How to Succeed in Sales

11 min read
Sep 13, 2023
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There are things in life that when you put too much time into them, and there's no satisfying result, you should give up and move on to something else. Sales is not one of those things.

Sales can be challenging, and success often comes from a combination of factors, including experience, skill, product knowledge, and the ability to build and maintain client relationships. It's common for sales reps to encounter long sales cycles, rejections, and setbacks before closing a deal.

Let's analyze why people give up before closing a sale and learn from the tips that guarantee sales success.

Why is a sales career a good choice?

A sales career can be a good choice for several reasons, depending on your interests, skills, and goals. Here are some compelling reasons if you're still considering becoming a successful salesperson:

  1. Money matters: One of the cool things about being a sales rep is that you can make some serious cash. Many sales jobs come with commissions and bonuses, so your bank account can grow faster than expected if you're good at it.

  2. Adventure awaits: Sales gigs are all over the place! Whether you want to succeed in car sales, insurance, or real estate is your scene, there are plenty of opportunities. Explore different industries and find what you love.

  3. Skills galore: Sales isn't just about selling stuff; it's about learning awesome life skills. You'll improve at talking to people, negotiating, solving problems, and building relationships. These skills come in handy everywhere. And if you’re wondering how to succeed in sales as an introvert, the answer is: focus on your strengths. After all, selling is listening first.

  4. Flexibility rocks: Depending on the type of sales project, you might have some freedom in how you work. It's like being your own boss (sort of), and that can be pretty sweet.

  5. Climbing the ladder: Many big-shot executives and entrepreneurs started in sales. It's like a secret shortcut to understanding business and getting ahead in your career.

  6. Networking bonanza: You'll meet all kinds of folks in sales – customers, coworkers, and industry bigwigs. It's a great chance to build a professional network that might open doors to your dream job later.

  7. Personal growth: Reaching sales goals can be challenging sometimes, but it's worth it. It pushes you to step out of your comfort zone, bounce back from rejection, and become more confident and resilient.

What is stopping your sales success?

You take “no” for an answer

With almost 50 percent of salespeople quitting after the first "no", I think what happens is that salespeople come up with excuses that make them feel better about taking “no” for an answer. However, studies show that 80 percent of sales are made after the fifth sales conversation with the same person.

But, since 90 percent of salespeople wave the white flag after the fourth contact with a prospect, the competition is super low at this stage. And it’s only one more step to closing the sale - one step that can bring into the 10 percent who succeed in sales. Unlike the rest, who decided the prospects were not worth the effort.

You didn’t master all the sales skills

Another reason why people give up during the sales process is because they didn't learn all the sales skills.

Learning sales is like learning any other competence. It’s a process. We often forget how much time and perseverance it takes to learn new skills.

Let’s take an easy example.

Remember when you first got behind the wheel? You first learned how to steer, step on the gas, watch the road, and change the radio station. Then, you concentrated on all these things simultaneously and tried not to hurt yourself or others. This is conscious competence.

After driving for years, skills come naturally and with little effort. You no longer think about every action. Now you drive and text (don’t!), talk to your passenger, change the radio station, and drink Starbucks. Driving is now a skill trained to the level of unconscious competence. And it looks damn easy from the outside.

The most successful salespeople get to the point of unconscious competence. They do things with little thought. That's why you need time and persistence to get to their level.

best sales practices

You compare yourself to others

This is another reason people give up during the sales process, and it causes even more discouragement. You probably compare your results with people who have been in the sales business for years. It may be good long-term, like setting a strategic goal for a year or two. But it's not good for evaluating your actual work. You should learn from the best, not compare yourself to them. Especially if you have less sales experience than they do. 

Let me illustrate this point with a sports example. The US Open finished just last week. When you watch tennis players in action, it looks easy. When you see them winning the game and holding a trophy, you don’t immediately think about the hours of training they had, the thousands of balls they hit on the tennis court, and all the sacrifices they made. You only see their success and the money they just earned like that salesperson who sold the fifth car this week.

Whenever you compare your results with somebody else, make sure that person is on your professional level, with the same experience and similar resources..

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The best sales practices 

Set yourself up for success at the beginning of the sales process 

Success in sales is not just about making the right pitch or closing deals; it begins with proper preparation and setting the stage for achievements.

Here's how you can set yourself up for success in the world of sales:

1. Define clear and achievable goals:

2. Master time management:

3. Build your sales toolkit:

Prospecting and lead generation

Prospecting and lead generation are the lifeblood of any successful sales career. Without a steady stream of potential customers, even the most skilled salesperson will struggle to achieve their goals. 

Here's how to excel in the art of prospecting and lead generation:

1. Know your ideal customer:

2. Utilize multiple prospecting channels:

3. Qualify your leads:

4. Build a sales funnel:

5. Provide value from the start:

6. Use technology and automation:

7. Follow up and nurture:

8. Measure and adapt:

Prospecting and lead generation are foundational to sales success. By understanding your target audience, using multiple prospecting channels, and nurturing leads effectively, you can create a steady flow of potential customers and set yourself up for success in sales. 

Remember that building relationships and providing value are at the core of successful prospecting efforts.

Knowing the art of effective sales presentations

Creating a compelling sales pitch is crucial for winning over a sales lead. Here's a summary of what you should remember in your sales presentations.

Navigating the sales negotiation

Sales negotiations can be the most challenging part of the sales process. You need a blend of finesse, patience, and strategic thinking to excel in this phase.

By understanding your client's needs, staying flexible, and maintaining professionalism, you can navigate negotiations successfully and achieve win-win outcomes.

Measuring and analyzing sales performance

Every sales team needs to analyze its performance, as it's a critical aspect of ongoing improvement. Here's how to do it effectively:

Here comes the sales success 

Sales is all about persistence. It’s the ability not to give up when it feels like that's the best choice. It’s the process that everyone needs to go through to succeed. Don’t be discouraged if closing a deal takes longer than you assumed. In the end, it’s always worth the effort.

If you liked this article, you might also want to check out Motivational Sales Quotes to Help You Keep a Positive Attitude!

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