10 Strategies for Improving Your Selling

By Tom Hopkins

When you attain a certain level of professionalism, you’ll be selling more. This increase in sales is a culmination of a lot of things: You’re figuring out how to find the best people to sell to, you’re qualifying those people quickly and smoothly, you’re recognizing buying signs, and, most importantly, you’re enjoying it all. Check out these tips to get started on your rise to that fun level of professionalism.

Prepare yourself

Prepare yourself both mentally and physically for the challenge of persuading others. Dress appropriately. Give yourself an attitude check. Clear your mind of everything except what you need to think about while you’re connecting with the client. Within a few hours of meeting with your potential client, review any notes or information that may be vital. Doing your homework will help you pass the test every time.

Make a good first impression

You won’t hear too many winning stories about people who overcame bad first impressions to go on to land a major account or persuade an important person to their way of thinking. Going in confidently and handling the initial rapport-setting stage properly go a long way toward closing a sale or landing a new client.

Make a good first impression with everyone you encounter in a potential client’s company, not just the decision-maker. A time may come when you need the assistance of someone else in that company and you want her to think kindly of you because she, too, sees how professional you are.

Quickly determine whether you can help your client

By asking a few simple questions, you can determine quickly whether your product or service is right for the people you’re meeting and whether or not they have the means to own it. By doing this, you maximize your efforts by continuing presentations only with people who are prepared to make decisions. Making a quick determination also shows the other person the courtesy of not wanting to waste her time with a presentation that’s of no benefit to her.

Give every presentation 110 percent

Never sell a prospect short. In doing so, you show a lack of respect toward her, which will eventually become clear — and when it does, you’ll probably lose whatever credibility you had with her. Don’t take shortcuts either — drop a step and you may lose a sale.

By making every presentation as though it’s the most important thing in your life at that moment, you show the decision makers that you’re sincere about their needs and that they’re important to you. Generally, people are whatever you expect them to be. So expect your prospects to be vital to your overall success — not just in business but in life too — and treat them with the proper amount of respect. This approach will take you far.

Address concerns completely

If and when your prospect voices a concern about something, don’t ever glide over or minimize it. Let it stop you momentarily. Think about what was said and what you may have said or done to trigger the comment. Then carefully and thoughtfully address the concern: “What I understand from your comment, Ms. Friedman, is that you’re concerned about the size of the trunk in your new vehicle; is that correct?” If it is, you’d better find out what Ms. Friedman expects to put into it. And if it’s a critical point, find the right vehicle for her based on the trunk size.

Confirm everything

Miscommunication costs people loads of money, time, and effort every year. Missed appointments, flights, or phone calls can destroy in minutes what may have taken months to build. Inattention to details, improperly handled orders, and having the wrong people handling important tasks takes its toll as well. Taking just a few seconds to confirm (and reconfirm) everything will bring you more success.

Never fear re-stating the details to your clients. They won’t think you’re brain damaged. Rather they’ll appreciate the clarity it brings to what they’ve agreed to.

Ask for the decision

You have nothing to lose by asking a prospect for a decision. If she’s not ready to make a decision and that’s what you find out by asking, great. But if she is ready and you don’t ask, you lose everything. If you truly believe in the good of what you’re doing, you should have no challenge asking the other party to commit her time, effort, or money to your cause or for your product or service.

Hesitation is an indication of doubt — and you should never be the one having doubts when you’re in the persuader’s seat.

Tell your clients about others

Few people want to be guinea pigs. They don’t want to be the first to try something — they want to know that others have preceded them. By sharing experiences you’ve had with others just like them — others who invested in your product, currently enjoy your service, or are committed to the same project — you give your buyers permission to be like those others and invest in what you’re selling. They’ll recognize the landscape and understand that they’re not going into uncharted waters. Overcoming their fears will take you far in convincing or persuading people, especially if you can use examples of people they know.

Constantly work at selling

The most successful people in the world rarely take time off from what they do to be successful. This doesn’t mean that you should become a workaholic, but you can certainly think about new strategies, new ideas, and new people to contact even when you’re lying on a beach in the Bahamas for a well-deserved rest. By living and breathing what you believe in the most, the best new ideas will be drawn to you. You’ll constantly have your success antenna up and tuning in to the best information for you.

Be a product of the product

If you believe in what you’re doing, you must personally be a part of it. If you’re selling Fords, you don’t want to be seen driving a Chevy. If you sell home security systems, you’d better have one in your home. If you market freelance graphic design, your business cards had better be creative.

In some instances you won’t be able to own or use the product, such as when selling large-scale equipment or services to businesses. If that’s your situation, become the best expert you can be on not only what the product does, but the benefits it has provided to other clients.

If you can talk personally about your own experiences with your product, service, or idea, you’ll win over a lot more people than if you can’t.