15 Lessons I have Learned in My 10-Year Sales Career That Helped Me in Marketing
People consider sales as a second-class skill.
They frown on sales because it *seems* pushy or scammy.
I’ve been doing sales for the last 10 years.
Here’s what I have learned from sales that you can use as a super-power in startups, marketing & life:
1/ I think there is no skill more important than sales.
You can’t teach sales in school.
Sales is about learning by doing, being empathetic & observing.
2/ You are selling in every conversation to people or yourself.
Either you are buying an idea or selling it.
So, the fact is we are selling our products, services, projects, ideas, and whatnot.
3/ When it comes to sales calls or demos.
You have to be a doctor and coach at the same time.
Doctor to understand needs. Coach to guide the prospects through success.
4/ In modern sales: You are not selling, rather facilitating.
People can find most of the information online.
Your job is to help them choose the right product (which could be yours).
5/ It is all about building trust (not pushing to buy).
You build trust by researching everything before the call and after.
How do you build trust? By being honest and building a rapport.
And, by being the product expert (inside out). Not many can do that.
6/ You are a storyteller, not an order taker.
You have to tell a story that emotionally hooks with the needs of the prospects.
You present your product that fits as a solution that makes the customer a hero in the story.
7/ Sales is about articulating value, not offering discounts.
I tell my sales folks to not offer discounts. Show the ROI.
Offer discounts when you have a multi-year deal because that shows commitment from prospects too.
8/ Disqualify hard. Don’t be greedy for your commission.
The wrong use-case fit customer will be an unhappy customer, harder to
support, and a bad referral later on.
Bad fit customers also give wrong product feedback.
All this leads to unhappiness with customers & company.
9/ Need analysis is where you win.
If you can describe their problems better than customers can, they’ll assume
you have the best solution. -Chris Orlo (great salesman)
Your audience should be doing the most talking.
And, you connecting the dots.
10/ You NEED to have fun.
You can have fun in sales by creating a wow factor during the calls.
Make jokes and connect at a personal level.
Have fun while chatting with other humans because every person has something to learn from.
11/ The actual customer delight happens post-sales.
Many salespeople NEVER follow up once the sale has happened.
Best salespeople continuously stay in touch, not just for referrals but to see that happy & satisfied customer.
It’s a dopamine hit for sales folks.
12/ Smart follow-up is the key to success
Stop using the words, “just checking in”, “circling back” and “bumping this up”.
Instead, find genuinely interesting information to restart the conversation.
For example, the latest hiring, funding & other insightful content you found.
13/ Build relationships like you genuinely care.
Solve your prospect’s problems before they even arrive.
Talk about more than weather, WFH, and company.
Learn to see what do they really care about outside of their jobs.
14/ Positively surprise them at every step after the demo/sales call.
Let’s say they signed up for a trial.
Make sure they get your product or service.
Provide resources they can’t normally find on it themselves.
Sometimes do it for them or better do it with them.
15/ Learn to emulate the best salespeople (because you can never be good enough).
The best salespeople are:
- Smart copywriters
- Thought leaders
- Shrewd negotiators
- Active listeners
- Great at objection handling
- Naturally curious
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