SMART Tips For Successful Selling

by Bette Price

   It's no secret that the most successful sales people work smarter, not harder. But, just what is working smarter? Following are smart tips for successful selling:

Start your day early

   Start your day no later than 7:30 each morning. That means dressed, ready for action mentally and physically before you go out the door. Spend your first hour behind your desk. This is your time to get organized by reviewing the status of deals in progress, leaving voice mails and sending follow-up emails. Gather together all sales related documents needed for the day so that once you leave your desk, you are fully prepared to maximize the day's results.

Prospect religiously from nine until eleven each morning

   The number of afternoon appointments you set during this time period will determine how much money you will reap in the coming weeks. Not only is this the ideal time to reach clients and prospects, it also makes you accessible at a time when clients most frequently need to reach you. Here are some important reasons why this strategy works:

  • Between the hours of 9-11 a.m. is the best time to call, fax, or email and get a prompt reply because this is the time period in which your customers can generally afford to give the most attention to your message. The later you call, the more you are likely to have to deal with competing distractions.
  • Historically, this is the most likely time period to find your customer on the job.
  • Most people are in a more receptive mood at this time of day. Traditionally, one's energy level is the highest during this time frame, therefore more open and receptive.
  • Best of all, your lazy competition will not likely be conducting business yet.

   Analyze the activities of your most productive days last month. What were the redundant activities? What activity patterns do you spot? What activity gave you the biggest return on your time? Duplicate this process as you plan your coming days activities.

Plan your daily game plan for maximum results

   Analyze the activities of your most productive days last month. What were the redundant activities? What activity patterns do you spot? What activity gave you the biggest return on your time? Duplicate this process as you plan your coming days activities.

Remove prospecting fears

   Prospecting is a word many sales people fear. If it's a fear for you, you're calling on the wrong people. When you prospect with the right people, you'll reduce your fear. To target the "right people," ask yourself these questions: Who are my top five most profitable clients? What do they all have in common? What are their needs, characteristics, interests, and behavioral styles? Now, target like-minded people. Remember, these people are co-mingling with others with the same traits and personalities? Are they selling for you? Examine what you are doing to build relationships with these people. Ask yourself, did I give this client such a great buying experience that they will be willing to brag to others about me? If the answer is yes, ask for referrals.

Pick 25 Visible Referral Candidates

   Building upon the referral concept, identify 25 of the most visible clients who you believe would be willing to brag about working with you. The more industry active and visible these clients are, the more viable their referrals are. These are the relationships to not only cultivate, but nurture.

Identify Colleague Clients

   Colleagues as clients? Not directly, but definitely indirectly. Don't underestimate the power of sales colleagues in related fields. List all the related fields that come into contact with your customer�especially those that have served the customers well in their greatest times of need. These are your colleague referral prospects. Build relationships with them. When you refer to them, they will refer to you and you will both save time and win.

Maintain consistent contact with your top 20 percent

   Remember the old 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your customers will generate only 20 percent of your income and the profit for your employer. But, 20 percent of your customers will generate 80 percent of your income and your employer's profit. Focus on your top 20 percent. Stay in touch with them religiously � four times a year with something special. Don't even count traditional times like Christmas, birthdays, etc. Everybody gets into that act. Use a data management system to track special quarterly dates that position you differently. There's a national holiday for just about everything. You'll find 12,000 listed in Chase's Calendar of Events, which is published by McGraw Hill annually. For example, if your client is a gardening fan send something special on National Gardening Day. If his hobby is cycling, remember him with something tied to the Tour de France. It could be anything from a traditional greeting card to a personal, handwritten note, to the reprint of an interesting article. You get the gist. Most of all make it personal so it will stand out and do it no less than four times a year.
   Those who work smarter use traditional tools of selling as the basis of their toolkit, but they learn to tweak the application of those tools by doing things just enough differently to stand out in a crowd. Sometimes that means being willing to get up earlier than your competition and sometimes it means being more observant and insightful than your competition. It all begins with you and your commitment to working smarter than your competition.