It doesn’t matter what you sell, the principles of sales are much like the laws of physics: They do not change. If you fall off a building, you always fall down, never up. If you show up late and unprepared for an appointment, you will almost always lose the sale. The key to bigger sales is to focus on the little things — this is the laws of sales.

Do you call and let your customer know you are on your way? Do you have everything you need to make a successful presentation? Are you professionally dressed? It is amazing how few professional salespeople do not regularly follow up on a presentation or a quality lead. You take the time to do your presentation, but because you didn’t close right on the spot, you don’t bother to do a proper follow up, or you only do it half the time. If you want a quick bump up in your sales, you always, always follow up.

The No. 1 thing that separates the average salespeople from the exceptional ones is discipline. Great salespeople leave nothing to chance: They are early for their appointments, they called to confirm, and they have practiced their presentations many times. Most importantly, they focus on all the little things.

They make sure their sales pipeline is full because they are always prospecting. They don’t ever use the excuse that they’re too busy. They always find the time to send out an e-mail blast, make follow-up calls, and ask for referrals.

Turning these things into a habit, or a routine, is the hardest part. Ask yourself throughout the day if what you’re doing is advancing your sales. A lot of salespeople seem to confuse staying busy with taking the right actions that will increase sales. People have a tendency to do what is easiest or what they have always done. Folks just go on autopilot, never thinking about if the course they have chosen will get them to their destination.

I have created simple spreadsheets to keep my team on task. We concentrate on our top accounts and make sure that we are constantly providing value to key customers in a variety of ways. If you are a contractor selling to homeowners, you should have a checklist to go over before running any sales call. The list should include your own bio that lets the customer know who you are, how long you have been in the industry, and what training you have had as well as any other credentials. Any good salesperson knows that what you’re really selling is yourself. If the customer doesn’t trust or like you, they are unlikely to purchase from you. So many people today get it backwards — they talk nonstop about the products they have to offer without ever qualifying themselves or finding out what the customer’s real interests are.

I know I am not the first to say it, but here’s some simple advice: Work smarter, not harder.

The key to any successful program is discipline. Make a list, and push yourself to do the things you know you should be doing, and you will get the results you have always wished for.

Publication date: 6/17/2019

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