by Kayleigh Voigt, former FRONTLINE Selling Inside Sales Representative

Recently, I posed a question on LinkedIn: If you could offer one, JUST ONE, tip that would change the career of a salesperson…What would it be?

The response was overwhelming and I was genuinely touched that so many people took the time to respond. So I have compiled all the advice I received so you, too, can benefit from their wisdom and honesty. Enjoy!

A Little Less Talking…

  • Stop selling and start listening. – Matthew Wells
  • You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that order. – Dustin Abney, Redgate Software
  • Learn Active listening. – Adam Shapiro
  • You Have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Always be an active listener. – Dan Horneck, Davies Molding
  • Be Curious and Learn to Listen! – Jeff Haller, DataServ
  • LISTEN. – Janice Jokkel, Get In Gear Business Solutions
  • Listen, listen, listen. – Luca Benvenuti, Altium
Listen with awareness and intention, not simply to respond. I am still trying to learn this one but I will say more often than not, those you desire to do business with will provide the roadmap necessary to build value. – Michael Griffiths, Thrive

Align Thyself

  • One of the things sales people often forget is that we can’t do this on our own. Align yourself internally build strong relationships with marketing, accounting and so on. you know how they say people buy from people they like? Well, people help people they like, too. By building strong internal relationships, people will put in the extra effort to help you when you need it. – Mike Wand, CEVA Logistics
  • Align yourself with your marketing colleagues and work together as a team – Deanne Crocker, CWT

Be Authentic

  • Be the type of salesperson you’d buy from! – Mark Stevens, Allied Machine and Engineering
  • Be yourself. – Oliver Lopez, StructSales
  • Self-Awareness. – Sajid Rasul, Development manager
  • BE AUTHENTIC. – Kodie Yost
  • “Selling from the heart” – read it. And be true to your authentic self; love your customers. – Teressa Shone
  • Be honest. The best salespeople I’ve worked with had integrity. Honesty builds trust, which is the foundation of strong relationships – critical to your long-term success. – Rebecca Rollison, mCloud Corp
  • Follow up on time and keep your promises. – Patty Piotti, GEM Resourcing
  • I think an underrated trait of a good salesperson is an open mind. A lot of sales folks believe they need to have an alpha mentality where they trust their gut and follow what got them where they are. Many of the best tactics and skills that I have learned along the way have come from a willingness to collaborate with my colleagues, take advice from the leaders of the company, and keep an open mind in trying new tactics. “Adapt or Die” to quote Moneyball, one of my favorite movies! – Chris Petersen, FRONTLINE Selling
Be yourself. Everyone is different, be true to who you are and lean on your own strengths. Don’t try to be like everyone else or be something you’re not. – Bob Kline, Ross Solar Group

Tenacity

  • I’d say never ever stop prospecting. Ever. – Patrick Bartell, RealPower
  • One more call… – Mark Scullion The Suddath Companies
  • Find out what is causing the client a problem and supply the solution. Listen first then act. – Steve Clowes, retired insurance professional
  • Think about selling yourself instead of products or services. Once you do, everything will fall into place. – Agasi Karapetyan – EZ Biolink
  • Every call counts. – Verena Nitsche, Zenitva
  • Make sure to agree on the next step – Henrik Gyllander
  • For me, sales is like driving your car. Start slow and ease into traffic.. Always be checking your mirrors and listening for horns, apply the brakes when something stops in front of you, use your turn signal to find an alternative direction then safely navigate into the next lane and accelerate…..repeat. – Rick Martin, All Points of Texas

Preparation

  • Prepare questions before every meeting so you can challenge their current thinking and process – Aroon Wadvani, NetApp
  • Check in regularly throughout your sales process and get permission to move them along. – Taylor Reynolds, NYLIFE Securities
  • Record yourself doing phone calls & presentations so that you know how bad you really are and fix what you hate about each video. – Boyd Brown, Delta Materials Handling

Learning

  • Stay curious – Tim Powers, Zilliant
  • Never stop learning! You should always be learning your Craft. You should study your product and know it better than anyone else. You should study sales. You should study networking and above all, you should study your customers business and know it better than they do. – Michael Bishop, Ecolab
  • People love questions, especially that invite them to talk about their feelings, opinions, or advice. Giving advice stimulates the pleasure centers in our brains – we’re literally wired to enjoy it. – Jon Wolf, Corvalent
  • Never stop learning. – Gregg Branham CEO, nFront Security
  • Learn by doing. – Justin Michael, YouAppi
  • Learn what it means to #sellfromtheheart – Larry Levine, Author
Never stop learning by learning from every person and situation. Nobody knows everything and everybody knows something you don’t know. – Nate Holiday, TeraData

Be a Problem-Solver

  • Never leave the fight for a customer. I’ve worked deals that took two years to close. Keep following up with value and they won’t forget you. – Chad Young, Project Return
  • Really focus on expanding your relationship network. Look at both inside and outside the current industry and keep learning from the network. – Jon Kronemeyer, Biyork Canada
  • Become obsessive with learning about your client and use the knowledge gained to educate them. – Jay Hill, Best Buy
  • Focus on your client’s goals, not your companies product of the month! – Debbie Pontera, D2 Media Team
  • Remember that sales is solving a problem, figuring out the puzzle. Therefore, listen to your customer to understand what picture you’re trying to create before you start trying to fit the puzzle pieces together. – Christopher Parrot, The Hershey Company
  • Focus on the outcome the customer is trying to achieve and sell to that. – Jon Jumento, Informatica
  • Be inquisitive! Ask questions to unearth customer’s problems using insights. – Zeeshan Hammad, SKF Pakistan
  • Stop looking at yourself as a salesperson and start thinking like a customer advocate. – Ashley Cole, Fusion Inc

 

The quality of the questions you ask your customers every day will define your sales career.- Adam Scott, Belnick

 

You Can Only Control YOU.

  • “Be careful of the stories that you tell yourself”. Replay the positive! – John Willard, Pella Corporation
  • My one tip would be: Focus on kindness and helping. – Keenan Yoseph, LCP 360
  • Sell things you’d buy yourself. – Richard Woodhall, Allied Machine
  • Choose your attitude every day.  – Steven Ducharme
  • Know your prospect’s expectations & exceed them just a little…–Tom Dean, Consultant
  • Personally–and still being very early on in my career here–I’d say try whatever and anything you think you are interested in, but if after a year you look back and you weren’t absolutely stoked to wake up and go to work at least 80% of the time, do not continue to do that work. Find something that you are passionate about doing at least 80% of the time. – Kyle Donaldson, ZenPut
Keep your mind and body healthy as they’re the only shield you’ve got against the raging storm of the market.- Blair Carey, Inside CRO

One Last Thought…

Always look for the “land mines”. An average sales person always thinks they are winning the deal until they lose the deal and a GREAT sales person always believes they are losing the deal until they win it. Stay focused on the customer, their challenges and their hurdles to achieve those challenges. Stop selling and start listening. We, as sales people, hinder our own ability by thinking what we have to offer is so much more important than what our clients are challenged with. If we can’t solve their challenges then all of the great things we believe about our services or products are irrelevant. Listen to or read “The Joshua Principle’ by Tony J. Hughes This will change your outlook on selling. – Jason Stone, FRONTLINE Selling.