17 Apr How to Be More Competitive in Sales
Sales is a competitive industry that can either be thrilling or exhausting, depending on your mindset and daily focus.
For some people, it’s too cutthroat. For others, it comes off as scammy (think of a stereotypical car salesman or billboard lawyer). Some people love the challenge of sales and competing to be the best, while others shy away from it.
Regardless of how “talented” you feel you may naturally be at sales, there are twelve choices 100% in your control that when made, can make you more competitive and successful in a sales role.
Only 2% of sales are made during first point of contact according to IRC Solutions. Roughly 80% require 5+ touchpoints to close a sale. Many salespeople make one outreach and then stop, and by doing so, they’re losing valuable opportunities. Having a consistent outreach and follow-up system for prospects creates a competitive advantage.
Facts tell. Stories sell. We are “wow’ed” by statistics, but not always moved to action by hearing them. I mean, how many people know the dangers of driving and texting and still do it? Thousands. On the other hand, if you tell a compelling story – one of heartbreak or one of overcoming a prospect’s challenge – you have a much higher chance to convert that prospect to a client. Know your statistics, but equip yourself by investing in storytelling skills.
BE A HELPER, NOT THE HERO
We all love to be the main character. We love the idea of being the hero who saves our prospects’ business from sure doom. In reality? Our client doesn’t need a hero – they need a solution and someone who is willing to help them implement it. Donald Miller teaches the importance of why we should aspire to act as guides instead of heroes in order help clients. Focus on helping a prospect instead of being a knight in shining armour to save the day.
Your job as a salesperson is not to sell products – it’s to provide solutions to a needy prospect. That’s it. Many people have a poor image of salespeople because they think of someone just trying to get money from you instead of what a great salesperson is. A great salesperson is someone who looks to provide value and solutions to someone needing help. Enter every sales conversation with the intention to add value instead of cash grab.
WORK YOUR PIPELINE DAILY.
Consistency is the key to success. It’s better to spend 5-15 minutes every day reviewing your pipeline and adding prospects than to do it once a week or twice a month. The consistent habit will keep you in a continual pipeline-growth mentality and also make sure outreach, follow-ups, and communications with prospective customers don’t fall through the cracks of a busy day-to-day schedule.
BOOKEND YOUR DAYS WITH PROSPECTING
My friend Marcus taught me how powerful bookending your days with your most important business activity can be. He spends the first 30-60 minutes and the last 30-60 minutes of every workday making sales calls.
It’s no wonder that he’s one of the highest producers in every company he’s been part of. When I started my first book, I made sure to start every morning writing 500+ words. The habit helped strengthen my “writing muscle,” and made sure that I got my most important work for the day finished before I dove into my to-do list. When we set a consistent schedule to tackle our most important business activities to start and end each day, we keep our focus on the most important work and can consistently make progress.
PRACTICE YOUR SALES PITCH EVERY DAY
You can’t get better unless you’re consistently getting reps. Not only am I working my introductory and value-positioning sales conversation daily, I’m also looking for ways to practice stories I’d use on-stage as a corporate keynote speaker. The more reps I can get in during a week, the more effective I can be at communicating my messages. How can you create 5-10 minutes every day to improve your pitch?
REVIEW EVERY WIN & MISS
When was the last time you sat down and evaluated a pitch that went wrong? Today? Last year? Never? Many people get caught up in going from rejection to rejection or win to win so quickly that they never take time to evaluate
- What did I do well on this presentation?
- What can I do better next time?
- What did I learn about the client/pitch/myself this time?
These three questions take just a few minutes to write down – but can be what creates a competitive advantage in sales because every conversations becomes a growth opportunity. This puts you into a continual phase of progress toward your best abilities.
No one succeeds alone. Find a mentor. Hire a coach. The best in any industry have a coach to help guide them, hold them accountable to doing the work and support them. Take sports for example. While Michael Jordan was already the best player in the game, he hired Tim Grover as his trainer to help him become even better. Kobe Bryant did the same thing. Even if you believe you’re the best in your industry right now, you have room to get better. And if you believe there’s a long ways to go to becoming the best, make time to add someone to your roster that can help you get there.
INVEST IN YOUR GROWTH
Our ability to grow and develop doesn’t stop when we get out of school – but many people act like it does. In order to create an edge for yourself in sales, you need to work consistently to create an edge for yourself in life. Be intentional with your health. Read at least ten minutes every day. Listen to podcasts. Look for opportunities to get outside of your comfort zone in order to expand it. Your continued mental and physical growth as a person only helps you in the work you do every day.
BE OBSESSED WITH THE PROCESS
It’s a competitive advantage to be obsessed with the process more than the outcome. The outcome is the finish line, the goal, our sales bonus. It’s the thing everyone sees but that we don’t 100% control. The process however is the work done to influence the outcome – that we 100% control. Being obsessed with the process is about focusing on everything on this list instead solely obsessing over your sales goal or commission numbers.
The better you become at working the process every day, the better outcomes your process has the opportunity to create.
BE WHERE YOUR FEET ARE
Being locked into today is a superpower. It’s the ability to block out that call you had this morning where a prospect rejected you. It’s the focus to ignore what could be a year or two years from now if you keep having strong months, and instead focus on what you need to do today to build more relationships with prospects. An athlete in sports can’t make this play if they’re caught up in the positive/negative play that just happened, or what they might do after the game. They have to be where their feet are to play at their best.
And so do you.
Practice resetting yourself before every call. Focus on your breathing. Smile. Embrace every interaction with a prospect as the chance to build a relationship and provide value. Be where your feet are.
WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS LIST?
It’s not about your natural talent or what company you’re working for. It’s about your daily choices, things 100% in your control that when made effectively, can create a competitive advantage for you in the marketplace as a salesperson.
I’m cheering for you to start making winning choices to start creating winning outcomes.
Want help giving your team a competitive advantage in the marketplace? Let’s talk about how my programs can help them do just that. Click here to start a conversation.