37 ways to improve your sales skills

I can help you get more web visitors and warm leads… but you need to take it from there and “close the deal” with awesome sales skills. Schedule time each and every day to hone your sales skills by performing one or more of these tips below.

By the way, I’m just scratching the surface. Please include your sales-skill-improving ideas in the comments!

  1. Create flashcards of features and benefits. Drill through them by (1) memorizing them, (2) practicing the transition from the feature to the benefit, (3) answering with a benefit when a client asks about a feature.
  2. Watch videos in the SellingPower YouTube channel.
  3. Outline your sales funnel and determine what your prospects have already learned and thought about by the time they get to the sales presentation. Figure out how to make your sales funnel more successful. To help you perform this step, download the Sales Funnel Quick Reference Guide and the Sales Funnel Worksheet.
  4. Role-play sales conversations with your peers. Or, consider using case studies instead of role plays.
  5. Describe the mindset and potential questions that different types of clients have – the cold lead, the warm prospect, the enthusiastic repeat buyer, the skeptic, the prodigal client who left and came back, etc. To figure out how to effectively use mindsets in your sales, check out my blog post Sell more by mapping your content to your buyers’ mindset.
  6. Collect objections and practice overcoming them. Check out my blog post Objections are Awesome and this related YouTube video about objection-handling for insurance brokers.
  7. Shadow a more successful salesperson while they are making a sale
  8. Read Jeffrey Gitomer’s The Sales Bible.
  9. Set sales goals for yourself for the next 10 years then break them down to yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
  10. Identify the biggest challenges and fears and obstacles you have in selling and figure out how to overcome them. (You might include specific objection-handling here but I cover that in another point on this list. Instead, I’m talking about challenges like persistence, staying positive, internal resistance, a dislike of cold calling, or whatever). Be sure to include both internal challenges and external ones.
  11. Keep a sales journal and write in it every day. Record your thoughts, feelings, fears, and ideas each day. Include positive statements and motivational quotes that inspire you to sell. List your sales successes and failures.
  12. Find a sales mentor and meet with them at least once a month (or more often)
  13. Record a sales presentation (on video) and critique it yourself.
  14. Teach someone to sell.
  15. List all of the needs and pain points that your clients have. Make as big of a list as you can. Review past clients to see what prompted them to buy. Then tie each need or pain point to one or more solutions that you offer. Make sure you have memorized each pain point and can smoothly articulate which solutions are best.
  16. Read Tom Hopkins’ How to Master the Art of Selling.
  17. Create a list of low-pressure non-sales-related conversations starters to start up conversations with prospects and clients.
  18. Present your sales presentation to a peer and have them critique it.
  19. Practice your ability to carry any conversation and artfully turn it around to a sales pitch by having peers start a conversation about a random topic.
  20. Practice transitioning from a conversation into a sales presentation.
  21. Create a big list of fact-finding questions to ask prospects.
  22. Practice the flawless delivery of a sales presentation.
  23. Create a big list of ways to ask for the order (or however you define “closing the deal”).
  24. Review articles from SellingPower Magazine.
  25. Present your sales presentation in front of a child. Give the presentation in such a way that they understand what you are saying. Pay attention to when they get distracted (because your adult prospect may not have much more patience than that).
  26. Experiment with presenting with visuals and without, on the phone and in person, standing and sitting, in a large room and in a small room, in a short period of time and in a longer period of time, to a noisy crowd and to a rapt audience.
  27. List your top 5 most successful sales. Describe what made them successful (don’t just describe what you did well, but rather describe what you did well that was NOT present in your less successful sales).
  28. List several unsuccessful sales. Describe what challenges you faced and what made them unsuccessful. Brainstorm ways to improve next time.
  29. Watch videos in Jeffrey Gitomer’s YoutTube channel.
  30. Prior to making a sales presentation, list the goals you want to accomplish in the sale. (Not just “I want to make a sale” but something like, “I want to close the deal for $X.XX and I want to do it in 25 minutes.”
  31. After every sales presentation, review the presentation to determine how you did. Did you close the sale? Did you achieve your goals?
  32. Create personas describing what your typical client is like. (“Mary is 36 years old. She works in middle management at XYZ Company. She is a single mother of two school-aged children and she saves diligently for her children’s college education. She had saved a little for retirement but the recent recession wiped most of it out. (etc.)”
  33. Buy from a competitor then review their presentation afterwards. Determine the factors in your competitor’s sales presentation make them more successful, as well as opportunities you have to outshine your competitor.
  34. Next time you’re shopping for something (anything – from new shoes to a new car) pay attention to the sales presentation for that product or service. Analyze the salesperson’s presentation and determine if there are skills and techniques you can borrow. (You might be surprised at what you can learn by going outside of your industry).
  35. Tweak and practice your sales presentation for different audiences (for example, different industries or different levels of decision-maker)
  36. If you’ve never done it before, record your sales presentation and have it transcribed. Then read it aloud and silently, and have someone else read it, too. Find ways to say things differently and pay particular attention to verbal quirks that could distract rather than enhance your presentation.
  37. List the pieces of information you need to know about someone to effectively build rapport, uncover their needs, establish your expertise, handle objections, and close the deal. Create multiple questions for each piece of information you need and then practice incorporating these questions naturally into a conversation.

Got other tips and ideas to improve selling skills? Add them in the comments below! I’d love to hear them.

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