No matter how long you’ve been in sales, how extensive your sales training, or how healthy your company’s bottom line, your sales strategy must always be a work in progress. Shape your sales pitch using proven techniques and data from your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to find the greatest success. Here is a round-up of strategies that work in a variety of industries and situations.

 
Some sales tips are classics because they continue to work no matter how much an industry changes. The most effective sales techniques, regardless of the industry, include:
 
When first meeting a customer or prospect, give them a steady handshake and look the person in the eye.
Your contacts are more than just prospects. Treat them as you would a person you meet outside of work – get to know them, build a relationship, and establish trust.
 
Explain exactly what your business does and get to the point to avoid confusion. Don’t be grandiose.
When appropriate, share your own struggles in the industry or what you did over the weekend. For many, small talk helps establish a rapport and trust.
 
Your leads don’t want to hear anything negative about competitors or the industry. Focus instead on your business’ key differentiators and how you can help improve your prospect’s situation.
Do what you say you will do. If you offer a discount that is no longer active, find a way to honour what you told your prospect. Similarly, if you promise to follow up with a phone call on Monday, make it a priority to call Monday. Staying true to your word helps build trust and lets customers know they can rely on you.
 
Tell prospects and customers exactly what you offer and directly relate it to how it can help them.
Referrals have a much higher conversion rate than cold calls do. Ask people in your network if they can refer you to a prospect who would benefit from your services.
 
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These classic sales techniques work because they focus on the other person. It’s about listening to what your prospect needs instead of pushing your own agenda.  By becoming a better listener, you’ll find you are also a better salesperson.
 
Pay attention to body language.

Salespeople must focus on their body language and facial expressions so they come off as interested. Focus on using open body language, such as uncrossed arms and legs, and smiling or nodding to acknowledge the other person’s point. You can evaluate the other person’s body language as well. If they seem uncertain, focus on a deeper topic to draw out their attention and interest. 

 

Acknowledge what the person is saying so you can fully understand their needs.

Briefly summarize what they said to show you paid attention. Repeating it out loud can also help you remember what was said after the conversation is over.

Wait to form your response.
Listen to their full thought, then respond to what they say.
 
Some of the most common sales techniques can be broken down into different strategies that implement their effectiveness:
 
Inside sales techniques , which focus on phone or online methods instead of in-person meetings.

Outbound sales techniques are mainly concerned with contacting leads who have shown an interest in services or are cold-call contacts.

 

Direct sales techniques are suited for face-to-face selling outside of a physical store location.

Referral sales techniques are built around leveraging a network that continuously brings in qualified referral leads.

Here are some common sales strategies that work best for each sales technique:
Sales Strategy Inside Sales Outbound Sales Direct Sales Referral Sales
Phone Calls X X   X
Social Selling X   X X
Email X   X X
In-Person Meetings     X X
Website Content Leads X X  

 

These sales strategies can be used together to create a robust ongoing sales plan to meet goals and track performance.
 
Contacting new leads or ongoing prospects in the sales funnel via phone. Your phone sales techniques must be practiced and polished, and your calls must be tracked to avoid overwhelming a customer.
Using both email marketing campaigns and individual, personalized emails to stay in touch with prospects and contacts.
Scheduling in-person meetings with new and existing customers who may continue to buy more from your organization or send you referrals on a regular basis.
Using content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and other digital marketing strategies. With this sales technique, you create informative website content and blog posts that drive leads and generate interest in your products and services.
Leveraging social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter to build your network and get the word out about your offerings.
In addition to which strategies work best with each sales technique, you should also look at which techniques will work best for your specific industry:
Industry Inside Sales Outbound Sales Direct Sales Referral Sales
Retail X   X X
B2B X X   X
E-Commerce X   X X
B2C X X X X
 
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Retail and e-commerce overlap in a variety of specific industries, but B2B and B2C remain fairly divided in terms of sales strategy. While many of the same techniques can be used in both types of business, the way they are implemented is different. In many cases, B2B sales take longer to close than B2C because they consist of bigger orders and more complex products, and have a much higher average order amount, according to CBS News.
B2B also focuses more on building relationships than B2C, which is much more likely to survive on occasional purchases than a B2B company. Repeat orders are crucial to B2B success, so relationships with decision makers should be the focus of B2B sales strategy.
 
No matter if you’re in B2B, retail, e-commerce, or B2C, some of the most effective sales closing techniques remain the same.
 
Many salespeople live and die by the phone, and for good reason: A phone call or in-person visit may be key to closing for a potential customer who is an auditory or tactile person. If they are slow to respond to emails, try these more personal connection methods instead.
The fear of missing out, or FOMO, is real. Tell potential customers how others have benefitted from your products or services through data and testimonials.
Use actionable questions or statements to move the sale forward. Instead of saying, “When can I bring the contract to you?” try “I will be by your office on Thursday after 2 p.m. I can bring the contract by then, if that works for you. How about 2:30 p.m.?” By specifying what needs to happen next, you cut down on decision fatigue and make the sales process as easy as possible.
Every customer wants to know the results their order will get them. How does your product or service generate sales, increase productivity, impact their bottom line, or improve their personal life? Show the client what results they’ll get and how it will help them.
The Sales Hunter recommends asking for specific examples or further clarification when a potential customer tells you what their pain points are.
While these tactics can certainly help move a sale forward, a signed contract or paid invoice just means this part of the sale is over. The relationship is just beginning. The most important sales technique is to continue to build relationships and follow up. Your customers may want to make repeat purchases or refer you to someone else in their network.
 
 

Keeping track of relationships is key for any business. Sales is more than maintaining the status quo: For the majority of businesses, a sales team is focused on growth. Sustainable growth is only possible through reliable tracking via a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

As your business grows, so will your technology needs. A CRM platform will scale according to your current needs, and it will help you track all your business contacts, prospects as they move through the sales funnel, notes on calls and outreach, and ordering metrics to gauge future needs and behaviour.

Using a CRM platform can increase conversions almost 30 per cent, bump up sales team productivity by 32 per cent, and produce 44 per cent more accurate sales estimates.
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