After reading more than 30 of the top sales books in the world, I wanted to share my 109 actionable tips and takeaways for business owners and salespeople.
When you read the word “sales”, what comes to mind?
Sadly, for many people, its images of aggressive, pushy, salespeople. It’s an image of someone who wants to push a product without caring about the potential buyer and what is good for them. Effective selling is the opposite, it’s working together with someone else to help them achieve their goals and desires. Don’t be the pushy sales rep. Be a trusted advisor. Give people the tools they need to make the right decision.
If you are in business, you’re in sales.
Without customers, you cannot have a business. It’s a fact of life. Your business should help people achieve the products that they want. You may no want to think of yourself as being in sales. But, if you stop having sales, you likely won’t be in business for long.
Luckily, I put together 109 actionable, easy to follow tips tricks and hacks in this ultimate sales guide just for you. Don’t ignore the simple tips. It’s easy to understand that self esteem helps sales. It’s more difficult to think about this and act on it every day.
109 sales tips, techniques, and strategies for business owners and sales reps.
1. Self esteem is crucial for sales.
Tell yourself: I like myself, I like my job. Every day. Do something to bolster your self esteem every day.
Brain Tracy, The Psychology of Selling.
2. Start to view things from third person, as an observer.
The more you can detach yourself from the situation personally, the less rejections will influence you.
3. Don’t only ask yourself why should someone buy your product? Also ask, why should someone buy your product from you?
You personally can add a great deal of value, whether that is with support, being an advisor, or being responsive and respectful. They should not only want the product but they should want to buy it from YOU. Be helpful, supportive, and kind. Don’t be needy or seek validation and compliments.
4. Many people are considering multiple vendors. Ask them what criteria they’ll use to make their final decision.
For some people, customer, quality, durability, ease of use, material type, and a headache free experience can be more important than price. Know what matters to people and this will positively impact your discussion.
5. Be genuine and believable.
Don’t try to be perfect. If you present yourself your product or service as absolutely perfect, this will increase suspicion. Be open and honest and make believable claims. Don’t use a salesy voice or get too caught up in “presenting”.
6. Be seen as a friend, an advisor, and a teacher.
How would you advise one of your best friends when they were hoping to make a purchase. Treat your customers the same way you would treat a good friend. Try to find a solution that is best for them.
7. People care about status and power.
There is more than money at play. Are they risking status or position if they make the wrong decision? Are you structuring your sale in a way where they can look to everyone else at their organization? What do they have to lose if they make a wrong decision? How can you help them gain power or status by working with you?
8. Start with a big ask and then ask for something smaller.
Will you donate $30 to the girl scouts of America? No? How about buying a $4 box of cookies?
9. Be well dressed and well groomed in your meeting.
Your appearance is people’s first impression of you. It can make a very large impact on your sale.
10. Be dressed in a level of formality customers are used to seeing. It’s better to be slightly overdressed instead of being underdressed.
You’d wear something different when meeting with a young tech startup compared to a law firm.
11. Be fully engaged in the conversation. Actively listen.
Practice being in the moment. Being a good listener will win more sales than being good at talking.
It all comes down to listening and understanding. Talking at people for an hour isn’t effective.
13. Smile and have good eye contact.
14. Look at the body language of the people you are meeting with. Look for confusion or a loss of rapport.
15. Don’t lose faith in yourself.
There will be ups and downs. Selling can often be challenging, disheartening, and stressful. Have faith in yourself and keep pushing forward. Your success is dependent on pushing forward during the challenging points in your career.
16. Teach customers what they need to be asking to make an informed decision
Illuminate what they should be looking for. This will help you be a trusted advisor. It will also mean that people won’t choose a competitor because they missed something important.
17. If you confuse you’ll lose. Complexity kills execution. Simplicity is more difficult but it’s crucial.
18. To be successful, you need to learn to stay strong after 100 rejections.
Rejections are the rule, not the exception. It takes mental strength, training, and practice to deal with rejections. If you assume we’ll get 100 rejections in a row, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you get a yes.
19. Have insane motivation and passion for your product. If you don’t feel it will actually help people or make a positive change, find a different product or service to sell.
You will be more successful if you sell a product or service that you believe in with all of your heart.
20. Ask yourself, what is the #1 challenge my potential customers are facing?
Be sure to ask them in person. Know your clients incredibly well.
21. Selling isn’t something that you do TO someone. Instead, it should be something you do it WITH someone.
22. Prospecting for clients should be part of your daily routine.
Ideally, it should be done first thing in the day, before you check your email. Look for clients or do research on existing or potential clients in your prospecting time blocks. Set aside at least an hour or two per day.
23. Have an objective for every phone call or meeting.
Do you want a closed sale? A meeting? A 2nd phone call? Have a clear objective and track how effective you are at reaching this objective.
24. Social proof is powerful.
People hate laugh tracks, but studies have shown time and time again that they’re effective. Social proof can be reviews, testimonials, or the number of people in a restaurant. In what ways can you build up buzz and social proof in your community?
25. People want to have better health, have more money, look good, get ahead in their careers, receive comfort and enjoyment and be secure when they get older.
Your sales process should typically be centered around one or more of these desires.
26. It’s OK to admit minor flaws in your product. No product is perfect and people will appreciate the honesty.
If you pretend like your product is absolutely perfect, it will make people suspicious. No product can be all things at once. If it’s more durable it will be heavier. If it’s handmade it’s going to be more expensive. People know that everything can’t be fast, cheap, AND incredible quality.
27. Don’t try too hard to sell to people who aren’t interested
Don’t spend all of your time banging down the doors of people who aren’t interested. Focus your efforts on doors that open when you knock.
11. “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”Blair Warren, The One Sentence Persuasion Course
28. There’s little benefit in being the 2nd cheapest.
2nd cheapest is a terrible position to be in.
29. Over-simply. Often, you should speak and write at an elementary school reading level.
Really? YES. Between a 3rd grade and 6th grade reading level is ideal. Don’t try to sound smart. You can easily confuse your audience.
30. Take a complex topic and try to describe it as simply as possible. Say, “it’s kind of like”.
For example, running a bunch of Facebook ad variations is kind of like fishing in different areas with different bait.
Russel Brunson’s “kinda like bridge”.
31. Be specific with numbers, benefits, and timeframes.
“1117 people have used our system to find new customers” is more powerful than saying “over 1000 people have used our system to find new customers”. If you are guaranteeing fast results, include a timeframe. “New customers in 30 days or your money back.”
32. Be specific with the promises you can make. “Gain 2 new clients in 30 days, so you can pay your bills without cold calling.”
This combines a specific outcome, a specific timeframe, and the benefit. It also helps them avoid something they don’t want to do. Just make sure it’s a claim on which you can effectively deliver.
33. People like things that are new. For example, new products, new reports, and new research.
Even if you have core products or services, is there a way to refresh them? You can add a new feature or find a new way to market it.
34. 100% sodium free is more effective than no sodium.
Using the % sign and highlighting the positive features (rather than excluding the negative features) is a more powerful approach.
35. Don’t use a technical term unless 95% of your audience understands it.
Marketers talk about ROI, SEO, sales funnels, and clickthrough rate. However, a large percentage of our customers and clients aren’t familiar with these terms. This gives us two choices. Either define the terms we are using or find another way to explain the concepts. You don’t want to confuse your readers or you prospects.
36. Alternate he/his with her/she, but avoid gender when you can or frame things as you.
“What does a business owner do if she finds herself short on time?”
Isn’t as relatable to all readers or listeners, compared with “What do business owners do when they find themselves short on time?”
Or alternatively, “what do YOU do, as a business owner, if you find yourself short on time?”
Unless you are telling the story of an actual person, it’s typically better to speak directly to your audience or keep things gender neutral.
37. Identify customers’ key needs and wants. Why are they better off after they’ve bought your product? Why are they worse off if they don’t buy it?
By thinking about the life of your customer after they’ve purchased. By doing this exercise, we can paint customers a compelling picture of what their life will look like after hiring us.
38. Do preparation. It may even make sense to write an outline or a rough script for a sales call. Practice in front of the mirror.
Rehearsing and planning helps us perform better and deliver a better customer experience. Having an idea of what you will say will make the conversation go quickly and smoothly. However, don’t stick to things too rigidly or sound rehearsed. A proper outline will aid you and make for a better call or meeting.
39. Businesses are typically the most interested in increasing their productivity, their sales, and their efficiency.
For business to business (B2B sales), don’t assume that more money or more customers is their only motivation. They’re also looking for more productivity from their workers (or themselves) or the efficiency of their company.
40. “Quality” is vague.
What does “quality” actually mean? Doesn’t nearly every business say that their products are high quality? How can you differentiate yourself? Luxurious hand crafted leather seats is much better than “quality interior”. This applies to services in addition to products.
41. Be incredibly clear on your competitive advantage.
Why do people choose you compared to all of your competition? What’s the #1 reason people choose to give money to your company?
42. Qualify people early in the process to see if they would be a good fit.
Leave a voicemail for qualified potential customers.
If you have no reason to believe they’re qualified you can skip the voicemail. For your voicemail, keep it brief, to the point, and focus on the person listening. Give them a reason to call you back. You can also send an email as well.
When you’re meeting with them in person, bring up money early. You can also make sure the people would be good partners to work with. Devise questions so that you can tell if things will be a good fit.
43. If it is a long sale, you may need to qualify them again later on.
Large sales can be a long, ongoing process. You may need to make sure your leads are still qualified once more time has past or if circumstances have changed.
44. Ask smart questions. Get people thinking and brainstorming.
“What would an extra 20% mean to your bottom line?”
45. Your schedule should be packed with meetings.
If your calendar is empty, spend your time filling it up with appointments. The more qualified people you meet with, the better.
46. If your time is shortened and you only have 5 minutes, don’t pitch.
Reschedule. Pitching is not as effective as a back and forth conversation. If you launch into a frantic pitch, you’ll likely lost them.
47. Have good posture.
This comes off as both more confident and more professional.
48. People don’t make important decisions in the living room, they make them in the kitchen.
See if you can meet with people in their kitchen.
49. Let them show you where to sit.
You never know if someone has their favorite chair or favorite spot at the table.
50. See if you’re speaking to someone who is in a position to make a decision.
You don’t want to spend all of your time convincing someone that your product or service is great.
51. Another approach is to target the people who are the most acutely feeling the pain from the problem.
Many times, they will be able to talk to and influence the decision maker. Give them the tools, techniques, and motivations to make the argument.
52. You don’t need to have the answer to every question.
There are times to say “Let me do some research on that and get back to you”. Don’t throw out incorrect or wrong information.
53. When you follow up, don’t simply “check in”.
Every time you reach out, focus on making their day better. This can be with a nice card, you can share an article with valuable information, or you can tell them a secret trick that they can use. Make their jobs and their life easier with each interaction.
54. Do research on the person you’re meeting with.
Do your best to understand their business, their challenges, and their life outside of work. This will help you connect with them and form a relationship.
55. If someone wants you to write up a proposal right away…tell them your solution is not cookie cutter and you need a few minutes to understand their exact situation.
You don’t want to waste your time on a generic proposal that won’t connect with their unique challenges.
56. Guarantee satisfaction whenever possible. Make it specific.
“Satisfaction guaranteed” is fairly generic. “100% money back for 30 days if you are not fully satisfied with your purchase is more specific.”
57. Don’t discuss the exact price until the end.
While you’ll want to know that you are in the right ballpark early on, the final price should be discussed after they understand all of the benefits and intricacies of you product or service.
58. If you frequently remind people about price, they’re more likely to think about that and choose the cheapest option.
59. Ask people if the feature is important to them. You don’t want to sell them on a feature they don’t care about.
60. Positive emotions create sales. Negative emotions kill sales.
Do not argue with people. Make them feel motivated and excited. You can touch on the frustration or pain point they are feeling right now, but not for an extended period of time. It will make them frustrated or depressed.
61. Focus on keeping your existing clients, selling more to existing clients, selling to past clients, and new customers.
It’s a huge mistake to solely focus on “new clients”.
Start your day by calling the people more likely to say yes. This will means small wins early in the day. It will also mean that your most important calls get done every day.
62. Don’t be pushy.
Being overly pushy can be poison for a sale. Especially large and intricate sales. It can damage a relationship and cost you the sale.
63. Don’t reach out 1-2 times. Get in contact at least 10 times over 4-6 weeks.
This could be phone calls, emails, something in the mail. You won’t get ahold of them or get a response most times. It typically takes this many touch points (contacts) to get a response and make the connection. See if you can provide something of value every time you reach out.
64. As more time passes between your meeting, the less urgency and desire they’ll have to act.
See if you can make a commitment and move forward. Their excitement will wear off as time goes on.
65. If you are doing a meeting after a short initial call, don’t assume they remember anything from the 1st call.
Reintroduce yourself and your company. Do a quick recap of what you discussed on the last call.
66. Tell exciting and engaging stories.
People connect with stories. Do you have a brief story of a customer overcoming the odds and succeeding with your help?
Have people saying (or thinking) yes throughout your discussion. Ask questions like, does that make sense? Do you feel that’s important? Are you staying with me? These are small micro commitments and it will make a sale more likely.
67. If your product will save time or money, it’s an investment. Challenge the way people think about marketing.
Talking about the cost makes people think they are losing something or giving something up.
Provide incredible insights. Help people learn. Challenge their way of thinking about their problem.
In the Challenger Sale, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, they found it was those that provided incredible insight and challenged preconceived notions were the most successful salespeople.
68. People don’t like to make “appointments”. People respond better to going to a “visit” or “meeting”.
Appointments makes people think of your get together as a chore. The word also reminds people of going to the doctor or going to the dentist.
69. Don’t email about a key part of the sale or a big problem.
Email tends to be less personal. Give them a call, especially if it is urgent.
70. Don’t simply say you are trustworthy. Demonstrate you are trustworthy with your actions.
71. When you are telling the story of a successful customer or client, don’t leave out all of the challenges.
People know there’s no magic wand and no easy fix. Tell the full story of your customer overcoming odds and succeeding. Get your new prospect to envision that same success in their own lives.
72. Call yourself and leave a voicemail.
Listen to your voicemail from your customer’s perspective. Is it a voicemail that would lead to them calling you?
73. Failure is crucial. We cannot reach success without it.
It is not possible to have long-term, sustained success without failing. It is part of the journey. People like to sell “get rich quick and easy”, but this will never lead to sustained success.
74. Meetings now may mean income in 3 months. Plan for the future. The process will take longer than you think.
Many of our efforts will not put money in our pocket tomorrow. We should be taking actions today that will lead to more sales in the upcoming days, months, and even years.
75. When you are presenting, keep people engaged and active throughout. Ask them lots of questions and watch for people losing interest.
A sales presentation that is simply a monologue will bomb. Involve people in your presentation and make it about them. Who wants to listen to a 40 minute sales pitch monologue?
76. Speak differently to a doctor vs a plumber.
Different professions have different vocabularies and different experiences. You need to speak to people in a way that connect well with them.
77. Include visual aids in presentations.
Powerpoint slides that are a wall of text and bullets are boring. Make things visual. You don’t need to include every word in a presentation. Photos, videos, and graphics will add a great deal to your presentation.
78. Guide where your prospects eyes should go with your own.
If you want people to look at a specific graphic, tell them what to look for, point to it, and have your eyes looking at it.
79. If someone gets distracted and needs to make a phonecall, when they return give a quick recap. Get them back into the same frame of mind that they were in before the call.
A distraction pulls people out of the moment and they forget where you were as well as what they were feeling. Give a quick recap of what you’ve gone over when they return from the phone call.
80. If someone says they’ll “think about your product, service, or idea”, ask them if they like it and if it makes sense to them.
This is a good way to get them thinking and talking more about your product or service and how much they like or dislike it. It’s a low pressure way to see their initial impression.
81. Objections come down to uncertainty about your product, your company, or you.
Nearly every objection is a secretly just uncertainty.
82. If the product were free would they take it?
Why or why not? This question will let them articulate the value of the proposition. If they wouldn’t take it if it were free, they’re not an ideal customer.
83. If you have a binder, make sure it is well organized and it only includes the bare essentials.
An unorganized, stuffed, or messy binder will make people lose their confidence in you. The client will also need to wait for you to find things and get organized.
84. If people will need to fill out paperwork, have it prepared, ready, and clean.
Have it ready to go at all times.
85. If someone had a poor experience with your company in the past, ask them, if you were the business owner and you had a terrible salesperson who was making false claims, what would you do?
They will likely say. “I would fire them.”
You can say, “That’s exactly what we did. I’m much different and I’ll do a much better job, so you don’t need to worry”.
86. If you can’t teach it, you really don’t know it.
Feel free to practice teaching a concept on a friend or family member. When teaching a client, make certain they are keeping up and ask them to explain the concepts back to you to make certain that they understand.
87. Use a very nice pen.
Nice pens don’t have to cost 100s of dollars, but a nice pen will make people think you are more successful and polished.
88. Use humor. Don’t be so serious. Laugh and keep it light.
Meetings should be fun! If your meetings are boring or serious this will hurt your number of sales.
89. Not taking action is a choice. People have a decision to work with you or to not take action. They’re both decisions.
Make this concept clear to them. Failing to take action is a choice and it will have potential consequences.
90. Write a ton of thank you notes.
Joe Girrard is one of the most successful salespeople of all time. He sold over 13,000 cars in his career. His secret was simple. He mailed a handwritten, personalized letter to every single person who had bought a car from him every month. Personalized notes and following up with past customers and clients is very powerful.
91. People tend to buy emotionally and justify logically.
However, people will pick up on logical issues or things not making sense. You really need both. Start with getting people emotionally invested, then provide benefits that appeal to logic.
92. What do you want people to feel?
After talking with you…do you want people to feel determined, motivated, inspired, or overjoyed?
Think about the emotions you’d like to bring out in people and structure your conversation to help them feel those emotions. This can be for a presentation or a one to one meeting.
93. Provide genuine compliments.
For example: “I can tell you are driven and motivated. I really respect that.”
94. People feel more positive emotions when they are eating or drinking.
If you can grab lunch, provide food, or grab coffee, people will be in a better frame of mind.
95. If someone is disengaged, ask them about it.
“You seem distracted. Is everything OK?” Sometimes they are not interested. But other times they are thinking about a personal issue. It may make sense to reschedule.
96. Acting like you like the same things isn’t the same as rapport. Show you care about them, you empathize with them, and you understand their pain.
If they like golf and you hate it, don’t pretend as though you like it simply to build rapport. Supporting people and their problems is different than pretending like you like the same things.
97. Check in with people. You can say, “out of everything we’ve spoken about, what’s the MOST important? What have I missed?”
It’s a two way communication. Get constant feedback from the person you are meeting with.
98. You may need to do a smaller project the first time you work together. Have people give you 1% trust so you can earn the other 99%.
People will often be skeptical the first time they meet with you. Get them to make a small commitment and then hit things out of the park.
99. Center the conversation on the value they’ll receive.
Build up a blazingly bright picture of results that outshines the price. If someone says your prices are too high, ask “compared to what” and have them explain. Ask what they really want to achieve with the price decrease. Emphasize the value in comparison to the price. The more the person desires your offering, the less they’ll care about the cost. Go over the benefits before you give the final price.
100. If there’s one major objection you get over and over, preemptively mention it in your discussion.
“Our price is the highest and yet we have the most sales. Would you like for me to tell you why that is?”
101. Position yourself as the next best choice with many people who already have a supplier they use.
As soon as their current choice stumbles, you’ll be ready.
102. Write down and review your successes frequently.
When you have a major failure, we tend to think about and overemphasize our past failures. Concentrate on your past successes and believe in your future success as well.
103. Know “trigger events” for your customers. Trigger events are events which trigger them switching suppliers or making a new purchase.
This could be buying a new home, a downturn, a merger, or fast growth.
104. When you’re ready to go home, make just one more call.
Jeb Blount, Fanatical Prospecting
105. Think about the environment that you’re in.
Coffee may work for trying to meet someone for the first time but it’s not good for making a final sale. Avoid convention halls, conferences, and coffee shops when you’re trying to sign the final deal.
106. Pause after you ask for the sale.
Don’t say anything. Don’t make excuses. Go quiet.
107. If they want to “think it over”…
Tell them it’s a good idea to think it over. Ask them “what did you want to think over?” Get to the root of why they are not ready now. Is it the companies’ integrity? Is it the return on their investment? Is it to do a price comparison?
108. The sale is not closed until money is in your bank account.
109. The deal doesn’t end at the sale.
Follow up, provide incredible customer service, and be a trusted advisor and friend going forward.
Conclusion: You just learned 109 advanced sales techniques, ideas, and strategies.
You now understand how to prepare for a sale, find potential customers and clients, make calls, hold in person meetings, and turn these sales into closed business. What’s next? Well, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]
Also, check out my ultimate guides on social media and marketing
78 Marketing takeaways https://jacoblevideoproduction.com/marketing-advice-2019-round-up-78-tips/
Business advice: https://jacoblevideoproduction.com/business-advice-roundup/
You can find all of my free resources at https://jacoblevideoproduction.com/free-resources
Running a small business: https://jacoblevideoproduction.com/74-tips-for-entrepreneurs/
Social media marketing guide: https://jacoblevideoproduction.com/111-social-media-tips-round-up/
1. The Psychology of Selling
2. How to Master the Art of Selling
3. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies
4. Way of the Wolf: Straight Line Selling: Master the Art of Persuasion, Influence, and Success
5. SPIN selling
6. Sell It Like Serhant: How to Sell More, Earn More, and Become the Ultimate Sales Machine
7. Pitch Anything
8. Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling
9. Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales-Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal
10. Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High!
11. Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing and Selling
12. Beyond Booked Solid
13. The Challenger Sale
-Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon
14. Advanced Selling Strategies
15. Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers to Make Fast, Favorable Decisions
16. SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers
17. New Sales. Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development
18. Be Obsessed Or Be Average
19. More Sales, Less Time: Surprisingly Simple Strategies for Today’s Crazy-Busy Sellers
20. The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal
21. The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need
22. 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More
23. The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales
24. Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling: Web Search Secrets
25. The Boron Letters
-Gary C. Halbert
26. If You’re Not First, You’re Last: Sales Strategies to Dominate Your Market and Beat Your Competition
27. Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement of People Who Will Pay for Your Advice
28. DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online
29. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
30. The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage
-Daymond John and Daniel Paisner
31. Swim with the sharks without being eaten alive