.
- Develop your own style of selling so that you can be relaxed, while still being professional. Be Yourself.
- Never sell anything to a customer that they don’t need, or can’t afford.
- Set yourself goals. Make them SMART goals. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time- bound.
- Find a mentor, someone who is already successful, (either in your organisation, or elsewhere), someone you can talk to and who can give you the benefit of their experience.
- Get the right balance between work and the rest of your life. Take care of your health, fitness and relationships
- Look at your best customers. What do they have in common? Why do they buy from you? What problems do you solve for them? Ask yourself, who else could benefit from this?
- Learn to control your state.
- Fire poor prospects. They waste your time. And even if you get their business it’ll be torture.
- Don’t worry about closing techniques. The only close I use is the direct close. At the appropriate time I ask: “Would you like to go ahead?” There are only 3 answers. Yes, no, or maybe. The worst response most people think it's "no", I think there's a good case to say the worst case is "Maybe" ... "Don't Sell in the Close. Close After You've Sold."
- Don’t worry about being liked. If you have a good working relationship with your customers it can handle a bit of conflict from time to time.
- I suggest building rapport unconsciously [link to page ... not sales rapport]. There is far less chan ce of you being called out with it compared to the "finding commin ground" approach.
- Ask open ended questions early on in the meeting. Examples of open questions: How did you first hear about us? What made you decide to invest in a Personal Pension? Tell me, what is the best time for us to call and see you? Who else would benefit from being at our meeting?
- When asking for the appointment, ask for a specific time and day. This way you are in control of your diary. Go for an early appointment. This frees up time in your diary for later in the day
- Top salespeople measure everything. If it can’t be measured it can’t be managed.
- Take notes … it often a good idea to ask if you can first ... I remember a story
I was in a sales meeting with the Technical Director of my biggest customer.
I was taking some notes on our conversation and he asked ...
"I don't know why you bother to take notes. If I ask a question about something we discussed 3 years ago, you remember it?"
I thought for a while and replied,
"Maybe I remember because I write it down?"
- Lead times. Understand that sales activity today will generally lead to results in weeks or even months ahead. Even when you are doing well you need to be planning for future results.
- When people buy things they have buying criteria. Usually there are 2 or 3 reasons for buying which are really important. Think about major purchases you have made in your life. What were the really important issues that influenced your decision to buy? These are your buying criteria.
- Embrace and adopt technology that will help advance the sales process.
It could be through social selling, CRM's, mobile or wearable tech, look into tools that could help you sell more…. maybe even AI ?. Use the internet. Find out about your clients future plans. Keep up with technology. It’s the way the world is going. Garbage data in, garbage results out.
"Whether you do inbound or outbound marketing, the quality of your database and lists has a huge impact on your results." - Brian Carroll
- Every agreement needs a WRITTEN confirmation
- Learn to say “No” … politely
- Remember to send thank you notes … preferably hand written
- Use continuation questions such as “How so?” “Can you give me an example of that?” “Please elaborate” etc to get to the core of your prospect’s needs!
- Watch yourself on video tape. It’s a great way to improve your skills!
- Use a mirror by your phone. What you see is what your prospect gets. You know smiles can be “heard” the same way a poor disposition can be.
- The next time someone tells you your price is too high, don’t ask, “how much?” right off the bat. Have them put the higher price into a context by asking “Compared to what?” Sometimes you will hear “I’m not sure, it just seems high” Gives you something easier to fight and buys you a few extra seconds to lose that “Oh crap!” feeling.
- Avoid saying “Yes, but” … Swap out the word "but" for "and" to sound like you’re agreeing with your prospect and take them off the defensive … Agreement Frame
- Don’t ever lie, ...
Jim Keenan says: “As a salesperson, truth is your greatest asset, because it builds trust.”
- Picture yourself sitting on the same side of table as your prospect, which’ll help you maintain a friendly and helpful attitude. I went one step further on a big sale I made.
- The customer is NOT always right BUT they are always the customer and should be treated with respect.
- Defer to a buyer's communication preferences: If they’d clearly rather email than call (or vice versa), then go with it.
- Curiosity may have killed the cat but it’s a blessing for a salesperson.
If you’re genuinely curious, you’ll have better results, says sales and management trainer and co-author of Your Successful Sales Career Len Fowley: “Get fascinated with your prospect.”
“When reps take the role of a curious student rather than an informed expert, buyers are much more inclined to engage.” – Jeff Hoffman
- "Salespeople today ARE the differentiator. That’s why it’s so critical for you to focus on becoming a value to your customers." - Jill Konrath
- “The Bitterness of Poor Quality is Remembered Long After the Sweetness of Low Price has faded from memory” - Aldo Gucci
- "Search on www.yougotthenews.com prior to any sales call or meeting to scour thousands of local and national news and business publications. Find an article about the other person and his/her company that you can reference, so you can ensure relevancy and get the other person talking about him/herself." - Sam Richter
- The longer your presentation lasts, the less impact you have.
“If you can’t strike oil in 10 minutes stop boring” - Louis Nizer
- Acting overly enthusiastic doesn’t work, so limit your use of words like “awesome!”, “fantastic!”, and “amazing!” (While you’re at it, skip the exclamation marks as well).
- Some people say sales is about luck … I agree … and I found the harder I worked the luckier I got.
- Never bad mouth your competitors
- Most of what gets given away in negotiation is given away in the last 5% of the time. Be careful during the closing stages.
- Never call a prospect without a valid reason FOR THEM.
- Ask for the order.
70% of salespeople don’t ask for an order, or commitment.
Is the teller at the supermarket worried or do they just ask “cash or credit card?”
After all what’s the worst thing that can happen?
“Timid Salesmen Have Skinny Kids.” – Zig Ziglar
- "When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are." - Oprah Winfrey
- "No matter how many customers you have, each is an individual. The day you start thinking of them as this amorphous ‘collection’ and stop thinking of them as people is the day you start going out of business." -Dharmesh Shah
- “To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.” – Patricia Fripp
“Great salespeople are relationship builders who provide value and help their customers win.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
- “Practice is just as valuable as a sale.
The sale will make you a living; the skill will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
“I never lose. I either win or learn.” – Nelson Mandela
- Accept rejection. It is very frustrating, but is a part of selling. Keep a thick skin about rejection, it is inevitable but through those rejections may be opportunities. Not every prospect will convert into a sale. Learn from rejections, refine your approach, and move forward with resilience
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.“ – John Wooden
“Don’t Worry About Failures, Worry About The Chances You Miss When You Don’t Even Try.” – Jack Canfield
- Sell the appointment.
Don’t say that you are in the area next week and would like to pop in for half an hour. These people are busy. What have you got to talk about? Is it worth 30 minutes of their valuable time? What’s in it for them?
- “The best salespeople wonder what it would be like to be in the other person’s shoes. They know they can’t play that game unless they continually strive to train themselves in how we as human beings communicate.” – Bob Phibb
- Stay motivated … keep moving forward.
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.”
“Motivation Is What Gets You Started. Habit Is What Keeps You Going.” – Jim Rohn
- Know your customers customer, the more you know about the businesses you work with the better.
- The modern sales person doubles as an information concierge, there is an overwhelming amount t of information on the Internet your job is providing the right information to the right person at the right time.
- Research your customers before hand, save time asking questions you could answer yourself. … [link to spin selling]
- Have a way of keeping track of your promises and follow ups it may be a CRM but if not you should have your own system through your own system.
Personally, I had 17 manilla folders labelled with the month and weeks 1 to 5. When I needed to follow up with a customer I’d put a hand written note into the relevant month. The week before that month started I’d look in that file and sort out the “to dos” into week 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. This also allowed me the spread my workload.
- Follow-up and follow-through are keys to prospecting success. Just like gardening, if you don’t water the seeds, the garden will languish.
- You should be devoted to being in your absolute best physical and mental condition. If you come into work tired or in any way in poor form, it will affect your ability to sell. Gandhi emphasized : "A person cannot do right in one department of his life whilst attempting to do wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole. "
- Listening is an important skill in selling. Practice your listening skills. Use a range of verbal and non-verbal techniques. Show you are interested, do not interrupt.
- Confirm the appointment by e-mail. Remind them about the reason for the appointment and send an agenda for the meeting if appropriate
- Set objectives for the meeting that are ambitious, but realistic. Have more than one objective. “If I don’t make a sale, what else could I achieve from the meeting?” SPIN Selling talks about making an Advance .,. where there is a buyer agreement on an action that moves the sales forward
Feel free to add a sales tip you think is important
Do you have a sales tip that could help some other salespeople?
Perhaps learned from your own experience or passed on by a mentor?