In order to be effective at selling anything, you need to know what you are selling, have a focused target, and a heart for your customer. But what really separates the best salespeople from the pack? Their sales mindset. They are motivated to sell. They fundamentally identify with the product or service they are selling, they follow the company’s sales process, and they know the follow-up after the sale is the most important aspect of the relationship.
10 Steps to Develop Your Optimal Sales Mindset
The main thing to understand is that a lot of good selling practice is about changing the way that you think about your customer. It might seem uncomfortable at first, but trust me, it works. The more you practice these new ways of thinking and responding to your customers, the more successful you’ll be at selling. How can you get the right sales mindset? Follow these ten steps to gain the optimal sales mindset and become a selling machine.
1. Clearly Understand Your “Why” Story
Great sellers understand why they sell a product/service and how it will genuinely help their customers, which builds authenticity with the customer. They eliminate complexity. They emphasize how the product or service is cheaper, better, faster, or smarter to motivate customers to buy. This is also known as the unique selling proposition.
2. Reject the Scarcity Mindset
Embrace a sales mindset that there is plenty of business for everyone. You should tell yourself, “Even if this sale doesn’t work out, there’s a line of customers behind this one that might need my solution. I was trying to help you.” If a customer doesn’t have the budget right now, don’t push. Thank them, and keep it moving. Certainly, keep the relationship warm in your CRM, but shut down your pursuit and move on.
3. Qualify Your Customers
Time is your most valuable asset when it comes to sales. Qualify your customers before you invest in proposal development or even an in-person visit. You only want to focus on good opportunities, so that means not spending time on opportunities that are shaky. There’s an art to judging whether an account is worth your time. But in many cases, a few pointed questions should clarify if an opportunity is real. Start with, “What is the budget for this project?” A customer with no budget parameters is never a good sign. Either you are too early in their buyer journey, or you are one of many, and they are really just shopping price. Always ask who will be attending any pitch meeting, and find out if they have a timeline or how the decision will be made. Be draconian about cutting off unproductive conversations with shaky potential customers. But don’t be rude. Think about it like this: even if you end up closing a shaky opportunity, a customer who is a bad target will probably be a bad customer. Every good salesperson should have 3-5 good ways to end a call politely. Try one of these next time.
- Announce you have a hard stop
- Say you need to step into a staff meeting
- Say someone just wanted into your office and you must go.
- Blame the kids or an elderly parent: “I must jump off to go pick up my son or daughter or mother for a doctor’s appointment.”
Always close by offering yourself as a resource when he or she is ready to move forward.
4. Focus on Helping NOT Selling
People with the optimal sales mindset ask targeted questions to understand if their solution is appropriate for the customer. There is a difference between wanting to help verses wanting to sell. A seller with the right mindset will put themselves in the shoes of their customer. They internalize the value and benefits of what they are selling. They show empathy to the target customer. They are not afraid to walk away if what they are selling isn’t an appropriate solution for the customer.
5. Have Your Clients’ Best Interests at Heart
The best salespeople have ultimate integrity. The only difference between manipulating someone and persuading someone is intent. The best-sellers are clear that their intent is to serve the customer. Have your client’s best interest at heart.
6. Sales is a Numbers Game
The best salespeople are always selling. Effective sales is all about maximizing your sales activity. You must set aside time every day to do sales. Maximizing activity is the best way to close deals. Sales productivity should be priority one. Use marketing automation software such as MixMax, Pipedrive, or Nimble to boost your sales impact. Just keep it personalized. One of my favorite former salespeople used to say, “Magic happens on the phone.” So the more calls you make, Zoom meetings you schedule, emails you send, demos you preform, proposals you prepare, and LinkedIn connections you make will drive more sales and up your close ratio. Prepare a call list or target list and set aside time for sales activity. Get a verbal commitment, and sale commissions will follow.
7. Focus on What You Can Control
Don’t let your fear of rejection harm your sales effort. Focus on just having a great attitude and putting forth your best effort. No prospect would be on the phone with you or allowing you to take them through your demo if they didn’t have some intent to buy. Don’t think of it as being impolite to ask for the business. Think of it like you are being respectful of their time. Get to know your customers, and don’t ever respond negatively to rejection. No often means not yet, so keep a friendly disposition. If you think about it like you are providing a service, you’ll keep the rejection in perspective.
8. Actively Listen
Listening is a fundamental skill of an optimal sales mindset. We all have one mouth and two ears for a reason. You need a listener mindset to learn the intricacies of what your customer is dealing with in real-time. Effective listening involves reading between the lines and paying attention to what your customer isn’t saying. They might not always tell you the full scope of their issues, so you need to get your own background info. To understand client needs, do research on what issues matter to your customer and go where your customers gather, such as trade association meetings, FB Groups, and other online forums.
9. Build Trust
People do business with people they like, know, and trust. To cultivate trust, follow these simple rules. Don’t sell your customer anything that is not in your customer’s best interest. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. Always tell the truth– even if its bad news. Don’t hold back; any half-truths will eventually come out. If there are service issues after the sale, stay in the loop and get them fixed quickly. Pay attention to small things. Remembering personal details shows you’re engaged and that you respect your customer as a person. Use a CRM system to keep track of personal details as well as your business sales data.
10. Failure Is Part of Success
You will not have a 100% close ratio. No one can win all the time. View losses as lessons and keep it moving. You must see rejection as part of your longer-term sales strategy. You need to develop a muscle for it. Eat ‘No’s’ for breakfast. Don’t let anything cause you to lose your enthusiasm or passion. Always analyze why you didn’t win a contract, and research the competition who beat you. Check out their website and social media marketing efforts. Ask your client for a copy of the winning proposal so that you can learn. Who knows? They might just give it to you.
Starting with an optimal sales mindset is an important first step in becoming an effective salesperson. Don’t sell if it doesn’t make sense. Active listening is your best skill to work on. Ask great questions, and then they sit back and listen. Show up ready to close business. Then, once armed with information, offer solutions that are in the best interest of the customer and not your commission. Take the time to build long-term relationships. It will serve you throughout your career.