Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets

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Brian Tracy shares the most important principles for sales success he has discovered in 30 years of training more than a half million sales professionals in 23 countries. Based on Tracy's detailed discussions with top salespeople and his keen observation of their methods, as well as his own experiences as a record-breaking salesman, these guidelines address both the inner game of selling-the mental component-and the outer game of selling-the methods and techniques of actually making the sale. Concise and action-oriented, Be a Sales Superstar is a handbook for busy sales professionals, providing key ideas and techniques that will immediately increase your effectiveness and boost your results. Brian Tracy shows you how to: Get more and better appointments, easier; Build high rapport in the first few minutes; Make better, more effective sales presentations Close more sales faster than ever before Apply Tracy's 21 great ways to be a superstar salesperson, and your success in selling will become unlimited.

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1 Commit to Excellence

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Make it a life-rule to give your best
to whatever passes through your hands.
Stamp it with your personal character.
Let superiority be your trademark.

— ORISON SWETT MARDEN

Optimists, people with high expectations of eventual success, are ambitious. The more optimistic they are, the more ambitious and determined they become. Ambition is therefore the most important single expression of optimism, and it is the key quality for the achievement of great success in sales or in any other field. Ambition is so important to goal setting, courage, and persistence that having this one quality alone can almost guarantee that you will overcome every obstacle and difficulty that stands in your way.

Ambitious people have one remarkable characteristic in sales. They dream big dreams. They have high aspirations. They see themselves as capable of being the best in their fields. They know that the top 20 percent of salespeople make 80 percent of the sales, and they are determined to be among that top group.

Ambitious salespeople are optimistic about their opportunities and possibilities. They are absolutely convinced that they can achieve their goals by selling substantial amounts of their products or services. And they are completely determined to do it. The only question they ask is, How?

 

2 Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail

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Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear—not absence of fear.

— MARK TWAIN

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt are, and always have been, the greatest enemies of success and happiness. For this reason, top salespeople work continually to confront the fears that hold most salespeople back. The two major fears that stand as the greatest obstacles on your road to success are the fear of failure, or loss, and the fear of criticism,or rejection. These are the major enemies to be overcome.

As it happens, it is not the actual failure or rejection that hurts you or holds you back. It is the fear of failure or rejection that stops you from acting. It is the anticipation or expectation of failure or rejection that paralyzes you and blocks you from doing what you need to do to achieve your goals.

The truth is that everyone is afraid of something, and often, many things. Everyone you meet is afraid of failure and rejection in some way. The difference between a hero and a coward is that the hero is brave just a couple of minutes longer. The average person moves away from and avoids the fear-causing situation. A brave person forces himself or herself to confront the fear and do what is feared anyway.

 

3 Put Your Whole Heart into Your Selling

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You are never given a wish
without also being given the
power to make it come true.

— RICHARD BACH

Top salespeople believe in their companies. They believe in their products and services, and they believe in their customers. Above all, they believe in themselves and their ability to succeed.

Your level of belief in the value of a product or service is directly related to your ability to convince other people that it is good for them. Selling has often been called a transfer of enthusiasm. The more enthusiastic and convinced you are about what you are selling, the more contagious this enthusiasm will be and the more your customers will sense it and act on it.

Human beings are primarily emotional in everything they do and say. This is why caring is a critical element in successful selling. You’ve heard it said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. What we also know is that the more you love your work, the more caring you will be. The more committed you are to your company and to your products and services, the more you will naturally and honestly care about your customers. The more you honestly care about your company and your customers, the more concerned you will be about helping customers to make a good buying decision.

 

4 Position Yourself as a Real Professional

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The self image is the key
to human personality and human behavior.
Change the self image and you change
the personality and the behavior.

— MAXWELL MALTZ

Top salespeople see themselves as consultants rather than as salespeople. They see themselves as advisors, helpers, counselors, and friends to their clients and customers. They see themselves as problem solvers more than anything else.

Perhaps the most important single determinant of whether or not someone buys from you is how that person thinks and feels about you. In marketing, this is called “positioning.” The position you have in the heart and mind of your customer is determined by the words that your customer uses when he or she thinks about you and describes you to others when you are not there.

Many tens of thousands of customers have been asked how they think and feel about the top salespeople who sell to them. The most common answer that customers give is that they see the best salespeople more as consultants than as salespeople. They see them as valuable knowledge resources in their personal and business lives.

 

5 Prepare Thoroughly for Every Call

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If you employed study, thinking and
planning time daily, you could develop
and use the power that could change
the course of your destiny.

— W. CLEMENT STONE

Preparation is the mark of the professional—in every field. The highest paid salespeople review every detail of an account before every sales call. They study their notes from previous calls. They read the literature and information they have gathered on the prospect. And their prospects can sense it almost immediately.

On the other hand, the lowest paid salespeople try to get by with the very minimum of preparation. They go into a sales meeting and attempt to “wing it.”

They think that the prospect will not notice. But prospects and customers are very aware if a person has come in unprepared. Don’t let this happen to you.

Your goal is to be among the top 10 percent of salespeople in your field. To reach that goal, you must do what the top people do, over and over, until it is as natural to you as breathing. And the top people prepare thoroughly, every single time.

 

6 Dedicate Yourself to Continuous Learning

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You can learn anything you need to
learn to achieve any goal you can set
for yourself; there are no limits.

— BRIAN TRACY

To earn more, you must learn more. You are “maxed out” today at your current level of knowledge and skill. You cannot get more or better results by simply working harder using your present abilities. If you want to earn more in the future, you must learn and apply new methods and techniques. Remember the old saying: “The more you do of what you’re doing, the more you’ll get of what you’re getting.”

The fact is that we are experiencing an explosion of knowledge and technology that is unprecedented in human history. These advances are creating new competitors and driving our existing competition to develop better, faster, cheaper ways to get business. This is why continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in selling today.

The future belongs to the learners, not just to the hard workers. The highest paid salespeople spend much more time and money improving themselves and upgrading their skills than the average salesperson. As a result, they earn vastly more in any market, sometimes five and ten times as much.

 

7 Accept Complete Responsibility for Results

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Hold yourself responsible for a
higher standard than anybody else
expects of you. Never excuse yourself.

— HENRY WARD BEECHER

Sometimes I will begin a sales seminar by asking, “How many people here are self-employed?” Usually, about 15 to 20 percent of the hands go up. I then stop and ask a confident-looking person in the audience, “How many people here would you say are self-employed?”

He or she almost always replies, in a loud voice, “We all are!”

I then say, “You’re right! The biggest mistake you can ever make is to think that you work for anyone else but yourself. We are all self-employed.”

The highest paid sales professionals in every field accept 100 percent responsibility for their lives and for everything that happens to them. They see themselves as the presidents of their own professional sales corporations. They view themselves as self-employed.

They say, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” They refuse to make excuses or to blame anyone else for anything in their lives that they are not happy about. If they don’t like something, they know that it is up to them to get busy and change it. They accept complete responsibility and they refuse to complain or criticize.

 

8 Become Brilliant on the Basics

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The quality of a person’s life is
determined more by their commitment
to excellence than by any other
factor, no matter what the
external circumstances.

— VINCE LOMBARDI

On many occasions, when we have offered our sales training programs to companies, we have been told, “We don’t need that kind of training around here. All our people have years of experience.”

We have a simple response to this objection. We say, “That’s fine. Let’s just give a simple test on selling basics to the members of your sales team. Everyone who passes the test doesn’t need to take additional training.”

What we have found is that virtually no one ever passes. Very few people are familiar enough even with the basics of selling to pass a simple multiple-choice exam. This means that salespeople who are already doing well could probably be selling far more if they were trained better on the basics. Salespeople who have never been trained at all can change their lives.

The AIDA Model describes the basic sales process. It has been used consistently throughout history. The four letters in AIDA stand for “Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action,” the logical process of making a buying decision. Whenever you are having problems in your sales, it is because you are falling down in one of these four areas.

 

9 Build Long-Term Relationships

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Fully 85 percent of the happiness
and success you enjoy in life will be
determined by the quality of your
relationships with others.

— BRIAN TRACY

All of your selling success today, and for the rest of your career, will be based on the quality of the relationships that you form with your customers. Because of the complexity of your product or service, customers are usually unable to make an accurate judgment on the details of what you are selling. Instead, they have to depend upon how they feel about you and your claims. For most customers today, the relationship comes first. It is more important than the product or service itself.

More than twenty years of research and millions of dollars have been spent by Neil Rackham and Huthwaite Associates interviewing more than 55,000 customers before and after a sale or nonsale. One of the conclusions of their data is that the bigger the sale and the longer the life of the product or service are, the more important the relationship is in making the sale.

 

10 Be a Financial Improvement Specialist

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A single idea—the sudden flash of an
idea—maybe worth a million dollars.

— ROBERT COLLIER

In consultative selling, you position yourself as a consultant, an expert, an advisor, a helper, and a teacher in the sales situation. Above all, you position yourself as a problem solver. You ask good questions and listen attentively to the answers.

When you are selling to businesses especially, you should position yourself as a “financial improvement specialist.” This requires that you focus all your attention on showing the customer how his or her business can be financially better off as the result of using your product or service.

Customers of top salespeople describe these salespeople as consultants, “unpaid members of my own staff.” They say, “He/she really understands my situation.” This must be your aim as well.

Begin the sales process by asking questions about your prospect’s business, seeking to understand how sales and revenues are generated, how costs and expenses are incurred, and how profits are made. Put yourself in the position of the business owner or executive and try to see yourself as being personally involved in achieving the financial results for which he or she is responsible.

 

11 Use Educational Selling with Every Customer

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Nature understands no jesting. She is
always true, always serious, always severe:
she is always right, and
the errors and faults are always those of man.

— JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

Amajor reason that prospects do not buy is because they do not fully understand what you are selling and how they can use and benefit from it. Many salespeople assume that after one sales presentation, the prospect is as familiar with the details of the product or service as they are. This can be a big mistake.

When I was selling participations in real estate investments to senior executives, I falsely assumed that these captains of industry, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of staff, were as knowledgeable about real estate as they were about their own businesses. As a result, I would often breeze through the details of my product and expect them to understand the full range of benefits and advantages of what I was offering.

It didn’t take me too many lost sales to realize that I had to explain my product in careful detail, exactly as if I was teaching a new subject to a new student, if I wanted to sell it. This was my introduction to the importance of positioning myself as a teacher in the sales process.

 

12 Build Megacredibility with Every Prospect

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Honesty is the first chapter
of the book of wisdom.

— THOMAS JEFFERSON

Fully 80 percent of the reason that qualified prospects do not buy a product or service is because they are afraid of making a mistake. As the result of countless negative buying experiences, starting in early childhood, we all have bought something and regretted it afterward. Perhaps we later learned that we had paid too much, had gotten the wrong product for our needs, were unable to get the product serviced or repaired, or had been outright lied to by the salesperson or company.

Because of this accumulated baggage of unhappy purchase decisions, prospective customers are usually suspicious, skeptical, and distrustful of sales offers, even when they want and need a particular product or service. And the larger and more expensive it is, the more cautious and doubtful they are.

Four factors exacerbate this hesitancy with any sales offer. The first is the size of the purchase. The more it costs, the more of a risk the prospect perceives in buying it.

 

13 Handle Objections Effectively

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It is the constant and determined
effort that breaks down all resistance,
sweeps away all obstacles.

— CLAUDE BRISTOL

Every prospect has questions and concerns about your offering that must be dealt with effectively before he or she can proceed with confidence. This is normal and natural and to be expected. Your ability to answer objections effectively is a critical skill that will largely determine your level of sales and income. Your job is to master this skill.

When I began selling and the prospect objected to my offer, I would be crushed. When the prospect said things like, “I can’t afford it,” “We’re not in the market for that right now,” “We don’t need what you are selling,” “Your price is too high,” or “We can get it cheaper somewhere else,” I would accept the objection without arguing and go on to the next prospect.

Then I learned that objections are simply part of a normal sales process. They are inevitable and unavoidable. My job was to identify the major objections that I would get and then develop answers to them.

 

14 Deal with Price Professionally

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Men who accomplish great things
in the industrial world are those
who have faith in the money
producing power of their ideas.

— CHARLES FILLMORE

Price is seldom the reason for buying or not buying anything. Sometimes I ask my sales audiences if they would like me to prove this claim. I then ask them, perhaps one thousand participants, “Is there a single person in this room who has a single item about their person that they bought solely because it was the cheapest available?”

No one ever raises his or her hand. The point is clear. Many factors go into the buying decision, and of course price is one of them. But price is never the main reason. The main reason is always something else. Your job is to find it and deal with that concern effectively.

According to one study at Harvard, fully 94 percent of sales in America are made on a nonprice basis. Follow-up surveys with customers who argued and negotiated long and hard over price turned up the surprising fact that they finally made their decision on nonprice factors. Factors such as suitability, convenience, reputation of the company or product, service, appearance, and appropriateness to the customer were more important.

 

15 Know How to Close the Sale

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Our grand business is not to see
what lies dimly at a distance,
but to do what lies clearly at hand.

— THOMAS CARLYLE

Your ability to ask for the order at the end of the presentation or at the end of the sales process is absolutely essential to your success. Fortunately, tens of thousands of sales conversations have been videotaped so we now know exactly how the highest paid salespeople close sales most of the time.

The sales process follows a logical series of steps from beginning to end. First, you establish rapport and trust with the prospect to assure that he or she likes you and is open to following your advice.

Second, you ask questions to clearly identify what the prospect needs and wants in the area in which you sell.

Third, you show the prospect that what you are selling, all things considered, is the best possible solution for him or her at this time.

Fourth, you satisfactorily answer any objections or questions the prospect may have.

Finally, you ask the prospect to take action on your offering. This last step is the key determinant of your income.

 

16 Make Every Minute Count

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Set priorities for your goals. A major
part of successful living lies in the ability
to put first things first. Indeed, the
reason most major goals are not
achieved is that we spend our time
doing second things first.

— ROBERT J. MCKAIN

Your most valuable asset, in terms of cash flow, is your earning ability. It is your ability to go out each day and apply your skills in your profession to earn an excellent income. The most successful salespeople, in every field, work on maximizing their earning ability every single day.

It has taken you an entire lifetime of education and experience to develop your earning ability to where it is today. You should never take it for granted.

By leveraging your earning ability, you can enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world by focusing your time and talents on selling more and more of your products or services in your marketplace.

Your most precious resource is your time—the minutes and hours of each day. It is all you really have to sell. In fact, your entire lifestyle today—your home, your car, your bank account, and so on—is the result of how you have traded your time up to now. If, for any reason, you are not completely happy with the results of the way you have traded your time in the past, you can begin right now to trade it better for the future.

 

17 Apply the 80/20 Rule to Everything

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Nothing can add more power to
your life than concentrating all of your
energies on a limited set of targets.

— NIDO QUBEIN

In 1895 in Italy, an economist named Vilfredo Pareto discovered a principle that has had an enormous impact on economics and business ever since. He found that you could divide members of society into the “vital few,” the 20 percent of the population who controlled 80 percent of the wealth, and the “trivial many,” those who possessed only 20 percent of the wealth.

This is now called the Pareto Principle, and it has proven to be universally valid in virtually every study of economic activity. We call it the 80/20 Rule, and you can apply it to every area of selling.

The 80/20 Rule says that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. If you have a list of ten things to do, two of those activities will be as valuable, if not more valuable, than the other eight. One of your chief responsibilities is to continually analyze your tasks to be sure that you are working on the top 20 percent.

 

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