It’s always best to have a disciplined approach to the business of sales. Many people are attracted to sales because of the thrill of the hunt and the appeal of deal making. It can be exciting, you have to think on the fly to respond to customers’ needs, questions and objections. The people who truly excel at sales are those who apply structure and discipline to the role, while engaging in personal development often improve and succeed.
While sales may be psychological, goal-driven and competitive, the discipline that it takes to be successful must be consistent and at your core. True high-achievers will always suggest that lasting success doesn’t generally come from making a few big deals or having a couple of big accounts, but more so from the discipline of doing the little things consistently, even though they may sometimes be a bit mundane.
If you practice a disciplined approach to sales, with a renewed sense of urgency every shift and every day, then implementing your best practices will become easier.
Discipline in your work life is an essential prerequisite for success in today’s sales environment. It starts with certain key routines and basic practices, such as starting the day off right with a nutritious breakfast, some form of exercise, laser-like focus, and a plan of action.
When practiced as part of your daily work routine, rituals put you into a prepared state. Without rituals, you’re always out of sync and playing catch-up. At most retailers, being in sales sometimes requires very long hours, especially during promotional events, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, flustered and off track. Incorporating the discipline of practicing daily rituals is crucial to managing your time, and your own success.
Here’s an overview of eight important disciplines that if practiced frequently and consistently will ultimately drive your sales success.
Make sure you start your shift or workday off at least twenty minutes ahead of schedule. This is a great discipline for anyone to observe. It allows you to arrive at work cool and collected instead of frazzled and rushed, and it doesn’t hurt to be perceived as punctual, dedicated and enthusiastic by those you around you. Develop a routine and practice daily rituals. No matter how small, good habits consistently observed and practiced will lead to bigger results and will ultimately contribute to your success. When practiced as part of your daily work routine, rituals put you into a prepared state.
Clients like to deal with other organized people and tend to choose salespeople who are busy, more professional, and use their time effectively. Make appointments with your clients to structure your day, and use downtime to invest in improving your skills, knowledge and strategies. You’ll quickly find that appointment-based clients yield a higher closing ratio because they’re more prepared for the appointment, and you should be as well—be ready to meet your client at the appointed time with all your research done ahead of time.
Once you’re past the greeting stage and are engaged with your client in the showroom or at your desk, then it’s time to practice the third and most important discipline of sales: Shut Up and Listen!
This is where you begin to win the client’s trust by listening carefully to their needs and concerns in order to respond appropriately to their specific individual situation. Listening is crucial, as the clues to the sale are usually found in the feedback you get from clients. You will learn the reasons for their choices, their priorities and the important features they may require. Give your full attention when listening, and probe for more information with relevant and high value questions. All clients are different and each deal is structured differently, so each customer’s needs and concerns must be given the individual attention they deserve.
The fourth key principle is all about how you respond to the customer’s questions or concerns. It may be more appropriate to advise than to sell; to offer choices and information rather than just hard selling and number crunching to convince a client to make a deal. Clients want to know that you’re listening, understanding and guiding them to a positive outcome with their best interest in mind. This may mean not closing the sale with every client, but leaving a good impression can bring referrals and future business—even from clients who don’t initially buy from you.
The fifth best practice, and an increasingly important one, is creating added value. We live in a service-oriented culture today, where clients are shopping for a value added experience in their salesperson and the product or service they seek. The bottom line here is that you must add more value than anyone or your competition in order to build raving-fan clients. Remember, value is perceived and can be different for each person, so always have a value proposition appropriate for each client. Value can be simple and low cost to you, but valuable to your client.
“If you add the value, you will become the brand. Find a way to add more value than anyone else does” – Tony Robbins
Understanding the client’s real needs, and being disciplined and committed to guiding clients the right way, is the sixth key principle. This starts, one client at a time, by practicing and developing ways to clue in on what your potential clients really want, and probing to understand their underlying priorities and objectives.
We’re all clients ourselves and are purchasers of other products and services, so you observe or gain this experience as a consumer yourself every day. It’s a small world, so leave every guest or client with the best impression every time.
The seventh principle involves your teammates or coworkers but still has a direct effect on your overall success. How you deal with clients also reflects whether you are a good ambassador for your company, product, and how good a teammate you are. Your clients will usually notice the pride you take in your company, product and teammates. They can sense if everyone is working together, helping and supporting each other and all focused on the common goal of creating a better experience for the client.
Too many salespeople, are more preoccupied with cashing a commission check than with providing the highest level of service for the client. A good sales professional focuses on the bigger picture, the client’s best interest and satisfaction. Taking care of the client’s interest first, while being a good company and product ambassador and a good teammate, will guarantee a much more successful long-term career.
Lastly, the eighth principle is leadership. Leadership doesn’t have to involve running the company or being the sales manager. It also means personal discipline such as taking responsibility and being accountable, while setting a good example for others through your actions.
Leadership is many things and can be as simple as being early for work to get prepared and organized. It is about raising the level of expectations and taking action to meet or exceed them. Leadership is assisting others in your company by sharing some of your successful methods and strategies to promote individual and overall company growth all while increasing your personal value. You can also demonstrate leadership through philanthropy—getting involved in the community and charitable causes. Personal success and personal leadership often involve taking the initiative as a private citizen to do something for the public good. The 42nd President of the United States. Bill Clinton.
EVEROLD REID is a Lease Renewal Advisor at Lexus of Oakville with over 26 years’ experience working in retail automotive industry, advertising and real estate marketing initiatives across North America. Throughout his career, he developed a set of proven best practices that propelled him to become a consistent top performer in fast-changing and competitive markets.
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