Many of us believe the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” idea when it comes to our sales processes. Although this is a great way to keep a good thing going, there are some sales concepts you can focus on for the New Year that will not only keep your sales moving, but may improve them, as well. Some of these items may be part of your process already, but becoming aware of them and how you execute them can lead to progress. Make an effort to focus on these five sales elements in every customer interaction.

To begin with, always go for the benefits. This may be elementary to some salespeople, but it’s sometimes easy to forget. While preparing your sales presentation, remember to ask how your product or service will benefit your client – and answer the question. Remember, the client is not concerned about features as much as they are about how the product will improve their lives, their bottom line, or their business. Put yourself in your client’s shoes and determine why he or she might need your product or service. Your presentation should focus on that aspect.

Next, try spinning your sales language. The words and phrases you use every day become part of your rote usage, and it may be difficult to identify which ones could create a negative connotation for your potential client. And remember that clients are becoming more savvy, more aware, and more sophisticated every day, so words like sold, contract, and signature might be falling out of use. Instead, try words like acquire, agreement, and approve. So analyze your sales presentation for words that may not work anymore. The opposite side of this, of course, is to analyze your presentation for words that have a positive connotation – and use them where appropriate. To make this exercise work, you must again put yourself in your client’s shoes and think about the last experience you had as a client and not a salesperson. The simple act of redefining your language can bring new life to your presentation – and create a much more positive experience for your client.

Third, try to get the best out of your prospecting process this year. Determine what your best prospecting method is by analyzing your response ratio in various mediums. Be sure to count every medium you use, whether it’s phone, email, direct mail, networking or face-to-face. It may also be beneficial to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on your prospecting, as well. For example, do the costs of direct mail far outweigh its benefits? If so, is there a way to take your direct mail to email and eliminate a majority of the cost? While looking at your prospecting methods, be honest with yourself and determine if it’s time to make additions to those methods. For example, do you avoid email because it seems impersonal? Try writing an email in a conversational tone – there’s no need to be completely formal just because you’re writing instead of speaking. Keep in mind that more sophisticated clients may be found in newer locations, such as social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. The analysis of your prospecting methods requires you to take a hard look at yourself and your methods – and make additions and corrections as needed.

Next, regroup your referrals. Many of us know that referrals keep business going, maybe even more than prospecting. But look at your referral process to determine when customers respond best. In many instances, your customer may respond best right after the sale, when they are excited about the product or service. But, depending on the product or service, customers may need to try it out for a time before you ask them to refer. Once you’ve determined where referrals have the most “bang” in your sales process, try to add the referral request at that point every time.

Finally, make this year the time to discover your competition. In many cases, we’re all offering the same products and services, with minor changes in product and major changes in brand and delivery. That’s no excuse to ignore the competition. Find out who the competition is, what they offer, and what makes clients likely to use their product. What do you perceive as the competition’s strengths and weaknesses? Use this information to handle objections and to explain the difference between you and your competition. Taking the time to get to know them will help you improve sales.

Make these five activities a part of your regular sales review this year.

Copyright  Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.


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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.