After polling our readers on their best advice to give someone starting out in sales, many of the tips came up over and over again. It’s clear, if there were only 5 tips we could give someone who is just starting a career in sales, it would be the below 5.
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Table of contents | Starting A Career In Sales
1. Know Everything About Your Product
The first thing you need to know when starting a career in sales is that you need to be a product expert. Read all of your company’s literature, brochures and visit your company’s website. Do your own research as a customer would by searching online and reading reviews. Don’t be caught off guard by a prospect mentioning information they’ve found on the web.
Use the product yourself. By being a customer of your own product, you’ll develop a better understanding of what you’re selling and also become a better spokesperson. Who wants to buy a Honda from someone that drives a Toyota?
“In order to sell a product, you must fully understand the product you are selling.” – Yuni B. – Retail Sales Professional
2. Listen to the Customer | Starting A Career In Sales
To succeed in sales, you need to be a good listener. What does that mean? That means listening more than you talk. A good ratio to follow is the 80/20 rule. Let your customer do 80% of the talking. Listen to what their needs are and what are their desired outcomes. Once you understand these, you can then use the remaining 20% to ask questions and sell your product.
“Your customer may not always be right, but if you don’t listen to them, you may be selling them the wrong product, service or advice.” – Daniel Jackmon – Business Development
3. Learn from Superstars
Shadow your company’s top sales professional and take note of what they do differently from everyone else. Watch how they talk, how they dress, how they present themselves. What is their work ethic like, how do they approach customers? By learning from your industry leaders, you can quickly master the art of selling your product or service.
“Stick to the top performer like glue. Copy his or her systems and processes. Once mastered, add your own personality and you can’t go wrong.” – Sean Richardson – Telco Sales
4. Be Ethical | Starting A Career In Sales
Do ethics and sales go together? They should, but dishonest sales people have given us a bad name. So we need to change that. By being honest and trust worthy, you build confidence in your customers that you are the right person to buy from. If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t make it up, find out.
“Embrace the precept that integrity is always essential in developing relationships with the understanding that people like to buy but they don’t want to be sold.” – Craig W – Business Development
5. Overcome Objections
Don’t be caught off guard when a customer says the product or service is too expensive. The price objection is a common objection, that doesn’t need to answered with lowering the price. Instead, listen to how your peers overcome price objections. Do they explain the reason for why the product or service costs more? Do they show the customer how the product or service reduces their costs? The key is to write down your most common objections and your answers to how to overcome them.
“Know the common objections that your customers have and know exactly what to say for each one to overcome it”. – Veronica B., retail sales representative
The best advice for getting started in sales
Welcome to the world of sales. It is often the most challenging yet fulfilling job out there.
Many people start in a sales role with absolutely no training. While we recommend attending one of our sales training programs or at least reading one of our sales books to give you a good foundation for sales success, we’ve rounded up advice from past workshop participants and fellow newsletter subscribers to get you started. Here’s their best advice to you as you are getting started in sales.
“Understand the Ladder of Customer Loyalty” – Nalin Withana, Lead Group
Learn to manage the ladder of customer loyalty where suspects, prospects, customers, clients, referrals and partners need to be continuously moved up. You should always be thinking how can I turn my suspects into prospects, my prospects into customers, my customers into repeat clients and my clients into referral sources.
“Understand Your Client’s Needs” – Steve Pressland, Hydratight
When getting started in sales, sales professionals need understand their client’s needs and end goals. Through questioning you can find out what their end goal really is, not just what they think they want. After several years in sales, you’ll find these are often not the same.
“It’s not about you, it’s about them” – Arya Wirawan, Archipelago International
Many sales people think they know more than their customers or clients, but in today’s world, customers tend to be better informed than the sales person themselves. They can observe our products or services online. So as someone getting started in sales, you should always be asking questions, qualifying the client’s needs and trying your best to fit your products or services to your client’s needs.
“Integrity is Essential” – Craig Winkelman, Senior Representative PFS Inc.
When it comes to building strong and lasting relationships with our customers, we need to maintain integrity with them. This comes back to our core ‘S.E.L.L.I.N.G’ fundamentals that includes the essential asset of being ethical. Get caught lying, and you will forever be labelled as a sleazy salesperson in their mind. From there, there is little chance in getting repeat business or referrals.
“People before Process” – Adam Carabetta – Formative Search
In many organisations there is a set process to be followed when developing a sale. Maybe the prospect must come to your office to meet. But what if they’re just too busy, or their office is on the other part of town? Insisting them to come to your office (process) could have you risking the sale and offending the prospect (people) . Sales professionals need to learn when the rules can be bent and when they should be enforced. Put the people before the process.
“It Gets Easier” – Ken Wong, ProActive Training
When starting out in sales, the beginning is always the toughest. You have so much to learn: everything about the product or service you sell, your customer and the buying cycle as well as sales fundamentals. Don’t be discouraged, instead remember that the more you practice and get in front of your customer, the better you get. With persistence, you have the ability to become a top performer.