When you’re looking for ways to improve sales effectiveness, chipper but useless statements like “Sell better!” or “Just sell more!” or “Try harder!” aren’t exactly helpful, because they don’t tell you how to improve. Instead, applying specific advice is what leads to real improvement. These five steps provide tangible instructions on how to improve sales effectiveness.
1. Improve the sales process early.
For example, to make the sale, you need to talk to the decision makers. Streamline so that what can be done by others is done by others, saving your valuable sales staff for the actual selling. This means finding and generating leads, referrals, tips, etc., might be more effectively done by other people in your organization, or by organizations who specialize in that part of the sales process. Make an intentional choice about what aspects can be better done elsewhere.
2. Ditch the jargon.
Make sure your sales team knows that words familiar to insiders aren’t always the words familiar to potential clients. Make a list of commonly confused or misunderstood “buzz words” that your sales staff might be throwing around, and practice replacing them with words more familiar to your target audience. It’s amazing how inadvertently we can slip into industry jargon and leave our customers scratching their heads.
3. Cheer up!
It’s one of the oldest sales tips around because it’s true: slap a smile on that face of yours. Even in phone sales, customers can hear if there’s a smile on your face and it affects your tone and how people perceive you. Be careful not to overdo it in the cheesiness department, but optimism is contagious, and even the strongest sales reps can forget what a difference a smile makes.
4. Don’t interrupt.
This is a toughie for talkers, and if you’re into sales, chances are…you’re a talker. Show the client that you’re listening to her and she’ll know you value her experiences, opinions, and concerns. You’ll get your time to talk soon enough. If your sales team is full of interrupters…interrupt them and make sure they know it’s unprofessional to railroad the potential client.
If a potential client is a fast-talker, what should your sales rep be doing? Picking up the pace! If the customer’s a slow talker, slow it down a few notches. I’m not suggesting you impersonate everyone you run into, but adapting to the speed and tone of the person you’re speaking with will help them relate to you, developing the all-important rapport that translates into serious sales effectiveness.