Sales can be a big scary word for many but doesn’t change the fact that it is the world’s most important skill. Everything in life is sales. Getting a job – you’re selling your skill-set. Friendships and relationships – you’re selling your social value to others. Having success at work depends on you selling your ideas and performance at the job.
Long story short, sales is not solely about going door to door and selling a product nobody needs. Sales is what we do in our everyday lives. And some enjoy it so much and are so good that they make a career specialization of it.
In this learning path, we’ll focus on Sales as a skill rather than a formal training program. It’ll be how to be a better salesperson in every aspect of your life and career. Then if you’re interested in a sales position, entrepreneurship, or using it in your career, we’ll help there as well.
We will be as quick as possible with the sales fundamentals. This is a skill you learn in the field and through experience. However, you also don’t want to get started with no idea how to be successful. This section will give you some instruction and guidance so you feel comfortable selling, no matter what your role or reason. Here’s how and where we’d learn…
We’ll start off our Sales Fundamentals section with a general sales course that gives you introductions into modern sales. It will cover general strategies, connecting with customers, and the process of achieving a good result.
After this course, we’ll start to break down the components of sales one by one. But this is a great place to start… Close Prospects | Sales Strategies for the Average Joe
Just like we do in our General Marketing Learning Path, we want to start with persuasion as a general topic. That’s what sales is all about… getting people that ordinarily wouldn’t buy your product to be persuaded to do so. All persuasion is different. Some people are in the market for your product but you need to convince them yours is better than the competitors. Others aren’t aware of what your product is. And others are averse to your offer but capable of being persuaded.
As a salesperson, you need to reach all three groups and those in between. Persuasion is the skill needed more than anything. Harnessing the Science of Persuasion is a world famous case study that goes deep into developing your persuasion skills.
This topic is similar to persuasion but gets into the heart of why customers buy a product and how salespeople can play into that. Nobody wants to be sold something they don’t want and are wary of the salesperson bothering them with exactly that. So you need to learn the psychological benefits to approaching them and selling in a way that fits basic human psychology.
We couldn’t narrow this down to only one course because both are so well reviewed and cover different areas of sales psychology. So we like taking both courses: Sales Psychology and Busting Buyer Beliefs that Stop Sales and Millionaire Mindset of Sales – 21 Cognitive Biases.
Ok, it’s time to start thinking a bit about how to go into the market with an effective strategy. By now you should understand the basics of selling and persuasion and how to overcome customer psychology. But how do you find the customer and then convince them that your product is best?
Before you even identify specific leads, you need to do research on who your customer is and be very clear about how you’ll target them. Being strategic is crucial to having good sales performance.
No need to be obsessive in this phase but it’s also quite important you don’t overlook it. So we have a few articles to help you consider the best research and targeting options…
Now that you have a plan and have targeted prospects, you want to identify leads. A lead is registered when someone shows interest but hasn’t yet purchased your product. There’s a lot of garbage content out there on leads so we want to be precise about how we guide learning in this subject.
The first thing to understand is that you can generate leads anywhere, however, every business is different. A local child care service might contact people in the community directly. An enterprise software company might seek leads on LinkedIn based on the company size, company type, and buying decision-maker. An e-commerce store might rely on email, SEO, and social media. All these examples find leads in very different ways, using different channels, and use different processes to convert these leads.
Thus we’ll discuss this generically and allow you to apply the strategies and processes to the unique situation you find yourself selling for. Let’s examine some strategies to manage your sales leads as effectively as possible…
Once you get in front of your prospects and leads, the pressure is on. You need to deliver a quality presentation of your product/service, why they should be interested, anticipate their objections, answer questions, and more. You need to be informative and persuasive. You need to build a relationship but also push to close.
Sales presentations can take on many forms and sometimes aren’t even necessary at all. But How to Sell Your Product or Service and Detailed 16 Step Guide to an Irresistible Sales Pitch are great sources to get you started.
Think about it… what are the chances that the first time you talk to a potential customer that they will be ready to say yes and buy? That this is the exact moment they need the product? That they will forego any research or comparison? That they won’t take time to think about the benefits? That they won’t need approvals (assuming B2B sales)? That they will have the money ready to purchase?
The vast majority of sales don’t occur at the sales presentation or even in the first few meetings. Thus a great salesperson will follow-up consistently to achieve the sale. So what are the best ways to ensure your follow-ups hit the mark? Take a look at Dominant Follow-Up Strategies for good ideas.
Any astute buyer will negotiate with you on some aspect of your offer. The common thought that comes to mind is price and of course this occurs often. However, customers negotiate on many terms. They might have objections with the offer (not all products/services are in a finished state and can be modified). It might deal with the delivery of the product/service. Maybe they need certain customizations or additional features. Perhaps they have certain contractual term demands and service level agreement proposals.
A salesperson thus needs to be a top-level negotiator. We’d suggest Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills and Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.
Closing should be pretty self-explanatory but can often be the toughest part in the sales journey. By now you’ve established a sales funnel with a variety of prospects and leads. Some have dropped and some have been the recipient of sales presentations and follow-ups. The key is to get that final yes and close the deal.
Closing requires aggressiveness in sales. It requires all the things we covered in terms of persuasion and consumer psychology. And some have mastered it. So how can you do the same? Check out Closing Sales Techniques and The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales.
Any salesperson that treats their customers as a number to be discarded after closing won’t last long. Almost any salesperson will tell you that the greatest source of future sales comes from existing customers. Once you have a customer and a professional relationship, they can refer you to others. They can buy other products/services from you. At some stage, you may need them to upgrade, renew, or sign a new contract with you. And sometimes closing the sale isn’t the end of the sales process, as you still have to deliver and manage that account.
We don’t have any special source on this one, as every post-sale relationship will be very different. However, you should put as much time and care into this phase as all other others in the sales life cycle. Some salespeople are so good at this that they get a lifetime of sales (and never have to find new prospects). Be that go-to person for your customers after the sale. Expand your relationship beyond shallow sales interactions. And be a trusted source. You won’t regret allocating 20% of every day to your post-sale customers.
So much of sales is getting the confidence to makes a sales pitch, present value to leads, and ask for the deal. When this becomes second-nature to you, you’ll start succeeding more often. So we encourage you to build experience before going for a serious job.
Likewise, you want to boost your resume with measurable sales accomplishments. That’s why people hire. So we have easy ways to build experience in our article:
We commend you for your choice to learn sales skills. This will help you take the next step up in your career. But how can you turn skills into real job outcomes?
The following guides will help you apply your new skills and see significant career benefit…
It’s pretty tough to differentiate yourself in the job market. But now that you’ve learned a valuable new skill, we think you can do it with your resume.
For more information and to sign up, visit our Building a Top Resume Guide Page
Cover letters are the first thing employers will see when you’re applying to them. So you certainly want it to look good and make a strong case for you to get the job!
For more information and to sign up, check out our page Writing Amazing Cover Letters Guide
Now that you have better qualifications, it’s time to PROVE it to employers. This is what they love even more than resumes! Portfolios are your edge compared to other applicants.
The Portfolio Guide will help with…
For more information or to sign up, visit our page – Creating a Professional Portfolio Guide
The interview is the equivalent of closing the sale. This is when you’re getting more personalized and thus requires substantial preparation.
Here’s what this guide covers…
For more information or to sign up, visit our page Owning the Interview Guide
Everyone should know how to do a business proposal but few do! Yet it’s so important to advance in your career (job applications, bidding on work, proposing ideas, etc).
For more information or to sign up, visit our page The Business Proposal Guide
Sales can be a freelancer’s biggest challenge. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. We’re here to help! This guide will help you improve with:
For more information or to sign up, visit our page – Increasing Freelance Sales Guide
Rather than go from gig to gig, you can do better. Your freelancing can be built into a full business and earn much better, more consistent revenue.
This guide helps the freelancer:
For more information or to sign up for this guide, visit our page at Freelance Gigs to Lucrative Business Guide
Now that you’ve improved your sales skills, it’s time to focus on how to write them specifically. What do employers look for when hiring salespeople?
This guide is one of a kind… we don’t know of anyone else providing such specific advice! And best of all, it’s super cheap! For more information or to sign up, check out our page:
We want to work with YOU directly. What can we focus on?
For more information or to sign up for a time slot today, visit our page Reverse Tide Personalized Career Services