5 Sales Tips for Today’s Rep

Guest post by Craig Wortmann

In today’s competitive business environment, everyone has sales tips on how to be better at sales and how to be a successful sales person. And they’re all good pieces of advice. However, if you asked me to provide 5 sales tips for today’s rep, I’d tell you to do the following:

1. EMBRACE A SYSTEM.

Some of the tools your company provides may give you a framework to be productive. But the responsibility falls upon you to determine how best to use that system to your advantage. If you are tasked with about 80 outbound calls per day, break that goal down. Use your CRM to manage the necessary data, but don’t be afraid to get “elementary” about it.

If you’re having trouble picking up the phone to make that dial goal, for instance, try this: Take a clean sheet of paper, create 80 empty boxes and check them off with each single call you make. Your new goal is to check all of the boxes instead of making a $10,000 sale in one day. Learn to connect a task with an intentional action to accomplish it. The system is your own, but you have to figure out how to use it.

2. DON’T MAKE A PROMISE YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO KEEP.

Sure, your goal is to sell a product or service. Your paycheck likely depends on it. You ultimately want to provide a solution and you want to anticipate objections when your prospects raise them. But promising to deliver something you know your team cannot deliver is a recipe for failure. Even if your account manager or customer service rep will be handling the actual delivery to the customer, assume that you will be handling delivery during your sales conversation.

If you know your team can’t deliver or you wouldn’t want to implement the project yourself, then don’t make that promise to your customer. The breakdown between sales and customer service can be ugly. Making promises and actually delivering on them can be two very different things.

3. DEVOTE TIME TO MANAGING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE.

Social networks have changed the way we both buy AND sell. Customers have access to more information in the buying process than in the past and sales people have access to those customers via social networks. Even though your company may have a strong social media presence, think of yourself as a micro-marketer.

Add a professional image and tagline to your LinkedIn profile. Use links in your profiles that communicate how prospects can reach you. Upload content that helps your prospects and customers reach a decision. Don’t pitch your product. Educate and teach your customers about your product or service. Look for new angles and experiment. Spend 15 minutes a day thinking about your own personal social media strategy and learn from your experiences.

4. OWN YOUR STORY.

We all have a story. Do you know what yours is? When someone asks you the question, “What do you do for a living?”, do you have a compelling answer?

You might think your story is “boring” or “average.” I assure you, it’s not. You just haven’t learned how to frame it and communicate it. The trick is to find a balance between oversharing (telling your life story) and being too short (“I’m in marketing.”).

You will hear the “What do you do?” question more than any other in your lifetime. It’s essential to have an answer that takes conversations to the next level.

5. NEVER STOP LEARNING.

OK, so you met your sales target last quarter. And you’re well on your way to meeting your sales target early this quarter. That’s great! But don’t be complacent.

The sales landscape can change rapidly and it’s important to keep tuning your skills. Sales blogs and articles can be helpful, as long as you’re reading ones that provide advice you can implement. Set up an RSS reader and dedicate one folder to blogs that you can scroll through each morning for 15 to 20 minutes during your commute or while you sip your cup of coffee. New strategies and ways of thinking will reveal themselves. And don’t forget to share the wealth with your coworkers!

Craig Wortmann is the founder and CEO of Sales Engine, a company that helps firms build and tune their sales engine. He is also a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and author of “What’s Your Story?: Using Stories to Ignite Performance and Be More Successful.” You can find Craig on Google+ and Twitter.