The Art of Selling: Best Practices

“Don’t sell the product or service, sell the experience,” says Roderick Jefferson, Head of Global Enablement at Oracle’s Marketing Cloud and former Senior Director at Salesforce. Jefferson believes that it is the salesperson’s duty to sell the experience of working with the company first and foremost. In his sales training, he stresses that customer service is not a department, but instead an attitude that sales leaders must possess. The best sales leaders are also the best storytellers who need to use their ability to tell a compelling story about their product or service..

A career in sales can be daunting but here are some time-tested tips that can help you excel in the field:

This principle states that 80% of the results will come from only 20% of the inputs. How do we apply this principle to sales you may ask? The principle suggests that 20% of your customers contribute to 80% of your sales. This means that salespeople need to identify the characteristics of their top 20% of customers and seek out other customers with similar characteristics. In doing so, salespeople may be able to add new customers who will contribute larger percentages of revenues. This Forbes article demonstrates how to use this principle to dramatically increase your business. In other words, always go after the top dogs.

  • Increase your sales velocity by reducing your sales cycle

As a salesperson, what’s worse than hearing a “no”? Customers who prolong the sales process with maybes and constant amendments to your propositions with no end in sight, that’s what. While the customer experience should be the top priority for any salesperson, keep in mind that eventually the experience leads to a sale. Acknowledge that, unfortunately, the customers who just will not finalize an agreement   actually do you a disservice by prolonging your sales cycle, and distracting you from other, easier (just as profitable) accounts. Show these customers that you mean business and request an answer by a set deadline. If your clients really admire your product or service, then they will pressure the close.

  • Cater to your customers

This year marks the first year where online Black Friday sales have exceeded $1 billion, suggesting that more consumers are foregoing the line and doing their shopping from their home. This figure suggests that marketing needs to work with sales to create an interactive, online presence for their product or service. Roderick works this idea into his sales training, and stresses that salespeople need to “speak the same language as their prospects, don’t expect them to learn yours.” He suggests using a creative approach, and says “Looking and sounding like everyone is a recipe for fewer closed deals.”

These best sales practices can now be a part of your arsenal, and should be called upon during crunch time.  Sales leaders like Roderick understand that sales success is based on knowing your customers and providing them with a lasting positive experience—one that is both scalable and repeatable.  

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