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Getting better at sales: the checklist

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Jesse Huylebroeck
Sales Representative

Getting better at something requires training. But what exactly do you need to get better at? You can find that list right here.

Before you read on, I'll give you my most important piece of advice. Like good habits or New Year's resolutions, you're looking at things from a long-term perspective. Start with small adjustments to your daily routine and try to keep things going. This way, you can always add something small and before you know it, you have optimized your entire personal sales flow.

1. Do you measure all your data?

Measuring is knowing. Map out what your actual performances. How many demos did you do? How many prospects are actually in your funnel? How many cold-calls did you do? etc.

Suppose you need 5 deals of 10.000 euro to reach your quota. Then try to find out how many deals you could close after a successful demo. If you've given four demos and you've won one deal, you can say that your closing ratio is 25%. If you know that your closing ratio is 25% and you need 5 deals, then you know that you will have to give at least 20 demos. And so you can analyze further. How many calls do you need to schedule one demo? ...

This is an easy way to set measurable goals and work towards your own success.

2. Do you put good habits in place?

If you look at how many touchpoints you need to create, in order to eventually win a deal, you can't help but decide that sales is a hard job. There's also a lot of stress involved. To protect yourself, it's best to cultivate some effective habits. A healthy work ethic, based on measurable goals is one of them.

Mens sana in corpore sano. Work hard, play hard - all well and good, but you only have one body, so you better take good care of it. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy, try to exercise enough. That can also be an exhaust valve to take the stress off you.

In addition, you also need a positive mindset. And yes, sleeping also helps here. Because if you've slept enough, it's easier to stay positive. You have more patience, you put things into perspective and that in turn keeps you mentally fresh. This gives you better ideas and you just find more ways to Rome faster.

3. Are you already letting yourself be coached?

Coaches will get you out of your comfort zone. If they ask you to do something which is outside of that zone, it will not be easy. Therefore, the hardest thing is to open up to feedback and coaching afterwards.

If your coach teaches you scripts or negotiation techniques, it is often because he or she has already experienced in practice that they work. Habits may feel comfortable for them, of course you have to cultivate them first. If something doesn't work right away, try to be open to analysis and self-reflection. Whenever possible, you can also practice with your colleagues for certain meetings or conversations. You will feel more confident afterwards anyway.

Also try to learn at different levels. How do your other colleagues deal with a certain type of mail? What are their do's and don'ts when they give presentations? What questions do they ask? What is their follow-up advice?

4. Have you already grown an elephant skin?

Sometimes it seems like every attempt turns out to be a success story for certain salesmen. Still, I don't know many people who have a closingratio of more than 30 or 40 percent. Personally, I think the secret lies more in their way of dealing with rejections. Actually, rejection is 'part of the game' for everyone, but those who sell well, those moments are also opportunities to listen.

For example, 'Not now' can be a rejection in the ears of one salesman and an 'opening in the near future' for another. For those who work with multiple business lines, the reason for the rejection may be a good tip for a new project in another business line.

And if we're still talking about 'measuring is knowing'. The best option to start caring less about this, is simply to make sure your pipeline is big enough. The more deals you have in your pocket, the less you'll mind the rejection. Which brings me right back to the start of this article.

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