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How to be Successful in Sales in 2021

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Aug 05, 2021

Here at Anthony Cole Training Group, we are always striving towards helping our clients achieve sales success. We interviewed our Sales Development Experts for a curated list of how to be successful in sales for 2021. Their advice includes successful sales traits, habits, and characteristics. Use this detailed resource to your advantage, and boost your sales success in 2021!

How to Be Successful in Sales

Salespeople are measured against one thing and one thing only; closing deals.  However, salespeople know that there's so much more to getting results than picking up the phone and calling.  It takes a combination of attitude, work ethic, and personality to be a good sales person.  It's not easy being a salesperson, but if you can possess some of these traits and habits, you're on your way to becoming a more successful salesperson.

Successful Sales Traits

trait: a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person.

  1. Commitment
    Oftentimes, one of the reasons salespeople struggle to see great sales success is because they aren’t as committed as they need to be. Be willing to try and do whatever it takes, even when you are uncomfortable.
  2. Have an attitude of success
    Selling can feel like a solitary pursuit and you need to believe you will get there. Half the battle of success in sales is owning your own style and having faith in your skills, knowledge, and abilities. If you believe you will win, your likelihood of winning increases substantially.
  3. Do the work
    Selling is hard work and cannot all be done sitting at a computer. Get out and meet with current clients to leverage the relationship and ask for introductions. Also, attend networking events to meet different experts in your or target industries.
  4. Have a sense of urgency
    Send the follow-up email the first time you think of it. Make the return phone call when you first get the message. Work when your competition isn’t.
  5. Stick to the schedule
    Different things can get in your way daily- emails, internal meetings, proposals, etc. Highly successful salespeople build and stick to a time-blocking schedule religiously. Identify what your key activities are when the best time is to do these activities and build a schedule you can live by.
  6. Never Answer the Unasked Question
    One of the key sales characteristics that elite producers have is the ability to only answer the question in front of them. Salespeople will often get ahead of themselves, fall into pitch mode, and divulge too much information too quickly.
    For example, when a prospect asks “how big is your company?” they usually aren’t concerned with how many employees there are or how many locations you have. They are trying to identify if you have the bandwidth, expertise, and/or time to work with them. The key is to slow down, take a breath, and ask for clarification before answering.

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Successful Sales Habits

habit: a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior

  1. Stop worrying about selling and focus on helping
    Stop offering to come by and visit the prospect and instead ask “would you find it helpful if….”  Ask prospects what you can do to help them without regard for whether or not there is a sale involved. It is why the 3-step inoffensive close ends with:  Do you think I understand your problem? Do you think my firm can help you solve your problem? Do you want my help?
  2. Every exit is an entry somewhere else
    Don’t give up or be let down just because someone said no – maybe they can help you with a referral or you’ll land a client with that next phone call or meeting after the discouragement.
  3. Have a sales goal that you are committed to reaching
    Most salespeople focus on just hitting their year-end goal, not exceeding it. When you strive towards an extraordinary goal (roughly 20% above your year-end goal), and that’s your only focus, even if you don’t hit it, you will likely meet or exceed your company goal.
  4. Be OK with “no”
    It frees up the conversation and lowers the walls of resistance when the prospect knows that it is OK for them to say “no.”  There are three different parts in the sales process where the salesperson should be letting the prospect know it is OK to say “no”: (1) on the phone setting up the first appointment, (2) at the last meeting before the proposal is delivered and then finally (3) at the meeting where the proposal will be shared.
  5. Be a giver
    Support your internal partners as they prepare for conversations and presentations. Make sure that your ‘selling’ is all about asking great questions and listening to understand so that you can help your clients grow (vs sell them something).
  6. Build a rapport
    To many, bonding and rapport means liking the same sports team, enjoying the same weekend activity, or frequenting the same restaurant as a prospect. To us, bonding and rapport means proving you deserve a seat at the table. Your proven benefit and value are more critical to developing trust and relationships than similar taste in food. Ask your prospect what the key challenges for their business and industry are for the year or what is in the way of their growth.
  7. Utilize social networks
    LinkedIn can be your best fishing net and your best safety net. Use social networking sites like LinkedIn to make connections and develop relationships, as well as explore new opportunities.
  8. Develop yourself as an industry expert
    Continue to educate yourself on new trends, the changes in your market, and developing different techniques. This will help you stay relevant in your space and position yourself as a leading professional.
  9. Celebrate the successes
    It’s difficult to win these days so don’t forget to enjoy those moments- no matter how big or small. Every sale gets you one step close to hitting your personal and professional goals.

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Successful Sales Characteristics

characteristic: a feature or quality belonging typically to a person

  1. Persistence
    Stay with it whether it is making calls, following up, or following through. What we know is 80% of sales are made between the 5-12 outreach to a prospect so persistence to win business is crucial.
  2. Be coachable
    In other words, be willing to admit there is a lot that you don’t know and always ask for help.
  3. Be resilient  
    Don’t let prospects squash you with think it overs, stalls, objections, and “no’s”. There is always another door to try- it’s just about asking the right questions of the right person at the right time.
  4. Don’t get in your own way
    Eliminate roadblocks and excuses from your headspace. Don’t let the anxiety of being turned away keep you from picking up the phone. Don’t allow internal “noise” interrupt what you get paid to do- which is hunt, qualify and close business.
  5. Don’t get happy ears
    Don’t let soft buying signals like “This looks great. It makes a lot of sense. I’m interested” rush your process. Keep a level head and really drill down with your qualifying questions to identify if a prospect is really interested or just blowing smoke.
  6. Be unique
    Those that don’t look, sound, or act like the other salespeople in the marketplace have greater overall sales success. Follow the sales process, remain professional, but don’t be afraid to be yourself. The “human element” is what makes a difference in closing more business.

We hope this helps you achieve greater sales success in this coming year! Successful selling in 2021 from your friends and partners at Anthony Cole Training Group.  Call us if you need help!

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Topics: key to sales success, sales success, successful sales habits, successful sales traits, successful sales characteristics

The Secret to Improving Sales Success

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Wed, Dec 23, 2020

In this article, we cover the basic principles of control in sales and how the little things build momentum when it comes to selling effectively and separating yourself from the competition.

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Guidelines to Sales Success

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from salespeople is, What is the secret to sales success? or, Can you just give me the magic?  I need to sell more business.  Actually, there is a secret sauce, and if you will permit me to enter your kitchen, I am going to serve it up to you.

There is no one thing that is a big thing in selling.  In our organization, we refer to selling as a “slight edge business.”  By that we mean that the line that separates high performers from mediocre performers is usually a very small difference.  Think in terms of maybe just one or two more conversations a week, or one or two more presentations a month.

The Olympics are a perfect example of this truth.  Think of almost any race, whether that be swimming, track and field or skiing.  Do you know what separates the athlete who wins the gold medal from the athlete who finishes just outside the bronze medal?  The answer is fractional seconds, sometimes even as little as tenths of a second.

How to Have More Sales Success

We all want to become a better sales rep, and ask ourselves how to be successful in sales?

There is very little you can control in selling.  You can’t make prospects take your call.  You can’t make prospects agree to meet with you.  You can’t make them move forward in your sales process and you certainly can’t make them buy from you. 

There are only 3 things you are in control of:

  1. Your effort on a daily basis
  2. Your attitude on a daily basis
  3. Your investment in becoming a better or smarter version of yourself (self-improvement)

 

Sales Guidelines

Selling is not going to suddenly become easier.  Leads are not likely to become more plentiful. So, the question that is worth asking is this:  What are you doing to shave fractional seconds off your sales time in the race you are running

What are the little things that when done week in and week out will amount to big things in terms of your 2019 production? 

Maybe it is the one more conversation you need to have each day with a prospect.  Maybe it is the one book you will read or the one new connection you will add to your network that will make all the difference.

Sometimes little things are so small you won’t even notice them when you look back at your sales success.  But that doesn’t mean that it is not a big thing to worry about the little things.

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Topics: key to sales success, improve sales, sales prospecting, sales success, increase sales

What to Keep Doing, Part 3 of 3

Posted by Tony Cole on Mon, Apr 04, 2016

keep-doing-arrow.jpg

I continue to learn from my clients and the training director of a large national bank once said to me, “This is what we would like to keep doing. This is what we would like to start doing. And this is what we would like to stop doing.” Of course, all of this was framed up with lists of actions and initiatives because we were meeting to discuss coming years of training content, focus and delivery. However, this simple take-away can be applied to nearly any complex situation.

Some thoughts on What to Keep Doing:

Keep Learning 
As human beings, we continue to age and evolve. In order to thrive and survive, we must keep learning. Imagine if a child stopped learning—say your son turned 12 and stagnated and did not move forward mentally. Of course, you would find this odd and abnormal and you would go to great lengths to uncover issues so that you could fix this.

Unfortunately, adults sometimes do this and salespeople often feel like they know enough about selling. While a sales person may know that he must learn about new products, he often does not continue education in his craft of selling. Yet, to compete well in an ever evolving environment, one must know as much as possible and be well-rehearsed—after all “Perfect practice makes perfect performance.”

Play Like this is Your First or Last Game or Performance 
In the final season of Hall of Famer George Brett’s career, he was asked what he would like his last at-bat to be like—a signature double to right center field? A rocket single to left field? Brett said “No, I want to hit a hard ground ball to the second baseman and run as hard as I can to first base so that every young guy on our team will know that that’s how the game is supposed to be played.”

Prepare as though You’ve Never Done this Before 
It is an unfortunate fact of life that we tend to get sloppy over time. We think we know what we are doing. We think we don’t need practice or preparation.

Captain Edward John Smith had been commanding vessels for over 25 years. In 1012, he took command of an unsinkable cruise ship- The RMS Titanic. We all know what happened. While the stakes in selling do not usually involve hundreds of human lives, we cannot lose sight of the need for preparation. After all, “Perfect performance is a result of perfect practice.” (Am I repeating myself?)

Continue to Risk
Sailing in calm waters doesn’t teach.”  I don’t know the origin of that expression, but it defines this particular Keep Doing.  I majored in physical education while at University of Connecticut. In physiology, I learned the SAID principle, which I believe in and continue to preach.  SAID stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.  In other words, your muscles don’t grow unless you put them under strain – put them in a position that exceeds their ability. 

I believe our brain power and our emotional stamina work the same way-- In order for us to grow, to learn, to become better, stronger, sharper, we must take on risks, including the risk of failing.  Get outside of comfortable. 

Continue to Fall Down & Get Up 
As we get older and have more experiences, we learn that life is up and down. One day is great successes and the next brings difficulty and defeat. This is particularly true in sales, since rejection and loss of a prospect/proposal/sale is a common occurrence. So, I imagine you have a long history of falling, dusting yourself off and getting up.  

Unfortunately, as we get more tenured in our professional career and accumulate a revenue stream, we can get knocked down and decide to be comfortable with what we have amassed over the years. We can get comfortable because we don’t have the drive and motivation that we once had. SO--

Set Higher and Bigger Goals 
Identify the goals that inspire you to do all the Keep Doing activities above.

  • Set goals that require learning something new or different
  • Set goals that excite you
  • Set goals that risk failure because they are a stretch

 

Topics: sales skills, key to sales success, keep, start and stop

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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