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20 Quota-Hitting Sales Tips from the Greatest Sellers We Know

An illustration of a woman watering a series of growing trees: sales tips.
Learn the art of active listening, handle objections like a pro, and meet every moment with value. These are only the beginning of your sales success. [Malte Mueller]

Don’t let shrinking budgets and reluctant buyers halt your sales momentum. Use the right sales tactics to keep moving forward — even in tough times.

With so many exciting changes coming to the world of sales (did somebody say AI?), there’s comfort in knowing that the basics are here to stay. The sales tips below bridge both worlds. You’ll learn how to use cutting-edge technology to become more productive, and you’ll get tricks of the trade on the fundamentals of selling, whether it’s perfecting the cold call or closing any kind of deal. 

What you’ll learn:

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Prospecting sales tips

These sales tips will help you define your target customer, fill your sales funnel with leads, and figure out which ones to go after first.

1. Know your target customer inside and out

Write down the qualities of your dream customer so you know when you meet them in real life. To do this, create a buyer persona before you go out and sell. 

Start your buyer persona by doing research and using data to describe the basics of your target customer. Use traits like title and role, company size, industry, and region. From there, use research to understand their job descriptions, including responsibilities and skills. Finally, use interviews to dig into their motivations. What are their pains, challenges, and goals? 

Once you have your buyer persona, put it into use. Pull it up before every prospect interaction, from emails to calls and meetings, and update it if your target customer shifts due to changes in your business or new insights.

2. Build credibility with a personal brand

Don’t just focus on outreach. Make it easier for prospects to find you by building up your public profile.  This worked so well for Elyse Archer, CEO and Founder of She Sells, that she had a reliable stream of prospects knocking on her door shortly after she started her sales coaching business.

If you’re ready to build your brand, Archer suggests writing down questions that your target customers might have, and answering them online (for example, on LinkedIn, YouTube, podcasts, and blogs.) “I make a list of 52 questions,” Archer said, giving advice on how to improve the sales cycle. “Once a week, I go on social media and answer one question. That’s a year’s worth of content mapped out, and you can answer those questions in 20 minutes.”

3. Use AI to help you prioritize your leads

Sellers spend almost 10% of their week prioritizing leads and opportunities. Using AI to do this for you frees up more time to sell. And in most cases, AI simply does it better

You can use a tool like Sales Cloud Einstein to rank all of your leads with Opportunity Scores that accurately predict their likelihood of closing. This helps you focus on the hottest leads. Just look at the leads with the highest scores, together with the positive and negative factors behind each score, to understand why certain leads are worthy of your time. Then, get to work reaching out.

4. Perfect the cold call

Cold calling accounts for up to 50% of new deals. Still, many sellers avoid cold calling because it comes with rejection. The good news is that a few simple cold calling tips can help you overcome this fear and say, “Bring it on!” to cold calling.

First, pull up that buyer persona previously discussed. Second, pull up case studies that show the return on investment (ROI) that current customers are achieving. Finally, write up a cold calling script that brings together the pains and goals of your target customer with the results of your real customers. 

John Barrows, CEO of JB Sales, suggests writing an intro about what your company does, a point of connection like a referral name or something you share in common, and a nugget of valuable information for the prospect. Finally, close with a call to action, like a request to schedule a follow-up meeting. 

5. Use sales email templates to prospect faster

It can feel like the attention span of prospects is shrinking, but writing emails is still a powerful way to reach out to prospects — if you do it right. Here are four email templates to help you write emails that get responses right away. These emails are part of one sequence that uses different approaches in the right order, from the outreach email to the follow-up email, the credibility-building email, and the breakup email.

Beyond using email templates, you can also use a generative AI tool that writes sales emails for you, using prompts and customer data. The goal is to speed up email outreach so you can spend more time selling to the prospects who respond.

Lead nurturing sales tips

Once you’ve narrowed down the leads you want to target, it’s time to advance the conversation and sell. These sales tips will help you nurture your leads and move them down the sales pipeline.

1. Create an account plan to help you propel the deal

When you’ve identified the prospects you want to sell to, create account plans that help you set the stage to advance deals to close. Here’s what should go inside each account plan:

Account summary

  • CEO’s company vision
  • Strategic priorities
  • Top competitors

Positioning summary

  • How can you help them deliver that vision?
  • What are the capabilities needed?
  • What are the questions you need answered?

Action summary

  • Who do you need to build relationships with to close the deal?
  • What are the products you’re selling?
  • What is the timeline to close the deal?

After you’ve filled out this account plan, don’t just put it on a shelf. Keep updating it as you go and add new categories if your sales process calls for it.

2. Have your elevator pitch ready

You never know when you’ll have 30 precious seconds in front of a valuable prospect to make your case, whether it’s at a networking event, a chance encounter, or a proper pitch meeting. When those 30 seconds happen, it’s good to be prepared with a concise story that can grab your prospect’s attention and describe what you have to offer. 

To create an elevator pitch, come up with a hook that captures their attention, then transition into a description of the challenge your prospect faces and how your solution can help. Then, describe a customer result that illustrates your product’s value. Finish with a request to continue the conversation. 

3. Practice active listening

It would be a mistake to think of listening as a passive activity, when in fact it’s one of the most important things a seller can do. “It’s about active listening, when you really absorb what your buyer says and prepare to ask follow-up questions, said Anita Nielsen, president of LDK Advisory. “You’re not just passively hearing them speak. You’re engaged.”

To practice active listening, record and listen to past calls (a conversational intelligence tool can help), and measure the amount of time you spend talking versus listening. “You should be talking less than half the time,” Nielsen said. This gives your prospect the chance to share their thoughts, and it gives you the chance to take it all in — not just their words, but also their tone of voice, their body language (if you can see them), and whether they’re using positive or negative language (e.g. “economical” versus “cheap”). Use this place of understanding to mirror their communication style and tailor your message to their goals.

4. Get them saying yes, yes immediately

Some things about sales will never change. It’s about a rep building a relationship with a prospect, one conversation at a time. That’s why a book written almost 90 years ago — “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie — still has lessons to impart today. 

Carnegie knew that the best way to bond with someone is to emphasize, and keep emphasizing, the things you agree on. The idea is that both the seller and the prospect want the same thing. The only difference is how you mean to get there. On your next sales call, practice finding a point of agreement within the first couple minutes, and anchoring the rest of your conversation to that resounding yes.

5. Compete on trust, not price

Eighty-seven percent of business buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors. They don’t want discounts. They want outcomes. To make your sales approach about outcomes, focus on building trust. “It’s the big things, and the little things,” said Brittany Schmid, President of Dale Carnegie Los Angeles, San Diego, Bay Area, and Sacramento.

She added, “Letting the little things slide can be a costly mistake. One client said they chose me because I always responded to their emails quickly. This means there’s someone out there who lost a deal because they let an email sit for too long. The details add up. Create polished presentations, follow up on meetings with helpful notes and next steps, and check in to see how your customer is doing. That’s how you build trust.” 

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Closing sales tips

These sales tips focus on the later stages of the sales process, helping you expertly advance each conversation until the ringing of the gong. Learn how to better prepare for meetings, tell a story with your sales pitch, and overcome sales objections.

1. Use CRM data to prepare for meetings

Sales is a relationship game, which is why it’s so important to go into every meeting with a strong grasp on the full context and history of your interactions with that customer. The problem? Some of these relationships have customer data going back for years. It’s why preparing for meetings is such a time-consuming and critical task. 

Sales reps can lean on technology, using AI that can do meeting prep for you, by gathering context from customer data in your CRM. For example, Sales Cloud Einstein gives you critical customer information you need to know before any meeting, helping you prep in an instant. And if there’s something specific you’re looking for, you can ask the AI a question. (Ex. “What are the features this customer mentioned during the discovery call that I should focus on?”) 

2. Frame your sales pitch as a story

Storytelling is the secret to a great sales pitch. The best sellers tell the story of where the prospect is now and where they could be in the future. 

Sales expert and author Tiffani Bova wrote that “inspiring change and getting buyers to think differently is a way to stand out from the competition.” One of the most powerful storytelling strategies is: Show, don’t tell. Paint a picture of your vision for your prospect, show them where they fit into it, and help them imagine how it will feel to live in that reality. That will be a lot more effective than simply reciting a laundry list of product names, features, and numbers.

3. Turn past deal insights into faster wins

Sellers need to be constantly learning from their past deals, both good and bad. Why did your successful deals close? And why did others slip through your fingers? 

One treasure trove is your historical sales calls. Sales reps should review past conversations and mine them for data: popular topics, common objections, messages that resonate, and turning points where things went wrong. Use these insights to get better in future calls by knowing what to emphasize and which pitfalls to avoid. To speed up this learning, use Einstein Conversation Insights, which transcribes your calls, makes them searchable, and flags key moments for you to review.

4. Prepare yourself to handle any objection

It’s a rookie error to assume that a sales objection means something went wrong. In fact, sales objections are a normal and healthy part of the sales process. As John Barrows noted, “Objections are buying signals. If someone shares an objection, it means they’re engaged. You’re still in the game.”

Here’s more good news: The list of possible objections is surprisingly small and breaks down into five basic categories. Here’s an objection handling template that has scripts and an exercise to help you prepare for the sales objections that will inevitably come.

5. Tailor your closing approach to each specific deal

There’s no one way to close a sale. Experienced sellers have a range of closing techniques in their back pocket to use when the situation calls for it.

For example, one closing technique is an assumptive close, where you move forward under the assumption that the prospect wants to buy. (“How many products would you like?”) Another technique is the puppy dog close, where you offer your prospect the chance to test your product out, much like a pet store might let you test a puppy out, knowing that you’ll fall in love. Get the full list of closing techniques here.

Mindset sales tips

These sales tips are all about taking a step back to embrace the seller’s mindset, so you have the integrity, sense of calm, and mental well-being to build trust.

1. Be impeccable with your word

This sales tip is actually ancient advice from the book “The Four Agreements,” which describes a moral code to live by.

Sales expert Lori Richardson, CEO of Score More Sales, says this is her favorite sales book, and that she learned the importance of this sales tip the hard way. “Not being impeccable with my word is the easiest way to lose a client,” she said. To stand out in a crowd, make it a point to live up to your word, whether it’s following up when you say you will, or continuing to support your customers after the sale. 

2. Be the calmest voice in the room

“Our customers look to us for reassurance more than we realize,” Schmid said. “This is especially true if we’re doing our job right, becoming so trusted that we’re thought of as an extension of their own team.”

Schmid says that being the calmest voice in the room means shielding them from the hair-pulling that sometimes happens in the background in order to get deals done. This sales tip encourages you to tune into your emotional state before customer interactions so you know when you’re at risk of communicating stress and negativity. “If you are,” Schmid said, “then postpone the conversation until you’re ready to project calm instead — because credibility begins with perception.”

3. Forget about the quick sale

With all this talk about selling, it’s a good time to remind you that no deal will happen without a solid relationship in place. That’s why the sales expert Sunita Gill wrote that the first rule of relationship selling is: Don’t sell. 

She urges sellers to shift the focus away from the quick sale and put it on the prospect in front of them. “What are their pains and challenges, and how can you help? Sometimes, lending an ear is good enough, because nothing builds a bond better than giving someone your full attention.”

4. Don’t let your ego tank a deal

Sales consultant Marcus Chan learned about humility the hard way, through failure. “I thought I had a $520 in the bag. I gave the demo of my life and made a clear business case.”

Then he got the phone call: The prospect decided to stay with their current vendor. The rejection surprised Chan at first, but then he looked back. He realized that he had neglected some key decision-makers and hadn’t made a strong enough case for why they should make the switch. The lesson? Don’t assume you have a deal in the bag until the ink is dry.

5. Put your mental health first 

Some 63% of sellers say they struggle with mental health. The truth is that unless you’re prioritizing your mental well-being, your sales career won’t have the luster it deserves, and that’s why this may be the most important sales tip of all.

Sales coach Ian Koniak recounts having his emotional rock bottom the same year he made a record $5 million in sales. “Why was I still so miserable?” he wrote. “My sales had never been better. My mental health had never been worse.” His advice? Focus on the effort you can control, rather than the results that you can’t. And remember that the root of your mental health is in your personal life at home, not your professional life.  Following the mantra, “I am not my number,” Koniak recommends seeking joy outside of work and setting boundaries. 

Put these sales tips to the test

Now that you have a lay of the land of the most important sales tips, it’s time to practice them on the job. Choose one a day to work on; this is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Brittany Schmid, President and CEO of Dale Carnegie Los Angeles, San Diego, Bay Area, and Sacramento, contributed to this article.

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