Suggestions from Professional Salespeople

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

It’s getting closer and closer to the holidays. Projects will get completed and lots of people will be tacking on vacation days to extend their time off. If you haven’t started your forecasting and business plan for 2019…what are you waiting for?

Another important consideration; evaluating your year…this year and next. What could you have done better? What can you do in the new year?

A few years ago, I found an interesting list of sales and marketing ideas attributed to different salespeople. I decided to review it, edit it, and bring it up-to-date.

1. Don't give up.

Eighty percent of all sales are made on the fifth through twelfth contact you have with that prospect. Don't just give up after calling three times and leaving voicemails; until they tell you "no," they are still a valuable lead. - Melissa Johnson

2. Thorough initial client interview.

There is no substitute for having an accurate picture of what your client truly wants… - Joshua Clayton

3. Read between the lines.

Even if someone says they want your opinion, they may just be looking for validation. If they insist they want your advice, ask them if they want both the good AND the bad of how you see things. - Scott Halford

4. Database management.

Establish and maintain a clean database of prospects. Every lead is too valuable to risk losing or let slip through the cracks. - James Marquet

5. Stay in contact.

Research shows that the vast majority of your prospective clients need to hear from you at least five or six times before you build the necessary trust and credibility for them to do business with you. Find out how they would like you to stay in touch.

6. Comfort level.

Research shows that over 70 percent of purchase decisions are based primarily on the comfort level the prospective client develops with the person providing or selling the product or service. - Warren J. Rosaluk

7. Smile.

No matter what, always have a smile on your face when making a call or receiving a call. The caller on the other end will hear the smile in your voice and will start your call off on a warm, friendly, and positive note. - Melissa Johnson

8. The inner circle.

Looking for business? Look to those you already have relationships with. Sometimes, we forget about this circle of contacts and it can be one of the best places to start. Your current networking circle can be a great place to pick up more business whether they are family, friends, fellow parents on your child's sports team, your hair stylist or even a Sunday School class. - Jennifer Butts

9. The name of the game is ... Referrals ... referrals... referrals!

I have focused on asking all of my clients for recommendations. - Roger L. Dearwester

10. Pitch (im)perfect.

Never ever pitch a product. Always approach a client by identifying a need and providing a sensible solution to that need. - Wendy Swanson

11. Connect to help others first.

Remember that when we get to know others and share our knowledge, connections and talents with them, they generally want to help us as well. And the degree to which they want to help us will be much greater. - Dan Norman

12. Keep filling and replenishing your pipeline.

You want to make sure that your pipeline is continuously being added to and bumped up with qualified prospects. By always having individuals at different stages of the sales process, you'll consistently have some that are coming through as new business. - Adrian Miller

13. Affinity marketing.

Find out what professional associations and societies your best clients belong to and see if there is a way to connect.

14. Be strategic.

You can't attend every networking event. Instead, determine who you want to meet, and then limit your networking time to attending those key functions. - Adrian Miller

15. Word of mouth.

Even with all the technology we have at hand, the best exposure your company can have is "word of mouth." You can tweak your other advertising methods to use customer referrals, but I feel that over time, this is the most important introduction a client can be made to your company. - Michael Miller

16. Short and sweet.

Persistence and patience. - Frank K. Albuerto III

17. Master your marketing.

Marketing on a weekly basis. Put your marketing first and foremost above everything else. The key is to do it on a consistent basis. - Ed Blazo

18. The golden rule.

If the three rules of real estate are location, location, location, the three rules of selling are prospect, prospect, prospect.

19. Follow through.

Be consistent. Many salespeople start plans with good intentions but fail to follow through.

20. Rework the old stuff.

Never forget to stay in touch with past clients…active or inactive. People like to do business with someone they have done business with in the past. You won’t know if they have a need if you don’t stay in contact…but your competitor will.

21. And nothing but the truth.

Tell the whole truth, and always act with complete honesty and integrity. - Carole Fiedler

22. Be a social media maven.

Make great use of and become an expert of social media, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. - Danielle Driscoll

23. Thank you.

No matter if you're selling a product or service, all clients are deserving of a thank you card. And every prospective client you meet also deserves thanks. Even a "no sale" could possibly lead to a wider referral base.

24. "Salesman begone!"

Always employ The Golden Rule and never act like a salesman! Treat people with respect and act like a consultant instead. I also never worry or think about how much I make per transaction. It creates stress and people will pick it up. - John Gotschall

25. The 2-2-6 program.

When making a sale, follow up in two weeks to ask if the client has any questions. Follow up in two months to ask if the client has any questions concerning the new product or service and how it’s working. Follow up in six months to review, and then ask for referrals.

26. Gather your resources.

Get referrals from existing clients. Boost your prospecting ability, and your ego, by collecting good words and great advocates.

27. The elevator speech.

Develop an elevator speech that drives your "unique selling proposition." Everyone who you meet every day of the year represents an opportunity to develop a relationship that can drive sales and networking opportunities. - Louise Kinard Erdman

28. Sell yourself first.

Always be on time and maintain a courteous, businesslike manner. Exhibit confidence and always use a positive tone of voice. Most importantly, stay neat and keep yourself organized, in both your appearance and your sales materials - Eric Coons

29. Navigate the networking waters.

If you've received an introduction, don't wait to make contact. Be proactive and reach out right away. It shows that you're motivated, interested and organized. Also, reciprocity is essential. If you've received an introduction, think of ways that you can return the favor or offer some other favor that delivers value. - Adrian Miller

Being a professional salesperson can be very rewarding, but it takes work and dedication.

As the saying goes, “Skill takes time, learning, and practice. How much are you willing to do?”

I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Jim Heilborn is a business consultant specializing in the office furniture/products industry, working nationwide with dealers, manufacturers, and service providers. Jim has been associated with INDEAL for over six years, specializing in training and dealer development. He can be reached at 916.434.9811 or