What makes selling so hard? Probably that there are so many different ways to hear “no.” Yet, you can do a few things to make your selling easier. Why not incorporate some of these ideas now?
1. Ask for referrals to other customers when you do great work for a client. Many salespeople work hard, deliver value to their clients, and get compliments for their work. They say, “Thank you” and leave it at that. They have just missed a very valuable selling opportunity. What should they do immediately after receiving a compliment? They should ask for something from their customer in return. A good thing to ask for would be a referral. It’s because of a very powerful behavioral phenomenon known as reciprocity. It means that when we give something to someone they will feel obligated to give something back to us. In this situation, you’ve given the client the gift of good work. He will feel obligated to give something back, like a referral. Remember to ask when you give the gift of good work.
2. If you sell many products, make sure you are selling all you can. I worked with a salesman who sells a complete range of maintenance products. He sells everything from industrial lubricants, filters, and other maintenance supplies. He was new to his sales territory and wanted to get some quick sales on the books. What did he do? He called on every existing account and established a working relationship with each customer. He then asked all of his customers if they were buying everything they could from him. He offered to walk through the storeroom and make a list of all their maintenance items. Then he provided a list where he cross-referenced each item to the type of product he sold. He even made an order sheet that made it easy for his customers to order from him since he organized similar products together. You can guess what happened. His customers first commented on how easy it was to order. Then they ordered a lot more products from him.
3. Be clear about who your ideal prospects are. Too many salespeople think they’re calling on a prospect and it’s just not the case. If you waste less time on prospects who really aren’t going to buy — or at least buy in the time frame to reach your sales goals — you can free up some sales time to focus on customers who will buy. One easy way to define your ideal prospect is to look at your last 10 or more sales. Develop criteria to score each account. You could look at deal size, job title of the person you called on, industry, size of firm or other criteria. You might learn that you sell more effectively to smaller accounts. Maybe custom requests are your strong suit. Learn what business is successful for you and go after more business like it. Then commit to passing on business that looks different from your ideal prospect. Ideal customers are easier to sell to.