It’s that time again. Time to change out the calendar, which means it’s also time hit the reset button and make those big, life-changing resolutions. What’s your resolution this year? To eat healthier and finally use that gym membership? To read some of those books collecting dust on your shelf? To drop that nagging habit that you’ve struggled with for so long?
Or maybe your resolutions are focused on work. Specifically, maybe you’re thinking about how you can get better results in 2016. If so, take a look at the five suggestions below. From my 30-plus years of sales leadership and coaching, I’ve found that making simple changes to some of your daily habits can often bring the biggest impact.
The five resolutions listed below aren’t tough to implement or stick with. They’re not as challenging as other popular resolutions, like going on a crazy diet or quitting smoking cold turkey. Instead, these are changes that you can make starting immediately. And all they require is a little bit of focus and dedication.
Be a better listener.
I’ve written before about my belief that active listening is the one skill set in which salespeople are most deficient. Active listening is about more than just hearing the words that your prospects are saying. Instead, active listening is about absorbing your prospect’s or client’s words, understanding what they mean, and acknowledging what the other person feels.
When you’re an active listener, you shut out all other distractions and focus entirely on the conversation at hand. You make sure that you’re mentally present in that moment and conversation, and that your thoughts aren’t wandering elsewhere.
When you are a better listener, you’ll likely pick up tips and unspoken information about what your prospect really wants or needs. That will help you push the sales process forward.
One great way to be a better listener is to paraphrase the other person’s comments. For instance, follow up their remarks with, “If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re looking for……” When you make yourself paraphrase, you’ll be forced to listen more intently. Or summarize what you’ve heard from the conversation which gives the other person the opportunity to correct you, add information, or let you know that you understand what they said.
Ask for what you want.
Every salesperson has that one prospect. You know the one. You’ve made a good presentation. You answered their questions. They wanted to think about it. And now you’re waiting and waiting…..and waiting. You’re stuck in limbo waiting for them to move the process forward.
Why are you letting them be in control? You have goals to shatter. You don’t have time to wait for them to make up their mind. This year is the year that you start being assertive when you ask for the business.
Call that prospect up and ask them what needs to happen for them to move forward with the deal. In your next closing meeting, don’t accept, “I want to think about.” Ask them flat out, “What do you need to think about and what can I do for us to move forward today?
To get what you want, you have to ask for it. Stop being passive and take back control of the sales process.
It doesn’t matter what you sell. I don’t care if it’s software or used cars, at the end of the day, your customers are buying you, not your product. People buy from other people. More specifically, they buy from other people they trust and like. You can instantly make yourself more likable and appealing by smiling.
Smiling does more than just make you look like a nicer person. It also makes you feel better. Smiling releases endorphins, which can boost your happiness and confidence and reduce stress levels.
Nervous about a potentially difficult conversation? Take the edge off by smiling. Get anxiety when you’re making a cold call or when it’s time to close the deal? Relieve your anxiety by smiling.
A good smile is one of your most powerful tools. It makes you more approachable and it generates substantial positive energy. Make a conscious effort to smile more in 2016. After a short time, you’ll naturally smile all the time.
Focus on helping, not selling.
Helping is the new selling. Today’s buyers are too informed to be sold to. They have an infinite amount of information and research available with just a couple clicks on their computer or taps on their phone. They don’t need you to sell to them; they need you to help them sort through all the available information and make the best decision for their needs
This year, focus more on helping your clients and prospects to solve problems. Worry about the resolution of their issue, not whether it turns into a sale. If you can help them resolve their needs, you’ll earn their trust. And once you have their trust, sales will inevitably follow.
Find a great coach.
Everybody needs a great coach. Ask any great athlete how they got to where they are and they will undoubtedly mention a great coach they had along the way. Ask a skilled doctor the same question and they might mention a teacher or a department head. Ask successful business people about their careers and they’ll probably tell you about a former boss or mentor.
There’s no reason why you have to go at this alone. A coach can offer a different perspective and can pull from their own experience to help you overcome challenges. A coach can also help improve your processes and boost your sales skills.
If you don’t have a sales coach, 2016 is the year to find one. I’ve been coaching salespeople to higher levels of success for more than 30 years. Your first session is no-cost and has no commitment. Schedule your first coaching session today and let’s get started on making 2016 your best year ever.
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