If you want to grow your business, you have to start by making sure that you’re going in the right direction. Nothing points you in the right direction better than the very best sales professionals the industry has ever produced. Here are ten useful pieces of advice to start you on the right path:
“Take 5 minutes at the end of every day to sit down, assess and choose the 5 or 6 priorities for tomorrow so you can begin with clarity.”– Tom Hopkins
This simple instruction from the author of Selling for Dummies perfectly encapsulates the point of this article. If you want to be successful, you have to be efficient. That means not squandering any unnecessary effort and having a game plan before starting your day. While it doesn’t mean your goal has to be singular, you will have a smoother ride if you set a main goal. This goal needs to be on the top of your priority list.
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”– William Clement Stone
The businessman, philanthropist and self-help author William Clement Stone suggests that you adjust your attitude and be more positive. His quote is one of the few words of wisdom that any self-respecting salesman should know—people don’t just buy the products or services that you are selling. In a lot of cases, the customer is also buying the salesman. And nobody wants to buy someone who is toxic and rude.
“As marketers, we should be changing the mantra from always be closing, to always be helping.” – Jonathan Lister
The “Always Be Closing” advice from Glengarry Glenn Ross used to work back when consumers were okay with being treated like cattle. But in the digital age, consumers want to be treated like people. They want to be helped, so if you want to succeed in sales, you must always be willing to help people.
“Word of mouth marketing has always been important. Today it’s more important than ever because of the power of the internet.” – Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute’s quote is a reminder that even though word-of-mouth has always been one of the most effective means of marketing, the Internet has multiplied its power exponentially, to the point where you won’t get anywhere until you learn proper word-of-mouth marketing. These days it’s not just the best way, in a lot of cases it has become the “only way.”
“We must develop thick skin. With an unshakeable sense of self – and commitment to being compassionate – nothing will faze you.” – Mari Smith
The key takeaway from this quote is that you must not let initial failures or criticisms destroy your motivation. You should be prepared because it’s just the start of the year and the field of sales is full of rejection and criticism. Even the best sales gurus have to deal with them. So always be sure of yourself and let the negative things roll off you. Only treat them as lessons learned and charge everything to experience. Once you learn how to do this, you will be invincible.
“I don’t know the rules of grammar. If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language.” – David Ogilvy
Considered as the Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy definitely knows how to sell to people, and this quote shows that you need to avoid looking down on your customers. Approach them based on their customs, their slang, and their predilections even if it’s something you would normally consider being below your level. Meet them halfway. If your pride prevents you from adjusting your pitch to accommodate your customer, then perhaps you are selling to the wrong market. Or worse, perhaps you are in the wrong profession.
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” – Seth Godin
Actor, writer, and sales guru Seth Godin’s quote tells you what you really need to do if you want to be successful in a saturated market. While studying your competitors to get a feel for the market is a requirement, trying to emulate said competitors is a recipe for mediocrity. And mediocrity in a saturated market is the same as failing. If you want to succeed, you have to avoid being like everyone else. Stand out from the crowd, and soon you’ll find that you have conquered the market. Some of the really successful ones even find that a new market has grown around their ideas.
“You need the kind of objectivity that makes you forget everything you’ve heard, clear the table and do a factual study like a scientist would.” – Steve Wozniak
One of the other pillars of Apple besides Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, underscores the need to constantly reject the systems and structures in place, as being reminded of them constantly will only tempt you into resigning yourself to be just another cog in the wheel. You have to study the market objectively, like a scientist, which is the only way you can gain new insights and new strategies that no salesman has ever tried before. Before Apple, nobody would believe that computers that are incompatible with existing IBM computers and those with fewer features will succeed. But here we are now, Apple’s products are sold at a premium and so trusted by customers that it is frequently bought simply because it’s an Apple product.
“Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising.”– Milton Hershey
This quote from the founder of Hershey’s Chocolate Company should be kept in mind by many of the new generation of salesmen, who seem to get caught up with sales strategies and marketing campaigns that they forget one crucial aspect of the system: the product they are selling. It doesn’t matter if you are so good at selling that you can sell water to a fish, you’ll never be successful if you’re not selling anything that people want to buy. All you get is the initial round of sales of your crappy product. Afterwards, you’ll have no credibility, no customers, and no sale.
“Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.” – David Ogilvy
Another quote from the Father of Advertising. This time, a quote that serves as the perfect outro for this list and a general reminder to everyone for this year: if you want to succeed and produce good work, you have to enjoy yourself. Nobody continues doing anything for the long-term if they are not having fun, no matter how massive the monetary or political rewards are. Fun. If you have it, you’ll have staying power.