Sales can be daunting if you’re a beginner sales professional. With so many things to think about – including developing a sales strategy, knowing your customer, and successfully closing – it can be difficult to know where to start.
However, there are some basic principles of selling that everybody should be aware of, especially if you're in the early stages of starting a career in sales. In our beginners guide to sales, we’ll cover all the basics including cold calling and sales strategy. Whether you’re already starting a career in sales or just looking to take the first step towards your career as a sales professional, our guide will take you through everything you need to know.
If you want to take your sales strategy to the next level, you might consider a specialised sales course. Pareto are industry leaders in sales training, and our sales fundamentals courses can help you become a more skilled and knowledgeable sales professional.
The first step to becoming a sales professional is to clarify what exactly selling is. Though it might seem basic, any sales course will begin by covering this question.
At its most basic level, selling is exchanging a commodity or service for something else, usually money. In order to successfully sell, you must focus on the advantages of your product or service, and what this could do for your customer.
There are many different stages to the sales process, and to be a successful sales professional, you should ensure that you’ve thought about every element of selling.
It will usually start with finding your customer base, planning your sales strategy, and making initial contact with your customer. This could be online, through in-person advertising, with focus groups, or by setting up meetings with your potential customers.
For any of these situations, you should have a sales presentation ready. This could be a visual presentation or a verbal one that you may use during cold calling. The sales process ends when you close the sale and successfully exchange your product or service for money.
However, it’s important that once you’ve closed the sale, you evaluate your sales method to see if there’s any room for improvement and follow up with your customer to make sure that they’re happy with their purchase.
A good sales professional will also build trust between your business and the customer, paving the way for future repeat sales.
Knowing Your Customer
The ultimate goal of selling is to target potential customers who you know will have an interest in your product, increasing the chance of a successful sale. This means that knowing your customer is one of the most vital factors for sales professionals.
You should know exactly what your customer requires in order to successfully sell your product or service to them. This includes knowing about their pain points, what exactly they need, and how much they’re willing to pay for it.
Before you even start developing a sales strategy, you should perform some outreach with potential customers. Ask them what their problem is and consider how your product or service could help them.
After you’ve collected sufficient information about your customer base, you can create buyer personas. These are detailed descriptions of your target customers which will also include a fictional name, job description, photo, and demographic details.
Developing a Sales Strategy
So, you’ve created buyer personas and clarified how your product or service will provide value to your customers. The next step for any sales team or sales professional is to create a detailed sales strategy.
This document will outline all the goals and actions for a sales team, illustrating how you will approach the act of selling to your customer. There are many different types of sales strategies, and if you’re just starting a career in sales you won’t need to know all of the different variations. Every organisation is different, and will have different goals they want to achieve, and you may also require a different sales strategy for every product you provide.
For example, you might clarify if you’re going to focus your selling online or through traditional advertising methods. If you are going to focus on increasing sales online, consider which social media platforms you may wish to utilise as part of your sales strategy.
Your sales team may prioritise cold calling as your sales method. If you do, it’s a good idea to practice your sales presentation with other members of your sales team first to make sure that you’re comfortable with selling.
How to Close the Sale
Just as there are many different strategies that a sales team might use, there are also different methods to close the sale. Even with an effective sales presentation, you may have to use additional techniques to convince your customer to purchase your product or service.
Though the methods of successfully closing a sale are endless, and every sales professional will have a technique they’re most comfortable with, there are a few popular ways to close the sale.
Firstly, you might communicate a sense or urgency with the ‘Now or Never’ close. You might offer the customer additional benefits to purchasing now and imply that this is the last chance for your customer to get the product at a good price.
Alternatively, the ‘Assumptive’ close is more subtle, where a sales professional will act as if the sale is already closed. They may communicate this by saying, ‘How many would you like to buy?’, prompting the customer to purchase.
Whichever method you use to close the sale, you should ensure that you remain friendly, open, and communicative throughout your sales presentation. This is even more important if you’re pitching in-person rather than through cold calling or online. However you close the sale, the most important thing is that you build trust with your potential customer, opening the door to future sales.
Hopefully, our beginners guide to sales has introduced you to some of the most important aspects of selling, including developing a sales strategy and knowing your customer.
If you are starting a career in sales and want to develop your sales skills further, consider a sales course from Pareto. Or, contact us if you want to find your next opportunity in sales.