In a world with endless information at our fingertips and more product options that we know what to do with, sales professionals are up against more than just the competition.
Today’s buyers aren’t just looking for the best product. They want the best product, the best customer experience, an accessible and personal company, a relationship and value add. It’s our ability to meet these expectations that separates us from the competition.
Here are five rules every young professional should follow to stay on top of the competition:
1. Be Relentless With Relationships
We talk a lot about the benefits of relationships in sales; that’s because relationships is the most powerful tool we have. Research echoes this statement with sales professionals across North America repeatedly naming relationships as the most important piece of sales success.
It costs companies more than five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. Understanding the value of building a relationship with your customers and turning them into both repeat buyers and spokespeople for your company can be the difference between blowing and closing a business deal.
Being relentless with relationships is about working with a sales model that not only values relationships but also makes it a priority.
2. Establish Both Authority & Influence
Authority is the best way to establish trust from your customers and prospective clients. Being an authority or subject matter expert is an effective way to gain the trust and confidence of those who do, or will do, business with us. We can demonstrate our knowledge and expertise by being intentioned with the information we share with the public. When you become an authority on a subject or product, your clients and prospects will think and speak highly of you and recommend your product to those who trust their advice.
Start by leveraging someone else’s authority by engaging with their content and promoting it within your network. Comment to blogs, share posts and tweets and align your expertise with theirs. Establishing authority is a stepping-stone to establishing influence in your industry. Your ability to influence sales behavior is affected by your perceived expertise or credibility.
Check out this guide on managing your social media presence for additional tips.
3. Never Take “No” For An Answer
“No” more often than not, is just a pit stop on the way to “yes”.
Selling is largely about negotiating and serving needs. It’s not meant to be a simple transaction, it’s meant to be a conversation about needs and wants and solutions.
Sometimes these conversations include resistance – a common part of the sales process. In sales, we should expect – not avoid – resistance. Successful and experienced sales professionals look beyond the simple words and think about the communication of resistance as one way to communicate a need.
Not taking “no” for an answer means exploring what “no” really means and how we can satisfy the need we have yet to be able to identify.
4. Always Think 10 Steps Ahead
Winning is more than closing enough deals to meet your quarterly quota. Winning in sales means thinking and planning for the future. Thinking ten steps ahead means building relationships that will bring in more business and more clients in the next quarter. Our relationships with clients, competitors and suppliers can be helpful resources when we plan for the future.
In order to remain relevant we need to think about industry and consumer trends and forecasts. One way to do this is to meet with competitors and collect insight from their expectations and plans for the future. How will their needs change and how will their company evolve to meet those changing needs?
5. Don’t Let Your Ego Get In The Way
Don’t let your ego become a roadblock to success.
It’s important that we remain humble and understand that service and patience are our top priorities. After all, success can be measured in terms other than dollars. Relationships and respect last longer than a dollar and hold more value. It’s when we focus on what we can learn, rather than what we know, we are in the best position to listen. The more we listen the better we understand the needs of those we are serving.
What are some rules that didn’t make it to the list? We’d love to hear from you!