There are seven key selling habits you must develop as a sales expert. They are prospecting, establishing rapport, identifying needs, presenting solutions, answering objections, closing the sale and getting resales and referrals. They proceed in order. Habitually thinking about each of these seven elements of the sales process, and how each of them could be improved, is the key to increasing your sales, your revenues and your profitability.
1. Find ideal customers
To succeed greatly in sales, you must spend more time with people who are better prospects. You must prospect and look for new business 80 percent of the time. You must be prospecting morning, noon and night. You must never relax in your prospecting efforts until you have so many customers that you don’t have enough time left in the day to sell and satisfy all the people who want to buy from you.
2. Focus on relationships
The second habit for sales success is the habit of focusing on the relationship before anything else. You should focus on establishing rapport, trust and credibility with each prospect from the first contact. The most successful salespeople take as much time as necessary to establish trust with that client. They ask good questions and listen closely to the answers. They seek to understand the customer’s situation and needs before they make any attempt to talk about their product or service.
The rule is this: “If the customer likes and trusts you, the details won’t get in the way of the sale. If the prospect, however, is neutral toward you, or even worse, negative, the details will trip you up every step of the way.”
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3. Identify needs clearly
The third habit of top salespeople is that they make a habit of asking questions and identifying the real needs of the prospect relative to what they’re selling. Most prospects aren’t aware that they can improve their life or work situation when they first meet you. This is the reason prospects often say things like, “I’m not interested,” or “I can’t afford it,” or “We’re quite happy with our existing situation or supplier.” The more questions you ask about the customer’s situation, and the more you link your product to those needs, the more open the customer becomes to learning about your product or service and eventually buying it.
4. Present persuasively
The fourth habit developed is the habit of making excellent, logical, well-thought-out presentations of the features and benefits of their product. If you’ve identified a prospect who can benefit from what you sell, established a comfortable level of trust and rapport and identified their needs clearly, the presentation is where you show the customer why it makes excellent sense for them to act on your recommendations.
5. Answer objections effectively
The fifth stage of excellent selling is the habit of answering objections and resolving concerns in a confident, competent manner. You do this by thinking through all the objections that a qualified prospect might make, then develop logical, complete answers to each of these objections so you’re prepared if and when they come up. The very best sales professionals have developed completely clear, “bulletproof answers” so that when objections arise, they can be put to rest quickly.
6. Ask for the decision
The sixth part of selling is developing the habit of asking the customer to make a buying decision. No matter how good your presentation or how high the level of trust and credibility that exists between you and your customer, there’s always a moment of stress or tension at the making of a buying decision. Your job is to move quickly and professionally through that stressful moment by asking for the order in a confident, professional manner and then wrapping up the sale.
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The very best sales professionals plan their closes in advance. They watch for buying signals from the customer, ask questions to make sure there are no lingering objections and then ask clearly and straightforwardly for the customer to take action now.
7. Ask for resales and referrals
Finally, top sales professionals develop the habit of asking for resales and referrals from each customer. They know that every person they talk to knows at least 300 other people by their first names. They therefore give good service to their customers and ask for referrals to similar prospects.
The habit of thinking in terms of resales and referrals is the key to high income and high profitability. The most successful salespeople and companies have high levels of repeat business and a continuous stream of new customers that come from referrals from their satisfied customers.
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