Starting In Sales: How To Set Yourself Up For Success
Mar 12, 2018
Just starting out and ready to earn your first commission? Discover my easy hacks to fast track your sales, confidence and success!
Have you heard the old joke about salespeople? “Salespeople have two modes of communication: talking, and waiting until they can talk again.”
That is one common mistake that salespeople make: talking and talking about the features and benefits of their products or their business… without bothering to learn their customer’s goals and needs.
And that, my friend, is one of the biggest hacks you can make on your way to sales and network marketing success: listen.
If you’re new to sales or network marketing, you will benefit from absorbing the wisdom in this article so that you get your business off to a flying start quickly and avoid the mistakes that will cost you business and lead to frustration. Here you will find proven methods to upgrade your mindset, and to learn the art of persuasion.
As you read through this article, keep in mind that listening is your greatest selling superpower!
Here are my top tips for sales success:
1. Make a Difference
What do you think about, when you contact a prospective customer or team member? Hopefully you don’t have visions of money dancing around in your head!
Approaching a person with a goal of making money off them is the quickest way to get a door slammed in your face.
Consciously and unconsciously, you will put out a vibe of desperation which makes people question your motives (do you really want to help them, or just dig deep into their pockets?)... and they will feel uneasy. Nobody likes to be sold to. They won’t trust you, and they will reject the deal.
The most successful salespeople don’t use “hard sell” techniques. They are not pushy, they don’t pressure people into saying “yes,” and they don’t use scare tactics to make the sale.
They act like their customer’s partner or advocate.
They strive to understand the person’s problems, and then offer them targeted solutions.
They ask questions with a genuine desire to make a difference in the person’s life. What is this person’s pain point? What is their problem? What are their goals, needs, and desires?
The motto of a successful salesperson is, “How may I serve you?” (Or… “What positive difference can I make in your life?”)
The most important thing to remember in sales is this:
Nobody cares about your product or your service.
They care about the difference you can make in their lives.
So approach each person as if they are your close friend and you genuinely want to make their life better. You will have much better results if you stop selling and start helping.
Never think of them in terms of the commission you will earn, but in terms of the benefits that you will help them experience.
Helping, and Selling Benefits
How do you know what benefits your customers will experience?
First, you have to know what problems they want to get away from.
Find out what your prospects’ biggest pain points and problems are, before you even mention the solution. Otherwise, you are pitching a solution to a problem that might not even exist.
Nobody wants to hear about your most amazing weight-loss product if they don’t need to lose weight. That’s obvious, but faced with the pressure of making money, many salespeople lose sight of that one vital wisdom: know what people need.
Here’s the thing: a product can be the solution for several problems… but if you’re targeting the wrong problem you will lose the sale.
For example, if your business is selling scented candles, you have the perfect solution for several different problems:
- A smelly room
- A cold atmosphere that lacks romance or coziness.
- A chaotic home that lacks serenity
But which problem does this particular customer care about? Have you taken the time to find out, or are you just guessing and hoping?
What is their specific problem?
Find that out, and help your customer solve it so you’re not trying to sell a freshly-scented atmosphere to someone who is meticulous about their housekeeping. A smelly home is not their problem. You will not make a difference in their lives by offering a nice-smelling home. But you can make a difference if they feel that their home lacks a warm atmosphere and your scented candles set the tone for a romantic evening with their spouse.
The key takeaway is to listen, and know what your customer’s pain points and problems are, before you say a single thing about your solution.
You will only make a difference in their lives… and make money... if you offer them a solution to a problem they actually have!
2. Believe In What You Sell
Do you believe with all your heart that what you are selling is a great solution to someone’s problem? If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
In sales, you’re going to hear “no” a lot. If you already have a feeling in your gut that your product or service isn’t worth the money you’re asking for it… then each rejection is just going to affirm that feeling, and it will sour your attitude.
That negativity is a powerful ‘vibe’ that people pick up on, and your results will be even worse.
If on the other hand you are struggling with selling a product or service you believe in and know has a lot of value, then it’s your approach that needs improving.
So what is your honest, gut-instinct feeling about what you’re selling?
- Do you believe in what you’re selling, as the right solution to a certain problem?
- Would it be your first choice?
- Would you gift it to people?
- Is it priced fairly?
- Do you and your customers perceive that it has high value?
- Finally… would YOU choose it, and use it?
People will sense your passion for a product, and they will also sense it when you are selling something you don’t believe in.
It’s better to stay away from any and all companies that sell products that you do not believe in 100% - that you would not use yourself.
Focus your energies on something that lights you up inside, something that you are delighted to share with others with the genuine desire to help make their lives better!
3. Learn About Sales
Take advantage of other people’s expertise whenever you can. There is no reason to try to become a great salesperson on your own.
- Find a mentor, either in your own organization or outside of it. As a network marketer, you’re in the business of helping people better their lives but if all you’re told is to “recruit 5 people and they will each recruit 5, and so on and you will be all set...” or “it’s as easy as talking to your friends and family,” you’re not getting the support you need and deserve.
- Potential advisors are everywhere. Even people who are not directly involved in network marketing can help you become better in sales: business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals in other industries can offer you valuable advice on sales, customer service, and most importantly, your own success mindset.
- Join professional organizations and become active on networking sites such as LinkedIn, where you will find amazing resources and lots of free advice by connecting with other sales professionals.
- Attend conferences and seminars, and take classes on the fundamentals of sales including relationship building, presenting your solution or opportunity, overcoming objections, dealing with rejection, and closing the sale.
- Follow up. The sale does not end when you have received your money. The sale keeps going through follow-up, customer service, and staying in people’s awareness so that they refer you to others.
4. Create a Buyer Avatar
Right up there with a commitment to making a difference in people’s lives, you need to know whose life you are improving.
There is no point in wasting any energy, time or money chasing leads who are not interested, and yet many network marketers will tell you that it’s easy to make sales through friends and family.
That is just plain wrong! Unless you know your audience intimately you will bang your head against the wall trying to sell the wrong thing to the wrong person. People who staunchly believe they do not need “self help” will not be interested in your personal development product, so why waste your time on them?
Your time is better spent connecting with a targeted group of people who are interested in what you offer.
Here are the simple steps for creating an ideal buyer avatar, which is a representation of your perfect customer.
- Create a negative avatar first. This will give you clarity about the people you know you don't want to serve as a customer and who are not a good fit for what you’re selling. Once you know who you don’t want to sell to, create your ideal customer avatar.
Then, create a buyer avatar:
- Consider demographics (age, gender, income, education, marital status, location, occupation, family size, religion, culture, and profession).
- Consider psychographics (values, interests, attitudes, preferences, goals, lifestyles). Example: values time with family, wants a healthy lifestyle, likes bicycling and travel, and has an adventurous spirit.
- Identify their problems: what are your avatar’s pain points? Example: doesn’t have time for (what they want to do), doesn’t know where to start, has not had success in this area in the past, wants to get rid of (...), wants guidance on (...).
- Know their buying habits: knowing your ideal customer’s buying habits will help you focus your efforts on the most effective ways to reach your audience rather than using a “spray and pray” marketing approach that encompasses every method known to mankind of spreading your message (this is a huge waste of time and money). Not everyone reads blogs… not everyone reads banner ads… not everyone clicks on pop-ups… and not everyone is on social media! Do do your research and find out where and how your ideal buyer likes to shop. What do they spend money on? Why? Where do they like to shop? How often? Example: spends a lot of disposable income on fitness - gym memberships, gear and clothing. Why? Wants to look good and feel good. Loves to shop in small boutiques but can’t pass up a good online bargain. Shops seasonally, or whenever there is a big sale.
- Use market research, feedback, and observation - not your opinions and perceptions - to create your ideal buyer avatar. You may want to target a certain buyer… but if your buyer and your product aren’t a good fit, you will need to change your approach and either target a different buyer, or sell products that your current audience is interested in.
- Your competition is a great source of information. Get on their websites, click on their funnels, and see what draws you in. What makes you want to continue? What grabs your interest? What makes you click away? Are their offers appealing to you? Do you feel like they understand you (the buyer)? Do you resonate with their message?
- Name your avatar and give your avatar a face: this humanizes your buyer profile and helps you refine it even further. If you are targeting both men and women, create an avatar for both, and give them each a name.
- Write a biography about your customer avatar. This is an important exercise that helps you get a complete picture of your ideal buyer - and gets you started on the road to using storytelling to sell. Imagine your ideal buyer. I recommend creating your avatar and writing a biography as soon as possible as a way to spark creative ways to reach your perfect customer.
- What is your avatar thinking before they became interested in this product?
- What is the problem they are trying to solve?
- How are they feeling when they are faced with their problem, and why?
- What are they hoping to solve or accomplish?
- How do they want to feel?
- How did they find out about your solution?
- What did you do to connect with them
- What did you do to establish trust and position yourself as a helpful authority?
- What made them buy from you?
- How did they feel once they purchased your product?
- What was their transformation (what was the difference that this product made in their lives)?
5. Do Not Take Rejection Personally
It is human nature to take rejection personally, even if the rejection has nothing to do with you.
Rejection is inevitable in sales, even if you have an amazing product and a perfect sales presentation… and even the top performing salespeople still hear rejections on a regular basis!
When you’re constantly getting rejected it’s hard to stay motivated. Enthusiasm fizzles, people pick up on that and wonder if your product or opportunity is really worth their time!
You will become a better salesperson if you cultivate the essential skill of dealing with rejection.
Don’t take rejection personally, but be accountable. A prospect or client is not saying “no” to you, but to the sale. However, you may want to analyze your role in the rejection:
- Are you handling their objections well?
- Are you making them feel heard?
- Are you focused on helping them (making a difference) or are you focused on making the sale at all costs?
- Have you outlined the benefits, or just the features?
See rejection as an opportunity to improve if “no” is the final answer:
- Ask for feedback. If you can find out why they did not want to move forward with a deal, you can anticipate the objections that similar prospects will have in the future.
- Track your rejections. Are your rejections increasing, or decreasing? If they are increasing, modify your approach (see tip #1).
- Leave the door open. If the prospect leaves feeling that they were heard, they will be more likely to remember you if they have a problem that you can solve.
Finally, do not allow yourself to give in to negative feelings about the rejection. Self-pity can be a slippery slope of negativity. Always see rejection as an opportunity to improve and get busy immediately on improvement and what you can do better next time, instead of wallowing!
6. Have a Strategy for Tough Economic Times
Market conditions do matter, but they don’t have to prevent you from succeeding, and this holds true even if you are selling luxury products or services.
Stay motivated by acknowledging that in a bad economy, it’s hard for anyone to sell, but it can be done… if your focus is always on helping and making a difference.
Always remind yourself that your main objective is to help other people to thrive, and people will have problems whether the economy is good, or bad.
The best strategy for surviving a tough economy is to avoid putting all of your energies into one product. Consider several various products that are suitable for diverse audiences. When one group is not buying, chances are that another one is.
7. Conquer Your Sales Fears!
The expression, "He could sell ice to an Eskimo," acknowledges that some people seem to be born salespeople… while others struggle with lack of confidence, fear of failure, and fear of closing the deal (the “ask”).
An important point to consider is that if you have any fears around selling, it’s not that you’re afraid of making the sale, you are afraid that someone will say “no” to you.
However, with the proper attitude, training and practice, you will become a top sales pro!
Let’s address the 5 most common fears about selling, and how you can overcome them.
Fear #1: You will be rejected. The reality is that you won’t be successful every time, but you can’t allow yourself to take it personally or to see the rejection as the end of the world. Always ask why (ask for feedback), so you understand the reasons for the rejection. Then you will be better prepared to overcome those objections next time.
Fear #2: You will make a bad first impression. Pay attention to your appearance and body language if you’re meeting a prospect in person or online conference:
- Be relatable to the customer in your speech, dress, and mannerisms. People are attracted to those who look and act like them. Your clothing should state that you are professional, confident and successful, but also show personal style.
- Smile a real smile, not a fake social smile. Make it real by reminding yourself that you are genuinely connecting with someone with the intention to make their life better.
- Make eye contact but don’t stare them down.
- Maintain an open and relaxed posture (no crossed arms), and don’t fidget with keys, pens or other objects.
Fear #3: You will be too pushy… and push them away. Here’s how to avoid coming across as pushy and aggressive:
- Focus on having a no-strings-attached conversation!
- Tell stories to break the ice and engage the prospect.
- Listen! Listening is your secret sales tool. To know what people’s needs, problems and values are you have to listen.
- Develop a relationship based on trust, before you even bring up your solution to their problem.
Fear #4: You won’t satisfy the customer’s expectations. Once you get a “yes,” will your product, service or opportunity deliver their expectations? This fear can lead to you questioning the value of what you’re selling and make you succumb to the “Impostor Syndrome.”
- Get testimonials from every single customer. Ask open-ended questions about how they are using a product and the results they are having, what they think of a service, and how they are taking on the opportunity.
- Ask for feedback! Say something like, “I am constantly looking for ways to improve so I can be sure my (product/service/opportunity) is meeting your expectations.”
- If you don’t have customers yet, consider giving samples to people you know and asking for feedback.
8. Secrets of Great Salespeople
Becoming a great salesperson is a matter of mastering:
1. Mindset techniques (focused on improving yourself) and
2. Persuasion techniques (focused on influencing the other person)
Many people don’t think about themselves as natural salespeople, but these tips will help you become comfortable selling.
This is the most important part of being great at selling. You have to develop the belief that you are a great salesperson...
… so my #1 tip is to stop thinking of yourself as a successful salesperson… and start thinking of yourself as a success. Period.
You are not in the business of selling a product; you are in the business of helping others achieve a goal. And, sales is just one means to an end: your ultimate desires and ideal life! To cultivate that service mindset, learn and practice these tips:
- Elevate your income ceiling. We all have an income ceiling, which is the upper limit of what we believe we are capable of earning. For most of us, it’s way too low to allow for wealth and success! Beliefs lead to behaviors, so make it a point every day to visualize yourself making more money than you are comfortable with right now. Repetition is vital to getting your mind to accept this new “limit” so you can take the necessary actions without doubt or fear… and you can always keep raising your limit as you build on your successes!
- Have integrity. When customers trust you, they will buy. A good reputation will encourage people to spread the word about you.
- Be transparent. That includes occasionally telling someone that your solution isn’t right for them, and people always respect that.
- Stay positive. Even rejections make you a better salesperson, if you’re willing to look for the reason behind the rejection and not take it personally. Every no is a lesson in communication.
- Be the authority. Know your product, service or opportunity thoroughly. Be prepared to answer all questions about your product or opportunity. Also know your competition and be prepared to point out the differences in benefits.
- Be prepared. Every rejection and objection is valuable feedback. What objections did you successfully overcome, and which ones took you by surprise? What could you have done differently to get a “yes”?
- Be genuine. Are you easy to talk to? Do you really care about your customer? Can they relate to you?
- Set goals and stay hungry! Your work ethic, energy and enthusiasm will help you succeed.
- Make your business all about being in service, or how you can make a difference in someone’s life.
- Take care of people, and they will take care of you. Support your downline in becoming successful. Network marketing is a people business!
- Listen! As the old saying goes, “you can’t learn with your mouth open.” Listening is a powerful sales skill. When a customer feels heard, you become a trusted advisor and they will buy.
- Keep improving. Constantly work on becoming a better listener, communicator, speaker, salesperson, advisor, mentor, and leader.
- Believe in what you’re selling. It shows! (If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, then drop that company and find another that product, company and opportunity you do believe in!)
- Relax! Keep a sense of humor, to help yourself get through challenges.
- Know your target market! What drives them to want a better life? What drives them to take the opportunity you are selling?
- Know your “Why”: what is your own reason for wanting to succeed at network marketing? Your “why” needs to be strong enough to motivate you through challenges.
- Never assume you know what people want. FIND OUT.
- Never chase friends and family. This is the worst thing you can do for your personal relationships so throw away that “warm market” list and instead create an ideal buyer avatar so you identify the exact market that is interested in what you are selling.
- Learn from others, especially your competition. Browse websites, social media and use what works.
- Become an industry expert. Write articles, blogs, or host podcasts to build credibility and trust.
- Contact your upline for help. It’s their job to support you! If you don’t make money, they don’t either.
- Persevere and never quit.
- Have fun. Attitude really is everything. Don’t be in a business that causes you so much stress that you can’t enjoy the moment!
- Always be helpful. Especially in hard times or in the face of rejection, remind yourself that you are here to help others and the right people will come to you. Nothing feels better than helping!
There are a few key persuasion techniques that will help you convert prospects and close the sale. They work on a subconscious level, and if you understand and use them properly, they will yield great results.
- “Foot in the door.” Ask for a smaller favor before asking for the big favor. Or, ask for a small “yes” before you ask for the big “yes.” Example: ask yes or no questions frequently during your conversation and phrase your questions so that the person is encouraged to say “yes” - this will prime them to give a “yes” when you ask for the sale. This subconsciously commits the person to saying yes, as a continuation of a cycle of agreeing with you.
- Authority: people look to authority to help them make decisions. If you share valuable content with your audience, and position yourself as a trusted authority (with the customer’s best interests at heart), you will make more sales.
- Social Proof: “If ‘everyone’ is doing (x) then I should, too.” When faced with a decision, people typically look at what their peers do, and act similarly. An example: people are more likely to contribute to a partially-filled tip jar than an empty one. If your Facebook post has a lot of likes, new people will like it.
- Reciprocation: if you do a favor for your customers, they will feel obliged to return it. Free gifts, including consistently offering high-value content, will make people feel indebted to you.
- Scarcity: people want things that are in low supply. It’s human nature based on our survival instincts! Eat now, or starve… the only caveat to this approach is that it only works in a limited fashion. People will buy once, but if you keep scaring them with scarcity, they will soon tune you out. A better strategy is to release a limited-time offer once a year, and keep the product at its regular price the rest of the time.
Here are some more rules of persuasion:
- Never beg, chase, and never use guilt, fear or any pressure tactics to get someone to buy. Instead, find out what their pain/problem is, and address that. Invite them to explore your solution. Don’t push it in their face!
- Narrow your marketing approach to the methods that work on your target market. You will need to know where your ideal buyer avatar hangs out, and how they like to consume content and how they shop.
- Be an interesting and value-based presence on social media and elsewhere on the web. That means, deliver value, not spam! People will unfollow you if all you do is sell. Tell stories instead, to keep people interested and engaged.
- Stay consistent. Post fresh valuable content regularly, contact a set number of prospects every day, and follow up every day. Establish a daily routine such as reserving an hour for prospecting calls, and stick to that routine.
- Provide value to your prospects. You are in the business of helping people elevate their lives - help them thrive first, and they will help you thrive.
- Over-deliver to your customers, and to your downline. Spending a little extra time and effort hand-holding can have a powerful ripple effect!
- Build relationships. Your first customers and team members help you create your reputation so nurture them.
- Stay top-of-mind through engaging content (storytelling) so you’re the first one to be recommended when someone in their sphere of influence has a problem you can solve.
- Demonstrate success by having a clean, professional and value-packed web site, including testimonials. People don’t buy your sales pitch - they buy results and they’ll be more likely to buy if others have.
- Learn about what triggers buying behavior: that means, identify the pain that your buyers are trying to get away from as well as the pleasure they are moving toward.
You can rise to great heights as a salesperson, whether you currently think of yourself as a “natural” or not. Use these tips to build your confidence, self-esteem and skills, so you can use sales as a way to live your dream life!
In this article, you learned the key elements of becoming a successful salesperson in the network marketing industry. You discovered:
- The top tips for network marketing success
- How to become a top-producing salesperson, including mindset (working on yourself) and the techniques of persuasion (influencing others).
You can enhance your selling skills even more by checking out “Selling Formula: Do You Know the Right Way to Sell?”... and learn how to increase your network marketing downline by 10x to significantly increase your commission checks in “Grow Your Team.”
You have made a life-changing choice to become a network marketer… and I’m here for you, to help you become a top producer, so you can live life on your terms!
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