Let’s face it, being a salesperson can be a tough job. Regardless of the type of product or service, convincing your prospect to buy, can be very challenging. And yet, it’s precisely the challenge that gives you the edge over your competitors. The better you get at overcoming the challenge, the better your prospects as a successful salesperson will be!

OK, so not everyone is a so-called “born salesman”. It really does come more naturally to some personality types than others. But in today’s day and age, one may end up in a sales position even if that was not the initial path embarked on during university days. Plus, the current viewpoint amongst today’s organizational behavior gurus, is that we are all in sales – regardless of our actual designations or job functions.

Whatever product or service you’re selling, try some of these helpful tips to improve your sales pitch.

1. Try not to hard sell. Imagine the nightmare scenario – the salesman ambushes the prospect somewhere, perhaps in a shopping mall or at a café, and traps him there for 1 hour while he raves on about the product non-stop, shoving brochures and samples at the poor prospect who is not able to get a single word in. “Buy, buy, buy!” he shouts, while the prospect desperately looks round for a quick escape route. OK so this is pretty extreme…but it has been known to happen! ?

The reality is, no one likes being “pushed” too hard to buy a product or service. In fact, we ourselves would not like it. So, maybe it’s worth taking a little time to think about how we would respond to our own sales pitch, if we are the prospect or customer. How would we want to be approached? How would we want the salesperson to treat us? What sort of information would be relevant to us? And we could use our own instincts and gut feel, to guide us on approaching others.

2. Practice the art of listening. It’s tempting to view the process of selling as a monologue, where the sales person extols the virtues of the product or service non-stop, while the prospect passively listens and “absorbs” the info. However, the likelihood of closing a sale using such a method, is probably sadly low. It would be better to try to engage the prospect.

Engaging requires connecting. Connecting requires understanding. And understanding requires the person seeking to understand, to listen and allow the other person to talk. Letting the prospect talk more than you are talking, also provides an opportunity for important information and clues as to the prospect’s real needs and wants, to be revealed during conversation. Build a relationship with the prospect, and a sale may follow.

3. Do your homework. Be very, very clear about your product/service, as well as your sales goals. Have all the information at your fingertips, and prepare sales aids that will help you break down technical or complex information for your prospects easily. Especially in relation to pricing, clearly explain the options in simple terms. Being an expert on your own product, will help you come up with answers to the prospect’s questions or criticisms, quickly and accurately. The clearer you are about your sales goals and the more information you have to draw on, the more easily you can tailor-make your presentation to your prospect’s requirements in order to achieve your objective.

4. Come across as genuine. Meaning to say, don’t be too “sickly-sweet” to the prospect, or he is likely to see right through your attempt to close the sale through excess flattery or insincere praise. Be warm, be approachable and friendly, be empathic, but be real. For more effectiveness, be subtle about infusing your sales tactics into your approach. Build up trust in the relationship in working towards a positive outcome.

5. Manage your emotions. The salesperson is only human, so sure, there will be times when you feel down, de-motivated or afraid of not making the sale/achieving your quota. You could be over-worked, over-stressed, under-paid. Something could have gone wrong at home or you could be coming down with a flu. You may not be feeling on top of the world – but, you need to find a way to not let any of those emotions, come across to the prospect.

Before your sales call, or your meeting, spend a few moments getting into the “zone”. This means, consciously blocking off any negative personal emotions, and getting yourself mentally and emotionally ready to get out there and make that sale.

And perhaps most important of all – be passionate and enthusiastic about your product/service and company or organisation. Feel like what you are selling is the best thing that there is. Put your heart and soul into believing in your product/service. That passion and conviction will come across to your prospect and inspire him to want to experience what you’re offering.

A lot can be learnt from Estee Lauder, the lady who founded the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder. She came from a poor family, but in spite of this, rose to fame and fortune creating, marketing and selling cosmetics. Using a combination of determination, perseverance, innovative sales ideas and an incredible drive to succeed, she managed to build an entire business empire on the dream that she sold to her customers – that all women could be beautiful, if they used her products. Read more about this super-successful sales woman, in her autobiography entitled “Estee : A Success Story”.

So always remember, you’re selling more than just a product or a service. It’s the intangibles that count. You’re selling an experience, a benefit, a positive emotion, a dream.
Happy Selling and best of luck!


Personal finance author and trainer

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