Customer Experience News & Trends

10 critical rules for sales success

Every book on sales uses the core principles that Frank Bettger laid out in his classic sales manual almost 70 years ago. He took Dale Carnegie’s putting-people-first tactics, then added the following principles every salesperson should read and master. 

  • Plan effectively. Planning removes anxiety about what you need to do and when. It helps you feel confident that you’re working on your real priorities. The records you keep as you plan your activities and track your sales can be valuable instruments for improving your results.
  • Show up prepared. Research the customer and have a prepared, but flexible, presentation ready to go. “Winging it” is disrespectful and may not work. Know your customer’s main issues and prepare a list of key points prior to the meeting.
  • Be compelling. Arouse customer’s interest by saying something fresh, surprising and relevant. Do something that gets to the point of your business in a new, forceful way.
  • Create and use anxiety. If customers are afraid of what will happen if they don’t choose your products or services, they are more likely to buy. If customers can replace anxiety with confidence in your product or service, they may buy.
  • Gain and maintain confidence. Learn your business inside and out. The more deeply you know your customer, your industry, your company and your competitors, the more confident you will be.
  • Stay focused. When you make a call, never let your sales presentation wander. Once you discover customers’ basic needs or their central points of interest, focus on those areas like a laser beam.
  • Show enthusiasm and ask great questions. If you ask the right questions, prospects may reveal their most vulnerable concerns, which will tell you what to discuss. As you listen, you make prospects feel important and demonstrate that they matter to you. By getting prospects to articulate what you need them to say as they answer your inquiries, you set the stage for your presentation.
  • Don’t badmouth competitors. No one likes to hear salespeople running down their competition. Engaging in it weakens you and may create sympathy for your competition.
  • Always look for leads. Your existing customer base is your best source of leads, and newer customers are the most fertile field for new contacts and testimonials. Always ask for introductions and contact information. Follow-up with the people who give you leads, let them know how things are going, whether or not the news is favorable. And always show your gratitude for every lead and testimonial.
  • Don’t fire off your closing points too early in your presentation. Create energy for the close by summarizing and listing the points in your presentation. Try to find questions and phrases your customer can answer affirmatively. A series of “yes” answers may create momentum toward giving you the order.
  • Recognize that failure can be a step toward success. The biggest problem with fearing failure is that it keeps you from attempting to succeed. Failure isn’t as sweet as success, but it’s a lot more useful than doing nothing. Use your fear to inspire you to act, because when you’re really engaged in the sales process, you don’t have time to be afraid. Courage doesn’t mean not feeling fear – it means being able to act and perform anyway.

Adapted from: How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, by Frank Bettger, a famous lecturer, the bestselling author of several books on sales and an associate of Dale Carnegie.

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