November 15, 2023

Broken to Better: Selling for Success

No matter what your business is, there’s one thing you need to be profitable: sales. 

It’s one of my favorite topics. You’re selling something every day, whether it’s yourself in a job interview, an idea in a meeting, or the day’s specials at a restaurant. 

While tons of books promise step-by-step instructions to guaranteed results, it all comes back to people. Do you like people? Do you have the social skills to read and adapt? Can you build relationships?

Sales success hinges on your likability, passion for your product, and strong relationships. Here are tips on how to be profitable and sell for success.

1. Master your fear of rejection

Rejection is a common fear, but it can kill your sales game. We all face setbacks, lost clients, and botched deals. Your ability to persevere and your resilience will help you turn that Monday “no” into a “yes” on Wednesday.

I firmly believe everyone should spend time waiting tables or working retail to overcome their fear of rejection. They’re the perfect stomping grounds to learn how to have conversations. You’ll learn how to turn a “no” into a “yes” and how to make the most out of every “no” you get.

Just as coaches review game footage to improve, a salesperson should assess every client interaction. If a potential client isn’t interested, courteously thank them and move on. More opportunities await.

Consider these post-sales questions:

  • Why did the client decline? How can I turn that into a yes?
  • What made another client accept? What worked?
  • If a client says, “Not now,” how might I refine my approach?

Instead of letting fear take over, learn from every successful and unsuccessful sale. Each encounter offers a lesson. Prioritize building client relationships by listening to feedback and improving your process and products.

2. Believe in what you sell

A hallmark of a successful salesperson is their belief in what they’re selling. Knowing that your product or service is the best—and being able to communicate it to your prospects—is critical.

As a business owner, belief in your company is in your DNA. Kiira Belonzi and I spent the first two and a half years at Branded Group selling 24/7/365. But to keep that momentum going, we had to find salespeople who would be as passionate about our company as we were. That’s near impossible to do.

The stark reality is that while no one will match your fervor for your own venture, dedicated teammates can become its fierce champions. They’ll rise to challenges, initiate innovations, and passionately sell products they genuinely believe in. A proud team behind great offerings ensures growth and cements customer loyalty.

3. Build genuine client relationships

I attribute my success to getting to know my clients. Their birthday is on my calendar. I remember their spouses’ names, their children, their dogs. The deep, genuine connections I build with them make them feel valued.

Yet, it’s about more than just gathering information. It’s about active listening and meaningful conversations. 

Good listening once revealed an opportunity for us to venture into a new line of business, generating an additional revenue stream. Years ago, a client asked if we provided kitchen equipment maintenance or janitorial services. We didn’t at the time, but we wanted to help out a great client. We invested time researching a solution—now it’s one of our many services.

We also need the humility to accept when we can’t meet a need, like our venture into milkshake machine repairs. Recognizing and being honest about our limitations only deepened our client’s trust.

In today’s business landscape, words like empathy, compassion, and vulnerability might seem overused, but they remain crucial. When you step into your client’s shoes, understand their challenges, and see them as more than just a prospect, you’re not just making a sale. You’re forging a bond. And that bond, built on mutual respect and genuine interest, is what differentiates a good salesperson from a great one.

Always look at the big picture

Today, our clients view us as caring, honest, and authentic. These aren’t just words. We’ve put relationships over sales for years, and it’s paid off. While money and big commission checks can motivate you for a while, you have to keep the big picture in mind. Knowing the value of your products and services and sharing it with your clients is a much more sustainable approach to sales.

Remember, at the heart of a high-performing sales team lies trust in leadership. Salespeople must confidently believe their CEO stands by them, whether navigating challenges or earning commissions. This bond, with its blend of mutual respect and shared ambition, fuels enduring business success.

Want to improve your sales skills and learn to grow your business? Check out my consulting services and discover how to Be Better.

This piece is based on a chapter of Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership. The book is dedicated to business leaders who are seeking to Be Better in their company for their employees, clients and communities. Download/purchase the full book here.

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