Under Pressure: How to Not Suck at Sales

Q1 has come and gone and you didn’t meet your quota. You’re feeling the heat; What to do? Do you reestablish existing customer relationships? Do you hit the phones, placing cold call after cold call? Or, do you need to find a new job stat? Before you jump into the shark tank without a plan, consider these tips from leading industry experts:

Evaluate your priorities
According to Rain Group, a leading sales training company, what separates the winners from the losers is approach. Rain claims the most important takeaway for a prospect is learning something they didn’t know before the pitch. In contrast, unsuccessful sales reps ranked that same factor at the bottom of their list of priorities. It’s no longer just a numbers game. Customers want to see the value of what you’re selling, not necessarily the cheapest price tag. This is especially true in regards to high-tech sales. Customers want to be assured they are getting the most out of their investment.

Evaluate your process
Rain Group has also crafted a successful sales formula, called RAIN SellingSM, that breaks down the art of closing the deal in three steps: Connect, Convince and Collaborate. The first two steps are obvious, however, the last step is interesting and overlooked by many numbers-driven sales people. Over the years, I’ve seen a shift from lone wolf-style selling to an inclusive approach. The latter makes customers feel like they have a stake in the success of the product and/or service you’re selling. And, with a younger generation of workers rising the ranks and becoming decision-makers, transparency is more important than ever. In an October 2014 article about millennial marketing, AdWeek writes that young professionals have a “low tolerance for hype and hard sells…They can spot a phony a mile away.” Discard the slick used car sales pitch. It doesn’t work.

Set personal goals   
Sure, you have sales goals mandated by your employer, but what about your own professional goals? Finding the answer will take a bit of introspection. Evaluate your strengths and use them to overcome your weaknesses. “Agile Selling” author Jill Konrath talks about achieving your personal best, or PB. She suggests setting goals to enhance your current closing ratio, the time it takes to close a deal and your prospect conversation rate. It’s quality over quantity—optimizing your efforts to maximize results. You should also be strategic and realistic. Your short-term goals should help you realize your long-term goals. Write down your weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals for motivation. Then, at the end of each period, review and revise your goals as needed.

Above all else, you need to believe in what you’re selling. Being authentic goes a long way when cultivating customer relationships and closing the deal. I’d love to know your thoughts on what makes a successful salesperson. Please share your comments with me below.

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