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Six (Tactical) Sales Tips On How To Be a Great Salesperson

This week on Facebook, one of my friends posted about how she hates it when people call her EVERY day to follow up and “make sure that she got their message.” It got me thinking that there are some basic tips for being an effective salesperson that some people just don’t know.

I am a very good salesperson. I am also usually rather humble about myself, so when I make a bold statement like this, it has to be based on facts like these:

·       Early on in my career, I almost single-handedly developed a merchandising program around a proprietary art brand, Special Delivery, which celebrated the babies born on the eve of the new millennium.

·       I spent nearly two years selling in global brands for Burger King’s international kids’ meal program, a role which required me to obtain consensus from five regional managers all of whose audiences (and their preferences) differed tremendously.

·       While at PPW, I exceeded my “non-recession-adjusted” sales goal for four years running.

I am generally pretty good at what I do… So, I thought it might be helpful to share some tactical tips on how to be a more efficient, reliable and effective salesperson.

1.       Employ a CRM – One of the most important things for a good salesperson is having a database in which to keep track of interactions with each potential customer. I have been using a CRM for at least 8 years now and don’t know how I ever lived without one. There are a number of cloud-based CRMs you can use like Salesforce or ZoHo or you can go with a network-based system like ACT!

2.       Request a conference call or demo – Now that you have a place to record all of your activities, you are ready to get to work. I find that emailing a new prospective customer to request a conference call or demo is the best way to break the ice. If you just call, you risk catching them at a bad time and possibly even causing irritation. And when you start with an email, you are able to answer any initial questions or supply information they might need in advance.

3.       Space calls out – If you don’t get an immediate response to your first request, I would recommend spacing out your follow up calls. They say it takes seven attempts to get a prospective customer to respond to a cold call but I would hazard against making those seven attempts on seven consecutive days! I generally like to call or email once a week or even once every couple of weeks if you have already left a few messages. Unlike an apple, a message a day is usually a bad thing!

4.       Be prompt – Once you finally have the call scheduled, you want to make sure that you are prompt. It tells the customer that you value their time as much as they do. It also shows them respect and responsibility. If you are unable to call at the appointed time, always call or email to let them know why you are running late.

5.       Say thank you – At the end of the call, be sure to remember to thank the prospective customer for their time and consideration. Even if they aren’t making a purchase.  You never know when you will meet this person again, to whom they can refer you or where they are going to be next in their career. Even if you get a resounding “No, thanks!” it always pays to be polite and appreciative.

6.       Follow up as requested or promised – After the call has been completed, make sure to do any follow-up activities that were promised. If you said that you would send materials, make sure to send them. If you agreed to check back in three weeks, make a note in your CRM to do so. If you agreed to see them at the next big trade show, add them to your target meeting list now.

 

Maria Bertrand