I started generating revenue for organizations in high school. My first job in sales was with Cutco 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 then on.
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 2+ 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 Always Hired (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 -- more on that in another article.
I’ve been selling since 2004/2005 and have seen tremendous success in virtually every sales environment.
How did I do this? Below I share the best Top 4 Sales Tips I can give to anyone.
In 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, given the rules of language in order to get an answer you first have to 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.
Stop thinking about what feature to share with your prospects and start asking yourself, what do I want my prospect to say and what question will make them say it.
Not to mention, people only believe 50% of what sales people say.
Think about it from a consumers perspective - if it’s cheap it sucks and if it’s good it’s expensive, but every sales person will tell you their product is cheap and good. That’s why we, as buyers, always think it’s one or the other.
Stop telling your prospects you’re the best. Figure out what series of questions you can ask them to make those words come out of their mouth. You’ll close them every time that way. Below are some very basic examples on how to start implementing QBS.
"Hey, do you want to buy? - No"
"Hey do you want to buy, we’re the best from the world? - Eh...No"
^ ---- Bad
"Hey I saw online in a new article you recently posted, you are looking to grow your business - is that right? - Yeah"
"Do you have a budget to grow your business or what's the game plan? - Yeah we do, blah blah"
"Ok, how would you define what you spend your budget on? - Some sales tools for under $100"
"Got it, so if you found a sales tool that could help grow your business and it was under $100 bucks, does that sound like the type of tool that would help you meet your business goals?"
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 all the ones below as examples of the right questions to ask.
Favorite Resource: Question Based Selling, by Thomas Freese.
Too often I hear reps handling objections by trying to prove their customer wrong. Or, by trying to give them more information.
“Oh you think we are too expensive? Well here is 3 reasons you’ll see ROI”
Even when your parents or spouse tell you do something - how do you 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 (both my parents are Ph.Ds in Psych.) and understand why you are giving me an objection.
Objections are signs of pain.
When you hear someone's pain, treat it with respect.
"I hear you" "I get where you are coming from" "That's understandable, thank you for sharing" are all examples of Empathy.
“Thanks for sharing with me your thoughts on our pricing. I can only image as a X 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 Selling
So once you understand the two above concepts you are ready to implement a basic consultative script. This is a bit basic and ideally for Inbounds but you should be able to use it for more use 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.
Present Product highlighting ONLY the features/needs the prospect mentioned. Nothing else. NOTHING.
Close on logistics
Here is how 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 - yall 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 so 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 actually really easy to get you set up, what’s your email address?”
“Makes sense. Well it’s actually really 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?”
Always getting better. In business (and likely in life) you are either growing or dying. You never stay exactly the same.
The same for us in our careers, we are either trending up or down - always.
You need to be your own manager. It’s not your bosses job to make you better. It’s not your company’s job either.
The only person responsible for your success is yours.
I remember, in 2008 I think, one of my bosses would make 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 - 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 their for 9 months.
Be a business athlete and watch your game tapes.
Favorite resource: Gong.io for calls or Outreach.io for emails
Want to meet up? Come say Hi at one of our events. Use Code ‘AHBlog’ for a sweet discount.
The online sales training videos on our Teachable will help you learn some sales skills as well as give you a preview of what our bootcamp training is like.
And if you're asking yourself: "How can I find a boot camp near me?" You can learn sales skills online because our sales bootcamp is virtual.
Want to be an inside sales professional? We will teach you strategic selling to help you break into tech.