Think HBR

10 tips to improve your sales performance

Garret Norris
Healthy Business Builder
In Australia the good sales professional has to move faster every day. Very quickly, new competitors pop up out of the blue with products similar to yours and before you know it, the race is ON.
No matter what industry you're in, what worked well a few years ago isn't good enough today (Just look at the politics in Australia if you need any proof!!). This is no time for trial and error or order taking; this is a time to sell. Here are some basic steps you can take to improve your sales performance, reduce your cost of selling, and ensure your survival.
1. Clarify your mission
Begin by understanding your business niche. What do you do best? Who needs what you do? How do you best approach these prospects? How much are they willing to pay? If these questions are not answered easily, campaign at the top for clarity and vision.
2. Break the sale into specific goals
Write down the activity goals (calls per day, proposals per month, referrals per call, etc.) that you can control. Set results goals (sales per month, amount per sale, profit per sale, etc.) to measure your progress, and track them closely. Increase your activity and measure the results. Goals focus your attention and energise your action.
3. Sell to customer needs
Always assume your prospects will buy only what they need.
How can you convince them of that need? Emphasise the features of your product or service that reduce costs and solve problems for the customer, what keeps them awake at night!
4. Create and maintain favourable attention
Effective marketing, referrals, strong sales skills, and strategic questions are the keys to creating favourable attention. Diligent follow-through and above-and-beyond customer service are the keys to maintaining it.
5. Sell on purpose.
Know both what to do and why you're doing it at every step along the way. Who are you targeting and why? What are you going to tell them and why? What are you going to ask them and why? What is your proposal going to look like and why? When are you going to ask for the order? If you don't feel sure of yourself at every step of the selling process, get some sales training or guidance.
6. Ask, listen, and act
Better than any others, these three words summarise success in sales. Your questions must be creative, planned, relevant, and direct. Your listening skills must be highly developed. You must respond and take action that proves that you listened to the customer and want the sale.
7. Take the responsibility but not the credit
Realise that you are the sales manager. The company looks to you for direction and supports your effort. To build a strong support team willing to go the extra mile when you need it, give your team the credit for everything that goes right, and take the blame when it goes wrong.
8. Work on the basics
Even the best of the best have room for improvement. Make a decision to improve your weaknesses, and set goals to force yourself to do the things you don't like to do. Be more creative in your prospecting, fact finding, and presentation skills. Imagine the perfect salesperson and compare yourself to the ideal. Sales management coaching is a must.
9. Develop your attitude
Your attitude is controllable. Conquer your fears. Change the beliefs that limit your success. Your thought habits control your commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, resilience, happiness, and confidence. Be aware of them, decide which ones are unproductive, and then make a commitment to change.
10. Maximise your time
Focus on your goals. Test every activity for its importance and urgency. Create an ideal schedule, and test your actual time use against it daily. Remember, just one hour a day used more productively adds up to more than six extra weeks of productive time a year. Develop Power Hours.
For further information contact Garret Norris on 1300 833 574, email or visit
Garret Norris Garret Norris
is Founder and Principal of Healthy Business Builder. He had broad senior management experience across a range of businesses both in Australia and in the UK. He established Healthy Business Builder in 2011 and heads a talented group of consultants with expertise in a broad range of management skills.