30 Habits to Master Sales in 30 Days
Let’s not pretend that this article is going to make you into the perfect sales person. Habits, not a specific process or techniques, will help you find success in sales. More than anything, sales is about execution. In this post, I’m going to give you the secret sauce that took me over twenty years to fine tune.
What I’m about to share was learned by reading countless sales books and attending nearly every sales training program out there. I even became the CEO and Chairman of the National Association of Sales Professionals in my pursuit of perfecting sales. From this effort, I was honored as the 2005 National Sales Professional of the Year, and I’ve asked every sales leader for their secrets to create this list to help you succeed in sales.
From all of this research (and plenty of practice in the field), I’ve discovered 30 habits that lead to sales success. But before I dive in, keep in mind these fundamental principles:
- Never get caught selling
- Make the calls and you will close
- Make mistakes, learn from your mistakes, and never repeat them
- Strive to benefit others authentically
- Create a buying process, not a sales process
Each of the habits I share leads back to the five points above, and I’ll elaborate throughout this list.
Now, just as I would with any salesperson on my team, I challenge you to incorporate one of the following habits daily for the next 30 days. If you can do this over the next month, you’ll be well on your way to mastering sales!
1. Make it simple
Complexity kills sales. It’s your job to simplify everything for your clients. Break it down into steps so that you can get their buy-in at each part of your buying process.
2. Be the CEO of your own life
Our minutes become hours, our hours become days, our days become our month, our months become years, and years define your life. Focus on what you are doing now and what impact it is creating for your sales career in the future.
3. Stay focused, be intentional
Set a goal and commit to it publicly. Share with your clients, colleagues and managers. As you share your goal, others will help you create the habits necessary to surpass your goal. Creating accountability and responsibility for yourself is essential for self-motivated sales professionals.
4. Create the dream pipeline
Go for the gusto, get excited about your clients, and dream BIG! Figure out which clients you work best with and create a pipeline to focus on those worth spending energy on. Your results will increase as you focus your time on a pipeline worth expanding.
5. Define your personal brand
What defines you? How do people see you? Be deliberate in building your brand and creating an experience when you interact with customers and potential clients. I’ve met great sales people that are world class comedians, eclectic dressers, singers, or magicians. Some of them are known for choosing unique meeting spots, running triathlons with their clients, or inviting clients over for bocci. The best sales person knows their personal brand and how to create an experience while representing a product or service that they truly believed in.
6. Develop a plan to grow your network
Pick 100 people to connect with and start dialing. Focus on people who will help you increase sales because they know your future customers.
7. Make it a game
Life is a game, so have fun with it! If you love golf, then golf a lot. If you sail, take people sailing. If you love to cook, entertain often. If you love wine, invite potential clients to wine tastings. It’s easy to stand out from the norm when you bring people along for enjoyable experiences.
8. Think like your customer
Create a buying process around your customer so you never get caught selling. Connect with your customer, ask questions to discover their needs, and close only when your buyer is ready and interested. Once you’ve sold your product for a while, you’ll know your customers’ frequently asked questions and can share testimonials that demonstrate how others have overcome those obstacles.
9. Attitude is everything
Create an attitude of gratitude to multiply sales. Be thankful for people's time and have fun with it. Enjoy the experience of sharing a product or service you love. When you have a positive attitude, things will happen when you least expect it.
10. Be present
Actively listen, feel the message and be in the moment. When you enter a meeting, deliberately turn off your phone, clear your mind from other distractions and see what happens. You will encourage the same from your client by being intentional and setting a standard of respect.
11. Be yourself
Be genuine and share your true personality. People are naturally drawn to authenticity, so stop trying to be the person you think others want you to be.
12. Prepare or despair
Practice, practice, practice. Get good at asking questions and come prepared for every meeting. Sales success comes from knowing what questions to ask of who.
13. Manage your leads
Be realistic about the opportunities you create and move them on or out. Many sales people sell themselves on how great their pipeline is, but leads need to get moved out of the process if they are not qualified. Going for the “no” is part of an overall strategy to improve results.
14. Marry a process
Commit to the same steps each sales call. Find a way to understand where you are in your buyer’s process. Define your sales funnel by marking where you are in the steps of the funnel.
15. There are no gates, just gatekeepers
You are only a few conversations from anywhere. Our limitations and potential are only found in who we know. For example, I play a game with people in one of my workshops to show that we are each a couple calls from anyone. Through this exercise, we’ve connected with royalty, Bill Gates, Fortune 500 CEO’s, and Heads of State. The more you practice building connections, the easier it gets.
16. Question with purpose
Below are examples of different types of questions that will lead you towards the right outcome.
Ask questions to find out your customer’s thought process:
- “That’s interesting, why is that important to you?”
- “Good question, why did you ask?”
- “I’m glad you asked, how did you think to ask me that?”
Negative reversing — swing the clients towards a no, and they will often come back for the sale:
- It’s probably not the case here, but...
- Is it over?
- I’m a little surprised by your response…
- You're right. This wouldn’t benefit you, would it?
- I know you’re busy, did I catch you at a bad time?
- Let’s pretend I could do something. What were you hoping it would be?
- It’s pretty much a no brainer, huh?
Would higher quality candidates be of interest to you?
17. Gain agreements
Ask permission and recognize mutual agreements. You can assumptively close the sale when you ask something like, “is it ok if we move on from the design stage to define the business requirements?” The more often you can confirm a “yes”, the more commitment you have in the process.
18. Seek objections
Obstacles are created in our minds, and objections are opportunities. When someone shares an objection, it’s because they want you to remove the obstacle. Here are some examples of how to interpret objections and use them to your advantage:
“Your price is too high…We don’t need that… I’m already working with…”
Your response: “You must be telling me that for a reason, why is that?”
“Call me back next week... I’m too busy... I don’t have money...”
Your response: “What would happen if I could create the time or save the money. What does it take?”
Consider what objections you get often and prepare a response to open up a conversation rather than let them shut you down.
19. Know your stuff
Memorize your customers’ 50 most frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and always have answers ready for your product or service’s features, attributes and benefits. The reality is, most sales people know less about their product than their clients. But once you complete this exercise, it will strengthen many of your other habits and help you build expertise.
20. Know why your buyer buys
People want to be happier, smarter, healthier, richer, safer, secure, attractive, and successful. Find your customer’s primary reason and know exactly how your service or product does this for them.
How do you figure this out? Simply ask how your product/service would improve their lives. The buyer will then sell you on why they are a good buyer, and you’ll have the information you need to close the deal.
21. Learn how to Influence
Robert Cialdini defined these principles nearly 50 years ago and they have stood the test of time:
- Authority — people defer to experts
- Consistency— people align with their clear commitments.
- Liking—people like those who like them.
- Reciprocity —people repay in kind
- Scarcity—people want more of what they can have less of.
- Social Proof —people follow the lead of similar others.
22. Become a Storyteller
Life is a story, so tell a good one. People remember stories and details, and sharing experiences helps you persuade. Share the journey of other customers who have walked down similar paths and overcome the same obstacles. Learn to craft words in a way that allows people to imagine the future that your product or service can create for them.
23. Make it easy to do business
Remove friction and obstacles. Many clients and customers don’t know how to buy because the sales process is hard. Making it easy will automatically improve your ability to close. Imagine being able to buy your product anywhere on any device and you can explain how to purchase it easily. Simplify the process even if your company makes it hard.
24. Negotiate a WIN-WIN
Find out what people want and give it to them. In return get what you want — which is sometimes, if not always — something different.
Products or services usually have three variables:
You need to let your customers know they can only have two of these and the other won’t be favorable. Which two do they want?
Price and quality? then it will take a long time.
Quality and time? The price will be high.
Time and price? The quality will suffer.
So, negotiate a win-win by understanding your clients’ needs and where your product fits in.
25. Ask what’s next
Close sales by exhausting questions and making people comfortable with you. Asking them what’s next gives them control so they can take you where you want to go.
26. Define fulfillment
What does delivery of the product or service look like? Share the next 30 days and what will happen. Create buy-in and a process to keep things moving forward. Address what-ifs and mitigate risk by sharing ways to create best outcomes.
27. Pre-empt buyer’s remorse
Justify value and continue to build the relationship. Share testimonials and create community with your new client or customer.
28. Ask for feedback and referrals
Ask often and repetitively. If you ask, they will give them to you.
29. Follow up often
Use a CRM system and call weekly to check in. Find a way to continue to support your client and stay top-of-mind because your competitors will be knocking on their door daily.
30. Know the lifetime value of each customer
Lifetime Customer Value = Net Revenue X Average Years
Treat them accordingly.
Segmentation is a great way to expand your annual revenue when you know your next up-sell and where your next sale is coming. Often, it depends on how you spend time with your current clients.
Looking to go even further?
Once you’ve implemented each of these habits, you can go even further with some great sales books. I recommend:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Spin Selling by Neil Rackham
- Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
- Strategic Selling by Stephen Heiman
- Integrity Selling by Ron Willingham
All of these books create a framework for success that you can reference to find out what works best for you.
But if you’re looking for more in-depth, long-term support, CEI’s Founders Sales Series could be the right fit for you! Learn about this 4-course program here.