Sales success 101

Published On: May 1, 2012Categories: Management

There are many ingredients necessary for success in sales, regardless of the market your business serves. Here are eight keys to help you achieve your sales goals.

1. Determine the wants and needs of your customers first, then work backwards to develop the product or service.
Many times we make the mistake of showing customers products or services we like or offering things we have available. Only after asking probing questions and listening carefully to the answers should we offer suggestions. In other words, “To sell Jack Jones what Jack Jones buys, you need to see Jack Jones through Jack Jones’ eyes.” The quality of the feast is determined by the consumer not the chef.

2. What’s in it for me?
What is the customer really buying from you? By listening and understanding, we can close more sales by focusing on the benefits (results) and not only the features (characteristics) of what we’re selling. For example, if you’re a travel agent who sells cruises, by stressing certain benefits such as warm weather and relaxation, you get the customer to dream and really desire the cruise.

3. Add value to every contact.
We are all in business for the long run. To build a solid business, we must develop long-term relationships. To do this we need to show trust, respect and value. This can be accomplished by always thinking about what “extras” we can give our customers. To make the extras pay off, they need to be something the customer doesn’t expect. For example, after I finish delivering a seminar, I will give the person who hired me, as well as the attendees, an autographed copy of one of my books. By not expecting this, it provides them with the WOW feeling. Every time we meet they know that I’ll always be looking for more ways to give them more value than they expect.

4. Practice teamwork.
To win in selling, you have to be able to play on different teams and you have to learn to play different roles. For example, when I’m working with a customer, I become an extension of their team. If I can help them develop solutions to their various problems and concerns then I become an indispensable member of their team.

5. Watch your appearance.
Remember the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, everybody does. To make sure I’m on the right track, I dress in the parameters of what’s appropriate for each client. I’ve seen many salespeople lose sales because they let style get in the way of substance.

6. Focus on winning every sale.
Success is one customer at a time. Focus on trying to make a sale to every customer you meet. Never stop selling until the customer says either yes or no. You must be 100-percent determined to win. If you have the determination, you will do everything in your power to out-service your customer, outwork your colleagues and outsell your competition. Your determination creates strength; your doubts only destroy it.

7. Become an information resource to your clients.
Let your clients know that you can help them with any concern they have no matter what area it is in. If they need something or someone, find it for them. For example, someone recently called me about doing a seminar on increasing your memory. I don’t do this, but I told my client to give me one hour and I’ll find someone to meet his needs. By doing this I become a valuable resource for them. Now, if they need anything they call me first. This not only increases my value, but also gives me more opportunities for work.

8. Don’t overeducate your prospect.
Don’t tell the prospect everything. If you give too many choices or make everything seem too complicated, they will tend to “think about it.”

Arnold Sanow is a speaker, seminar leader, consultant and author of six books that include, Marketing Boot Camp, Get Along with Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime … 8 keys to creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers … even kids and Present with Power, Punch and Pizzazz. He can be reached at 703 255 3133 or at His email address is