I started generating revenue for organizations in high school. My first job in sales was with Cutco selling knives. They ended up getting hit with a class action lawsuit for being MLM, but boy was it a learning experience. They paid me $17 per appointment, regardless of the close. Each appointment was 30-45 minutes. I did about 20 appointments one summer and was hooked on sales from that point forward. Controlling my schedule to impact my income was one thing I loved. Having more spending money compared to my friends was another thing I loved. And the sense of accomplishment when I closed a deal was the thing that I loved most. After I sold knives, I got into small scale political fundraising which I did for a little over two years before I transitioned into the private sector. I worked for Calfinder (Modernize), Breadcrumb (Groupon), and Main Street Hub (GoDaddy) before I started my own sales consulting company which eventually became AlwaysHired (Google). Just kidding Google has not bought us, yet. I’ve sold to SMB closing 2-4 deals a day. I’ve sold to Enterprise closing $100,000 - $200,000 checks with name brand logos. I’ve managed myself, reps, and managers. I’ve also managed up, CEOs, but I was never as good at that -- that's another story... I’ve been selling since 2004 and have seen tremendous success in virtually every sales environment. How did I do this? Here are my Top 4 Sales Tips that I can give to anyone.
1. QuestionsIn sales we already know the answer we want. It’s “Yes, I’ll buy” -- or something along those lines. So if we already know the answer we want, in order to get an answer given the rules of language, you have to first have do what? Ask a question. (See what I did there?) So in sales if we already know ALL the answers we want, what don’t we know? We don’t know the questions that will trigger those answers. If you get answer you didn’t like, it’s because…………...? You did not ask the right question. Right question = right answer. Right questions = right answers. You get the message. Stop thinking about what feature to share with your prospects and start asking yourself, what do I want my prospects to say and what question will make them say it. On top of that, people only believe 50% of what sales people say. So you have to be clever with your questions. Think about it from a consumer's perspective. If a product is cheap, it will likely suck. If a product is good, it's will likely be expensive. But every salesperson will tell you that their product is cheap and good. That’s why we, as buyers, always think it has one or the other and it can't possibly be both. Stop telling your prospects you’re the best. Figure out what series of questions you can ask them that will make those words, "Yes, I'll buy," come out of their mouth. You’ll close them every time. Below are some very basic examples on how to start implementing this. Salesperson: "Hey, do you want to buy?" Customer: "No." Salesperson: "Hey do you want to buy, we’re the best in the world?" Customer: "Eh...No." ^ ---- Bad Salesperson: "Hey, I saw online in a new article you recently posted, that you are looking to grow your business. Is that right?" Customer: "Yeah." Salesperson: "Do you have a budget to grow your business or what's the game plan?" Customer: "Yeah we do, blah blah..." Salesperson: "Okay, how would you define what you spend your budget on?" Customer: "Some sales tools for under $100..." Salesperson: "Got it, so if you found a sales tool that could help grow your business and it was under $100, does that sound like the type of tool that would help you meet your business goals?" ^ ---- Good Now when you go for the close and your product matches up with the two things the customer told you is important to them, what’s the likelihood that they’ll buy your product? You can differentiate the top 2 questions as the wrong question, and the conversation below as an example of the right questions to ask. Favorite Resource: Question Based Selling, by Thomas Freese.
2. EmpathyToo often I hear reps handling objections by trying to prove their customer wrong. Or, by trying to give them more information. Sales Rep: “Oh you think we are too expensive? Well here are 3 reasons you’ll see ROI...” Even when your parents or spouse tell you do something, how do you usually react? With pushback! It’s in our DNA. You say, "No," I say, "Yes." I say, "Today," you say, "Tomorrow." So if I really want to change your mind, I cannot fight fire with fire. I need to treat this like a therapy session (side note: both of my parents are PhDs in Psychology) and understand why you are giving receiving an objection. Objections are signs of pain. When you hear someone's pain, you have to treat it with respect. "I hear you," "I get where you are coming from," and "That's understandable, thank you for sharing" are all examples of empathy. “Thanks for sharing your thoughts on our pricing with me. I can only image as a [title] in [Y stage] company that costs and returns are a high priority. So does that mean if pricing was different, this would be the type of product your team would see benefit in?”
3. Consultative SellingOnce you understand the two concepts above, you are ready to implement a basic consultative script. This is a bit simplistic and ideally for inbounds, but you should be able to use it for more cases. It’s all about the prospect telling you everything they want. Selling is not about talking, it’s about asking questions, listening, and presenting options for the prospect to choose from. Identify Needs Confirm Needs Present Product, highlighting ONLY the features and the needs that the prospect mentioned -- Nothing else -- NOTHING Close On Logistics Here is what a talk track may look like: A. “Hey Gabe, glad we are chatting. I’m just curious, you’ve been doing sales for 10+ years, you’re clearly an expert in sales -- when shopping for the best sales acceleration tool what is most important to you?” B. “Oh that makes sense. So you are saying 1,2,3 are the most important for you because of X,Y,Z -- is that right?” C. “Totally, no wonder I keep see you/your company’s name online -- y'all know how to approach growth! So 1,2,3 is really all your looking for, nothing else -- and if you found 1,2,3 that would be the type of tool that would be optimal for [company name]?” D. “Well, it’s crazy you bring up 1,2,3 because we actually have this product that has 1,2,3, and Salesforce and Oracle are reporting a 30% increase in sales as a result of using it. Does that sound like the type of results you’d be happy with?” E. “Makes sense. Well it’s really easy to get you set up, what’s your email address?” or “Makes sense. Well to validate the ROI model for you, the next step would be diving deeper into this specific use case. Would Monday or Tuesday be better to do that?”
4. IterationAlways getting better. In business, and in life, you are either growing or you are dying. You never stay exactly the same. This is true for us in our careers. We are either trending up or trending down. Always. You need to be your own manager. It’s not your boss's job to make you better. It’s not your company’s job either. The only person responsible for your success is you. I remember, in 2008, one of my bosses made us record calls using a tape deck. Twice a week he would make a random salesperson play their sales call while he critiqued it in front of the entire sales floor. As a result of this process, I started taking my tapes home and playing them in the car. It was cringeworthy -- hearing myself ask the wrong questions or sometimes, NOT EVEN ASKING A QUESTION AT ALL. CARDINAL SIN. Also, does anyone else hate the sound of their own voice? I was the only person that took their tapes home, and in my second month, I started battling the #1 sales rep who had been there for 9 months. Be a business athlete and watch your game tapes. *Favorite resources: Gong.io for calls, or Outreach.io for emails. Selling doesn't have to be hard. We intimidate ourselves. We doubt ourselves. But by asking the right questions, having empathy, using consultative selling methods, and iterating, you can become a quota-crushing sales rep.And, now, if you're asking yourself: "How can I find a boot camp near me?" You can learn these sales skills online in our virtual sales bootcamp. Want to be an inside sales professional? We will teach you strategic selling to help you break into tech. That's all for now, Gabe
About AlwaysHired Sales Bootcamp AlwaysHired Sales Bootcamp is an intensive remote live instructor-led sales training program connecting hard-working and motivated job seekers with high growth technology companies across the country. Founded in 2015, it has 250+ alumni working at companies such as CallidusCloud, Google, Mulesoft, Okta, Yelp, Lever, Demandforce, and more. For more information please visit https://www.alwayshired.com/. For media inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.