It doesn’t matter what you sell. The principles of sales are much like the laws of physics in that they do not change. If you fall off a building, you always fall down, never up. If you show up a half hour late for a sales call, unprepared, you will almost always lose the sale. The key to bigger sales is the little things; this is the law of making the sale.
Do you call and let your customer know you are on your way? Do you have everything you need to make a successful presentation? Are you professionally dressed, or do you need a shave? It is amazing how few professional sales people do not regularly follow up on a presentation or a quality lead. You take the time to do your presentation, but because you didn’t close right on the spot you don’t bother to do a proper follow up or you only do it half the time. If you want a quick bump up in your sales you always, always follow up on all presentations or leads.
The number one thing that separates the good salespeople from the really high performers is discipline. The great salespeople leave nothing to chance: they are early for their appointments, they called to confirm, they have practiced their presentations many time, they role-play their presentations on coworkers or with their sales manager. The hard work has been put in, so they have a smooth and seamless presentation. Do you instead wait and essentially practice on your customers? If so, STOP!
The elite special forces military units set themselves apart by doing all the little things to perfection. All branches of the military practice shooting their weapons, but special forces units will shoot a thousand rounds per day. The key to success is repetition, which is only accomplished by having the discipline to follow through with what needs to get done. A sales process is not rocket science, yet a high performing salesperson can earn more than a rocket scientist.
You need to make sure you are that consummate professional that keeps doing all the little things, no matter what obstacles arise. You make sure you keep you sales pipeline full because you are always prospecting. You don’t use the excuse that you’re too busy. You always find the time to do that constant contact e-mail blast or making those follow up calls to your customers. And you make the the call after the sale to make sure your customer is happy with their purchase. You're always working on getting referrals. These are the little things will add up to those big sales dollars.
The hardest thing is to get the routine down so that these things become habits. How do you start your day? Ask yourself throughout the day if what you are doing in the moment is really helping me to advance your sales. A lot of sales eople seem to confuse staying busy work with taking the right actions that will increase your sales.
If you incorporate some form of advertising, are you tracking it? How are you tracking it, is it working for you, and is this the best use of your time?
People have a tendency to do what is easiest or what they have always done. Folks go on auto pilot, never thinking about if the course they have chosen will get them to their destination. I challenge you to think through your day, always asking yourself is a task is going to directly increases sales. The top salespeople stay focused on the prize and rid themselves of worthless reports, time killing meetings, and time spent on low probability leads. Instead, they concentrate on all the little things that drives the sales engine.
I have created simple spreadsheets to keep my team on task. We concentrate on our top accounts and make sure that we are constantly providing value to key customers in a variety of ways. If you are a contractor selling to home owners, you should have a checklist to go over before running any sales call. The list should include your own bio that lets the customer know who you are, how long you have been in the industry, what training you have had, as well as other credentials. Any good salesperson knows that the most important thing you have to sell is yourself. If the customer doesn’t trust you or feel that you’re a top-flight professional, they are unlikely to purchase from you, regardless of the product that you might have to offer. You should have something about the company you represent and your product. The problem is so many people today get it backwards—they start out talking non-stop about the product they have to offer without ever qualify themselves or finding out what the customer's real interest are.
The little things are making that extra call, giving that extra effort. Sometimes it's just about working smarter and not harder. If you are really disciplined and keep focused on the basics that you know work and force yourself to do the hard or unpleasant things every week on a consistent basis, your sales will grow. I find that keeping a list that reminds myself and my team what we should stay focused on and reviewing these things weekly caused our sales to increase.
The key to any successful program is discipline. If you lack in this key area, chances are you will never consistently do the little things that add up to big sales. Keep a list and push yourself to do the things you know that you should be doing and you will get the results that you have always wished for.
Good luck and happy selling.
Darrell Sterling is regional sales manager at HVAC distributor Johnstone Supply. He can be contacted at Darrell.Sterling@johnstonesupply.com or 484-441-0335