Sales, Strategy

Seven things you need to know to master the craft of selling

Sue Barrett /

We can agree everybody lives by selling something — whether it be ideas, initiatives, visions, products, services or solutions.

Selling is ubiquitous — ever-present in our daily lives, internally and externally. Selling is the vehicle that allows opportunities to flourish and people to prosper. Nothing happens until something gets sold.

However, as ever-present as selling is in our daily lives, most people learn how to sell by default, not design. Often thrown in the deep end, they work it out as they go, feeling their way by trial and error, hoping to be on the right track.

This means more people fail at sales than succeed. This is also true for professional salespeople.

The attrition rate of salespeople is very high. For instance, I reported back in April 2018 the average tenure of a sales representative across Europe and USA is currently 15 months. There are other job statistics that show the average sales staff turnover can be anything between 25-50% each year, or more in some cases.  Some call centres experience turnover rates of over 70% each year.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, because anyone can learn how to sell.

Selling is a craft

Learning a craft involves a combination of skills, knowledge, and tools which we learn to apply in a variable system. How well we master our craft depends on our intentions, the situations we find ourselves in, and natural abilities.   

Here are the seven fundamental things you need to know to master the craft of selling and start selling better now.

1. Strategic and tactical sales planning

  • Define your offer and align it with the right market segments.
  • Develop a compelling value proposition.
  • Work out your tactical go-to-market action plan of sales and marketing activities.

2. Account planning

  • Prioritise your clients in terms of their value and potential.
  • Map stakeholders, especially in strategic and key accounts.

3. Prospecting

  • Know how to make contact with key prospects and customers.

4. Solution selling

  • Understand your clients first before you offer any solutions.
  • Know how your products/services/solutions help people, then help them.

5. Implementation and customer management

  • Make promises you can keep and keep the promises you make.
  • Understand your client value chain and make sure everyone in your business knows their part in helping your customers have a great experience with your business.

6. Networking

  • Social media and social selling; select the right mediums that are relevant to your target markets and use them consistently.
  • Select the network groups, industry bodies, other groups that are relevant to your business and ensure that you make yourself visible.

7. Resilience and a healthy mindset

  • Stay healthy: exercise, eat healthy food, limit intake of alcohol and other substances.
  • Build in the habits of self-discipline and do enough of the right activities every day.
  • Practice the skill of reflection, discernment, detachment and kindness.

Knowing how to sell can be the difference in someone’s career and it only takes the right information and discipline to learn how to do it. Whether you are a freelancer, an entrepreneur, a salesperson, or anyone in between, do yourself a favour and learn how to sell.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

NOW READ: How twins Emily and Sarah Hamilton grew beauty startup bellabox to 40,000 subscribers, and why they stopped that growth on purpose

NOW READ: How to create 90-day financial goals — and actually reach them

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Sue Barrett

Sue is a selling better strategist and advisor, sales philosopher and speaker, sales trainer and coach, writer and activist. Sue is chief executive of forward thinking sales advisory Barrett and online sales education and resource platform www.salesessentials.com. Barrett develops sales strategies, standards and education that help people and businesses sell better.

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