Sell your way to success, whatever your field

No matter what your job is, or what industry you’re in, you have to be able to sell. You sell your products, your ideas, and your experience every day.

Here are some basic sales tips that will help you advance and prosper:

• Reject rejection. Even veteran salespeople dread the possibility of rejection. To counter this fear, keep reminding yourself that when prospects turn you down, they’re rejecting your ideas, or the product you sell, or even your company—not you. Never take rejection personally.

• Build rapport without wasting time. A common mistake many salespeople make is spending too much time “making friends” with the prospect. Though building rapport is useful and important, making friends doesn’t automatically translate to making sales. Save time by finding one thing you have in common with the prospect, and talk about that one thing for two minutes. Then, move on to your prospect’s needs. Prospects don’t want to waste time on chitchat any more than you do; most will be gratified to deal with someone who wants to get down to business.

• Don’t mail more pieces than you can follow up on. If your strategy is to mail promotional letters to prospects and then follow up with a phone call, watch how many pieces you mail. You’re better off mailing in small batches and following up each piece with a prompt phone call while the piece is fresh in prospects’ minds. Otherwise, you run the risk of your prospects forgetting what you mailed them by the time you reach them.

• Rate each of your prospects. Whenever you meet with prospects, assign them a rating based on three questions: 1) Do they have a motivation to buy? 2) Is there an urgency to buy now? and 3) Do they have the resources to buy? Put each prospect on a scale of 1 to 10, and spend a lot of time only with your highest-rated prospects. You’ll find that by rating prospects right off the bat, you can quickly disqualify people and move on before you waste a lot of their time and yours.

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