February 2018 – I left the comfort of a corporate job as a sales and marketing director with wonderful perks to set up my own business.
I wanted more freedom, more family time and less stress.
When you set up your own business, that’s the complete opposite of what happens.
May 2019 – I’m now in a unique position since I spend every week sales training companies so they get results. I’m also growing my own coaching and speaking business, so I have to sell every day to win new business.
I see people failing to generate enough sales all the time. If you work for somebody else, you miss target often enough you’re out of a job. If you run your own business and fail to generate sales, the consequences are worse.
I’ve watched several businesses collapse in the last year and many microbusinesses shut their doors because they didn’t invest in sales. They blamed the economy, Brexit, everyone except themselves.
To quote the great Mark Hunter, “sales is the foundation of your business.”
Here’s how to avoid failure in sales.
1. Ask For Testimonials
According to Nielsen, 92% of people will trust a testimonial from a peer and 72% trust a testimonial from a stranger.
The best time to ask is not when you deliver what you promise – that’s your job. It’s when you overdeliver for the customer. I ask “What value did you get, what surprised you, what did you learn and would you recommend me?”
Testimonials on your website also help search engines which gives a boost to your SEO.
2. Find An Inspirational Peer Group
Jim Rohn, the father of personal development said: “you become the average of the 5 people you spend time with.” Avoid energy vampires and people who whine about targets. Interact with positive people who care and push you harder. Success breeds success.
3. Always Be Learning and Growing
I’m surprised the number of people who ask me why I still attend sales events since I have 24 experience and a proven track record of achieving results. The results you had in the past don’t guarantee results tomorrow.
You need to keep learning, growing and sharpening your skills. I’m shocked how many people don’t read valuable salesbooks, attend conferences or listen to podcasts – they’re usually the same people who miss target.
4. Multi-touch points are Vital
LinkedIn is vital. So is the phone. So is face to face. Make sure you’re not just using 1 way to communicate. Research shows by making contact through multi-touch points ensures you are more likely to hit target.
I get over 100 emails, LinkedIn messages and Instagram messages every day. 99.9% I never hear from again and they lose the deal. 45% of your business is in the follow -up. It can take 6-12 attempts just to get a meeting so always follow-up.
6. The Power Of Living Is Giving
The best salespeople support their colleagues. They send thank you cards and birthday cards to clients. They help others without any expectation of return. Much of this crosses over with point 2. It reminds me of a wonderful saying I heard recently “the more value you give, the less you have to sell.”
7. Stop Trying To Sell.
I know this sounds ironic. Everyone keeps asking me “how do we close more deals” and “can you teach us different ways to close.”
Closing a deal is not that difficult.
Opening a deal, engaging with a customer, how to present, overcoming objections and structure is 80% of your work and waaaay harder.
- Always research a client on LinkedIn before you call them. What do you have in common, what achievements have they made, do you have any mutual connections?
- Spent time on their website reading blogs, news stories, case studies, see what makes them tick.
- Ask questions, especially forward-thinking questions. Where do you see your industry in 12 months? What kind of ROI would make you happy in the future?
- Repeat back the highlights of what the client has said to you since most salespeople are terrible at listening and always trying to push their own agenda.
- When you present a solution, cut back on your text, have more visuals, then cut back on more text, stop talking about yourself, then cut back on more text.
8. Never Give Up
If you care about something you never give up. You find a way to make it work.
When Everybody Works In Sales was rejected by 32 publishers and agent, I was told that most people who sell publish only sell about 100 copies, mainly friends and family.
5,000 copies later, it’s been in the Top 100 under Amazon Business an astonishing 16 times and helped launch my coaching career and more recently, my speaking career as well.
If you give up, you have no idea what great things you can achieve.A
About The Author
Niraj Kapur is an expert sales coach, keynote speaker and author of the Amazon bestseller, Everybody Works in Sales.
He’s trained hundreds of clients from SMEs to further education like University of Buckingham, to corporates like Barclays, Santander and Lyonsdown.
Niraj can be reached on + 44 7733179854 or email email@example.com