Steve Jobs was perhaps the greatest entrepreneur of our times. He was also the greatest salesperson ever – without his ability to sell Apple and its products, right from the very first Apple computer, the Apple I in 1976, to the iPhone in 2007, Apple would never have been the BIG success story that it is today.
When you are starting a new business, you will need to master the process of doing sales. But not everyone can succeed at sales. To succeed at sales, you need more than just blind luck or even a great product. You will need to put a lot of effort behind your sales efforts and have a strong commitment to excellence.
In the modern era, most of the things we do in business can be automated and performed using technology, but not sales. Sales require real people skills that are hard to get. Not everyone can be a great salesperson. If you are looking to hire new employees to your sales team, here are some of the characteristics that you should look for in them.
They should be persistent – It requires a lot of persistence for someone who sells products or services for a living. There are always obstacles and barriers along the way. The people who are most successful at sales don’t get perturbed by such difficulties. They persist, nonetheless, with their sales efforts. They never give up and are always on a lookout for new solutions.
They set goals and stick to them – The best salespersons are those who set specific, achievable and challenging goals within a fixed timeframe. They then do everything possible to achieve those goals and take positive action for the same.
They ask great questions – The best salespersons are those who ask their clients quality questions to fully understand their needs. They take into consideration the customer’s goals and objectives as well as desires and concerns. This allows them to sell the product more effectively.
They listen – The most successful sales people are those who listen to their customers. They ask questions and listen carefully to answers. They talk only when needed to, and do not just say anything that is on the top of their mind. ‘
They are passionate – The greatest salespersons are those who are passionate about what they do. They love their job and are willing to go the extra distance to succeed. They are always enthusiastic, even in hard times, and their positivity is contagious.
They take responsibility for their results – The most successful sales people are those who do not offer excuses, but take responsibility for their results. They don’t blame any internal problems, competition or the tough economy. They do everything possible to meet their sales quota.
They work hard – As you would expect, a good sales person is prepared to work hard to achieve the right results. They don’t wait for business to come to them, they go after the business. They make calls, give sales presentations and look for prospects all the time.
They keep in touch with their clients – The most successful salespersons are those who stay in touch with their clients. They use a variety of approaches to thank their clients for their business and to push them into doing more business with them, such as birthday cards, thank you messages and so on.
They focus on value, not on the price – Successful salespersons are those who turn the attention of the customer or client on the value of the product, not on its price. They realize that price is an important factor, but it’s very rarely the only consideration made by a customer. So they focus on explaining to the customer how the product or service fulfills a need or solves a problem.
Such salespersons are worth their weight in gold. If you can find them, do everything to hire them for your business and offer every possible incentive to hold on to them.
Let’s talk a bit more about the process of doing sales.
To achieve success in sales, you need to develop a system that works for you. There are 7 steps involved in any sales process. Let’s take a look at them.
Step 1: Introduce Yourself, and Listen
Sales is not about you – the salesperson – it’s about the customer. What you need to find out is if the customer truly cares and appreciates the products or services that you are selling to them. The only way to find out what the customer is thinking is to listen to him or her. The more you listen, the better your response will be. The idea is to give the customer what they want and to appeal to them in a way they would appreciate.
Step 2: Explain why the product or service matters to the Customer
Learn about the product or the service. Explain to the customer why it should matter to them. How it solves a problem or fulfills a need. Don’t just assume that the customer would care about the product. The customer has a busy life – with deadlines and things to be done. The last thing you want to do is for the customer to feel that you are wasting their time. So explain to them how the product or service that you are selling them can help them, in any way or manner that you can think of. Why should they care enough to listen to you pitch the product or service to them? Focus only on those aspects of the product or the service that are relevant to the customer.
Step 3: Get a Confirmation, And Then Explain the Details
Get some sort of an assurance from the customer that you are on the right track with them. If there’s absolutely no chance of the customer buying the product, there’s no point in spending your precious energy on them. Once the customer expresses an initial interest, find out if they have any additional concerns or considerations about the product. Listen to your customer very carefully. Explain the details of the product to them in a way that is more likely to address their concerns. Engage the customer and keep them involved while making your presentation to them
Step 4: Prove Your Credibility
Ultimately, sales is about trust. No one would buy something from a salesperson that they don’t trust. So your focus should be on earning your customer’s trust. You can earn their trust by using white papers and case studies to explain the merits of the product, as well as to give its detailed specifications. If there are no documents or materials that can back up the product with supporting evidence, make sure to demonstrate your credibility by making a promise and sticking to it at all cost. Never take anything for granted. As a young entrepreneur, you should motivate your sales team to earn the trust of all customers through their actions and commitments.
Step 5: What Next?
It’s not enough to earn the customer’s commitment for the sale. You should do much more than just provide a price to the customer- you should give them the details on how to complete the sales transaction and about how to access the after-sales service. If the customer is required to take some kind of an action before and after the purchase, be sure to explain what needs to be done in detail. Stick to the facts and be detailed with your instructions. Make sure that there’s no confusion at any stage. Educate the customer and make sure that the sales process is completed with any sort of hassle or inconvenience to the customer.
Step 6: Follow Up
You will need to follow up on the sales process for as long as it takes till the payment is received and the product and service is fully delivered. If there’s any installation or registration that needs to be done, be sure to do that keeping in mind the customer’s schedule. Maintain a continuous conversation with the customer and keep them apprised of every stage in the development.
Step 7: Complete the Sale
Stop promoting the product after a while, once you feel you have made your point adequately enough and ask the customer to purchase the product. There’s no point in going on and on about the product and to get too caught up in the promotions. Once the customer has decided to buy, push them to complete the purchase, stop talking about the product.
These are the 7 steps that are integral to any sales process. You will find a plenty of great information on sales, finding business partners, finding investors and everything you need to know about starting your own business at Liverix.com. Use our network to your advantage. We wish you great success with your new business.