Do you know the right way to sell? Follow this formula to help you earn more, work less and stay true to who you are.
The top 20% of salespeople earn 80% of the money. Great sales reps make it look easy - and fortunately, becoming one of those 20% is easier than you might think.
But at the same time… a recent Gallup poll found that more than 85% of customers have a negative view of all salespeople, and not just the stereotypical car and insurance salespeople.
So how can you aspire to be a great salesperson, while struggling with the negative image that salespeople have?
You can reconcile being extremely successful, and being likeable, and staying true to yourself, by always being in service and providing value to people. That’s the #1 secret of successful sales - and once you learn how, sales can become one of the most rewarding careers you will ever have.
Before I introduce you to the selling formula, you have to build a solid foundation of success.
Here is all you need to know to become comfortable, confident and effective in sales, whether you are selling a product, a service, or recruiting people into your network marketing organization.
Now is the time to start thinking big because if you want to make it big, you have to think big.
What exactly do you want in life? Write it down.
Only 3% of adults have written goals. Not surprisingly, these are the highest-paid and most successful people in every field.
Why should you write down your goals? Because when you write down a goal, you take it out of the realm of “dreaming” and bring it into the physical realm of “planning.” You give your brain a command: “this is what I want” and it gets to work identifying the opportunities, resources and people you need to achieve your goals.
Be sure to write down the income you want to earn.
It might surprise you that if you aren’t clear on why you want a certain income, you’re not going to achieve that income. There are two reasons for this:
Set “means goals” (milestones that help you achieve your ultimate desires) as well as “end goals” which are what you will be doing with the money, time and freedom you gain through network marketing.
You need to be clear on both types of goals so that you can stay motivated and measure your performance.
Do this process thoughtfully. Your end goals need to be crystal clear so that they serve as the “carrot” to push you through the hard times.
Your means goals need to be SMART:
Once you are clear on what you want, it’s time to hone your selling skills as a way to make those goals happen.
You have to sell yourself on the idea that you can become successful and wealthy through sales!
Attitude is everything! And where does attitude come from? Beliefs: “I can succeed.” “I can sell.” “I can achieve my goals.”
Pause for a moment and think about the goals that you have set for yourself. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “impossible” and 10 being “absolutely!” how do you feel about your chances of achieving these goals?
What do you tell yourself about sales?
The truth is, sales is about helping people. It’s not about you being an aggressive street hustler. If you are addressing the right audience, selling is easy. It’s only difficult when you are pushing something on someone who doesn’t want it!
Here are some mindset hacks that will help you become comfortable as a salesperson:
1. Change your self-story (tell me why you can)
Your self-talk is incredibly powerful and it actually dictates the level of success you can achieve.
The level of your success is largely determined by:
We all have a “perceived income limit.” Your income limit is the amount of money you believe you can earn. It may or may not be the same as the amount of money you are actually capable of earning… just what you believe is possible for you.
Many of us believe that we are worth more than what we currently earn, but we often believe that anything more than 50% over our current earnings is out of reach or unattainable.
The only reason you have an income limit is because you BELIEVE in it!
Your income limit has no basis in reality; it’s just an arbitrary number that you believe to be true for you!
If you believe you can only earn (x) per year selling, then you’re going to find it extraordinarily difficult to surpass that limit because beliefs create expectations, and expectations cause you to take (or avoid) certain actions. If your income ceiling or feelings of worthiness are too low, you will subconsciously sabotage yourself by not taking opportunities, avoiding talking to people and quitting at the first sign of difficulty.
Stop using “I can’t” statements and replace them with “I can” - start talking about success, service, and wealth as if it’s already part of your life. Whenever you come up against a problem, tell yourself all the ways you can think of that you can overcome it, even if those solutions are not practical - they may very well spark a creative solution you hadn’t thought of yet!
Also - to help create “evidence” to support your new self-talk, back it up with action. Speak, behave, dress, and communicate as though you are already successful and wealthy!
You can become more confident when you take the focus off yourself, and put it on service. Your motto needs to be, “How can I help you?” This transforms you into a person who genuinely wants to help others succeed. When you help others, they will help you.
Service goes beyond the Golden Rule (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”).
Being in service means:
“No” is not personal. Your solution is not right for everyone and that’s okay. Network marketing is not for everyone and that’s okay. Don’t make it a personal rejection. Rather, refocus on targeting your ideal audience - a percentage of which will buy from you or join you - and a percentage of which will say “no, thanks.”
If you are not confident that your offering is the perfect solution, neither will your audience.
Your confidence shows! If you find a reputable company with a great product or service, a solid business model and you feel passionate about helping people through this company, then you’re on your way to success.
Failure is not a real thing, except in your mind. Really! Quitting happens, challenges happen, obstacles happen, changes of direction happen... but failure does not... IF you are learning from what you did. Then the situation becomes a valuable teacher and stepping stone to success! Only you can choose whether you are becoming stronger and wiser because of what happened, or if you have failed.
Learn from people who have succeeded and duplicate what they do. Always look for ways to improve on this, of course, but don’t forsake the tried, tested and proven ways to succeed!
No matter what you’re selling, if you want to get noticed, you have to do something different. Customers and prospective partners have choices. What makes you unique? I highly recommend putting all of your focus on value. The more you can give, the more you will receive. Also, be you. People prefer to buy from people, not from anonymous companies.
Write down every single objection you have heard or can think of, and come up with at least two service- and value-driven solutions that you can present to your prospect. Also:
Mentally rehearse presenting these alternative solutions to your prospect.
Learn to anticipate objections and eliminate them before they arise.
Who said sales can’t be fun? You are helping people, you are meeting new friends, you are learning and growing… many network marketing recruiters will talk about the money, money, money (and yes, that’s one reason to become great at sales) but it’s not about the money. Honestly, more success will come to you when people pick up on your passion and happiness. When they see that you love what you are doing, that you are thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to help others and your quality of life puts a smile on your face… they will want some of that for themselves!
The easiest way to become great at sales is… sell to people who want to buy from you.
It’s so simple, yet so many salespeople waste their time and their prospects’ time by trying to sell something irrelevant to the prospect. How frustrating for everyone!
When you are selling to people who are interested, you never need to feel awkward or uncomfortable… you never need to use obnoxious high-pressure sales tactics. In fact, you never need to do anything but have a pleasant conversation!
The problem is simply that targeting the wrong audience will lead to poor sales.
You have a great solution, but make sure you are helping those who have a problem that fits your solution.
It sounds obvious, but the “just talk to more people” approach most commonly taught to new network marketers does not address the fact that your solution doesn’t even matter to the vast majority of humans! But, your solution matters very much to a select few, and those are the ones you want to target.
Before you present your product, service or business opportunity, know your ideal buyer. Target only those who are interested or predisposed to be interested, and don’t bother chasing the rest.
Knowing your ideal buyers will help you apply the right marketing techniques to reach them effectively, instead of the more common “spray and pray” approach of pitching to everyone you know, whether or not they are even remotely interested in what you’re offering.
Talking to strangers is one of the more intimidating elements of sales, especially if you are new to it. It’s important to be yourself… but also to adapt your style to the person you are talking to.
How do you approach people? Are you a confident, fun and loud extrovert who loves meeting new people and thrives on connecting? Are you a quiet, reserved and even shy introvert who prefers to be approached? Are you a little of both?
It’s an unfortunate yet common misconception that introverts aren’t as successful at sales as extroverts. They are!
Extreme introverts and extreme extroverts don’t succeed in sales as much as people who are somewhere in the middle - those who have learned to combine both introverted and extroverted tendencies. This is a skill you can develop.
If you can adjust your approach based on the person you’re dealing with, you will mirror their own style and preferences… and so you will connect and build trust faster… and be more likely to influence them and win the sale.
For example, let’s say you are interested in a home-based business opportunity. You’re a quiet, thoughtful person who needs to take time to consider all options. The person trying to recruit you is a boisterous extrovert who is overly friendly and gushes on and on about how great the opportunity is, why you will love this business, and why you need to get on board right now. He doesn’t give you a chance to ask questions because he’s too busy talking. You feel pressured, and so you try to exit the conversation as quickly as possible.
Sale = lost.
But what if the salesperson greets you calmly, and starts asking about you? What if she is more interested in you, than in telling you about the business? What if in the course of this conversation, you come to trust her, and want to partner with her? She gives you plenty of time to make the decision, she never makes you feel pressured, and she answers all of your questions with clarity and honesty.
Sale = won.
These are extremes used to illustrate that as a salesperson, you have to modify your approach based on behavioral cues you get from your customer, while still staying true to who you are. If your prospect is quiet, you need to be able to tone down your presentation; and if the prospect is fun and outgoing, you need to jazz it up a bit.
The ability to adapt your approach based on the prospect’s preferences is a key element of emotional intelligence. In this article you will learn how to develop that, so that:
Service is your main objective and you deliver it in a style that is appealing to the prospect.
Here is the process of determining how to modify your approach:
1. Observe them.
Note how they behave. Are they fast-paced or slow, loud or quiet, reserved or friendly, intellectual or emotional? Is their body language open or closed? Are they moving toward you, or keeping their distance? Are they making eye contact? Are they smiling? Their speech and body language tell you a lot about the way they like to be approached!
2. Mirror their behavior.
This is where you will need to modify your approach. If your prospect is loud and fast-paced, and you’re naturally quiet and reserved, you will need to speak a little louder and faster. If you’re relaxed and informal and the prospect is ‘all business’ and reserved, you will need to speak and behave more formally.
In this way, whether you are a natural extrovert or introvert, you become more of an ambivert, someone who has developed both tendencies and can adapt to the situation.
But don’t assume that once you’ve mirrored their behavior, that the sale is won. If they seem agitated or rushed, it may not be a good time for them to talk. Most salespeople get so caught up in what they're going to say next that they forget they are talking to a human being whose problems and priorities may be a distraction. Know when to back down and reschedule!
Did you know that 82% of salespeople are not attuned to the needs, desires, and problems of the people they talk to?
This is especially apparent in network marketing, where new recruits are told, “Just talk to more people!” Oh, sure… does that mean you can talk about scented candles to everyone and anyone? No matter how delightful your candles are, not everyone will see the value and you will waste your time and theirs... and perpetuate the “pushy salesperson” idea.
If you are using a script, use it as a guide only. Don’t rely on it. Memorize its key points, and then adapt to the situation!
It’s more important to ask thoughtful questions and listen with an open mind, so you can understand the prospect’s needs. Ask the right questions and don’t get upset if the conversation gets pulled in a direction that doesn’t follow your script. Simply adjust your message.
The interaction should not feel like a “sales pitch” but rather a healthy conversation about their needs.
Always remember… nobody cares how great your product or business opportunity is… all they care about is how it will make them feel.
Whenever people sense that you want to sell them something, the wall goes up and they will do everything they can to get as far away from you as possible. So instead, ask questions. Make them the center of attention. Make them feel heard and valued.
Curiosity is your best asset. Get curious. Ask about their lives, their needs, the products and services they're already using and what’s missing. Is what they're using now too expensive, not reliable enough, too slow? Find out what they really want. Are other products too expensive, or don’t solve their problem? Are they happy?
When you learn what your customers need you become a trusted advisor. You’re not trying to convince or persuade them to do something they may not want to do. You’re genuinely interested in them, and you want to make them feel happier… what’s not to love?
When you’re talking about your product/service/business opportunity, only focus on the features and benefits that you think will help the prospect’s particular situation.
Wherever possible, use the same words they used when they were describing their ideal situation to you.
In other words, reiterate the benefits in the prospect’s own words, not yours.
Follow this simple formula when you are creating your connection: feel, felt, and found: “I know how you feel. I’ve felt the same way, and here’s what I found.”
The “ask” is probably the most intimidating part of the conversation. Remember… you are here to help.
The easiest way to subtly encourage a “yes” is to keep the focus on your prospect and the benefits they want to experience, and invite them to do their research - that’s right, don’t invite them to buy or join… invite them to become more educated.
Many salespeople are terrified of this, thinking that people will find a better solution. While that’s true in some cases, it also shows that you have integrity, that you have nothing to hide, and most importantly that you have their best interests at heart. You will be amazed at how many people will buy or join immediately, without actually doing any research, just because you have offered them that option!
Human behavior is driven by six basic needs, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
Adapt your sales strategy to the two needs that your product or service relates to the most - and if they fall in the self-esteem or self-actualization categories, make sure you touch on the foundational needs too: how people will feel comfortable, safe, accepted, etc. as a result of using your product or service.
Use pain and pleasure to motivate decisions: pain motivates action away from the problem; pleasure motivates action toward a desired outcome. Either way, your solution (your product/service/business opportunity) is the thing that will help your prospect move away from pain and toward pleasure. Pain is, by the way, the more powerful motivator!
Storytelling is as old as humanity. Stories trigger emotions, help create empathy and connection, and they activate parts of the brain associated with the creation of experience: in other words, stories help your customer put themselves in the picture, achieving their goals using your product or service.
Let me ask you… do you know what you are really selling? Now, don’t answer with the name or description of your product or service. You see, nobody buys a hammer because they want a hammer. They buy a hammer because they want to connect two things. Nobody buys a book because they want to read words. They buy a book because they want to learn something, or be mentally transported to a fantasy world. Nobody buys a phone because they want a shiny rectangle to hold in their hand. They buy a phone because they want to connect with people who aren’t physically present.
So while features can be used to compare similar products and to help create an emotional desire, ultimately the customer is interested in benefits.
In other words, you are selling the solution that helps create the desired outcome.
Features tell the customer about your product, but ultimately its benefits make the sale. In your presentation, mention the features, but focus on the benefits of each feature.
Teaching positions as an authority, it also builds trust and goodwill. As you focus on educating your audience, you are no longer “selling.” You are teaching and helping. In their eyes, you are becoming a trusted advisor. Doesn’t that feel great? No hard sell, no pushing, no manipulation…
Just think of it this way: you are talking to your good friend about a problem they’re having. You happen to be an expert in the area, and you’re telling them about a solution you’ve found that could work for them.
Here’s a brief overview of some subtle techniques that will make you more likeable and trustworthy:
Finally, I’d like to touch on a few key things you must avoid if you’re going to be successful - and likeable - and true to yourself:
Having set yourself up with the foundation of successful sales, here is the formula:
Phase 1: Connection
Here, you have had a conversation. You have listened and you have learned what the prospect’s pain points are… and your prospect knows that you understand and care. You help them paint a picture of what their life is like right now.
Phase 2: Conflict
This phase introduces the problem. The more clearly you can describe your prospect’s pain to them (showing them that you understand and you care) and amplify the intensity the pain, the easier the transition to presenting your offering.
Warning: this phase of the presentation will only work if your offering is an actual solution to a real problem your prospect is having.
Phase 3: Resolution
In this phase, you paint a compelling picture of how you will transform their lives.
Example: life insurance.
In this example, the features are not mentioned. Instead, the salesperson takes the prospect on a journey where they can put themselves in the picture and imagine the possibilities.
1. “Life without the product”: financial ruin, stress, etc.
2. “Life with the product”: financial security, peace of mind, etc.
And that’s it! The formula is simple, and when you have done your homework and you:
1. Are selling to people who are interested
2. Are genuinely interested in their wellbeing and happiness
3. Have a solution that can help them experience the benefits they desire
… you will make the sale.
In this article, you have learned the basics of successful selling. First, you learned about the essentials of mindset, knowing your customer, and being in service. Then, you learned how to upgrade your mindset so you aren’t your own worst enemy. Finally, you learned the three-step formula to selling - when laid upon the foundations of mindset/connection/service, lead to massive sales success.
No matter the industry you’re in, no matter what you are selling, this is what you need to know to make sales your ticket to the life you’ve been dreaming of!
To learn more about selling, check out the article, Starting in Sales. To help your network marketing team meet and exceed their goals, learn to become the best leader who can build a solid team in Grow Your Team.
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