5 Tried-and-True Sales Methods You Should Still Be Using in the 21st Century

Make no mistake; the world of sales is changing. Technology seems to be driving the sales vehicle in today’s society, but it’s the old school, tried and true, consultative techniques that separate the good from the great sales professional.

When we discuss old school techniques, we reminisce about heroes such as Zig Ziglar, Harvey McKay and Dale Carnegie, who taught the world a few fundamental rules of sales, which can be encapsulated primarily by this one statement, which will always be true: People buy from people they like and trust.

Trust is a sales professional’s most valuable currency. The ability to cultivate and sustain trust with people is the X factor that the best sales professionals rely on to consistently excel at what they do. Here are 5 old school techniques your sales staff should master, which will help them build trust.

1. They are always selling. Whether they are in front of a huge client, at the grocery store, or posting a favorite beach photo on Facebook, they are always selling. Make sure they are aware of the image they are portraying and that it is aligned with their professional and personal image.

Maintaining a personal brand of trust is a 24/7/365 proposition. Every action, word and interaction with people goes into the lasting impression your salesperson makes on them, whether or not it happened during the workday. Directly or indirectly, your staff are always building or losing trust. They never know when a new opportunity to establish or nurture a relationship is going to crop up. Ensure that trust-building is part of their persona and is genuine, to keep your brand switch “on.”

2. Develop their personal brand. Require them to develop a personal branding statement. Have them write down their unique talents, skills and practices, and why people with whom you do business value them. Then revisit this statement in an annual sales meeting and ask three fundamental questions:

  • Are you living up to your personal brand?
  • Does your personal branding statement need to be revised, and if so, why?
  • How could you strengthen my brand?

As your sales team focuses more and more on developing and living up to their personal brand statements, you will find that their actions automatically become aligned to the statement. As a result, they will actively seek out opportunities to become an expert in their field and to demonstrate that expertise on a regular basis on your company’s behalf.

3. Always be serving. An always-serving mindset means your sales team should be constantly serving the people they work with, including their peers and their staff. These are the people whose support they need to succeed. By serving them and treating them with respect and humility, they will engender a culture of serving in the workplace that works both ways.

4. Be a challenger. The Harvard Business Review describes 5 different and distinct seller profile styles of salespeople rated by performance. Coming out on top was the king of the sales jungle: The Challenger. Challengers take control of the conversation through the use of questioning to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ businesses. Then, they positively assert their viewpoints, which help to push the customer’s and their own personal thinking to develop creative solutions. Ultimately, customers do not simply want yes-people. They want to know that their sales representative truly understands the problem and is presenting the best solution possible.

5. Eliminate the “F” word. Pessimists tend to let ‘failure’ get wrapped around the axle of their success and talent. There is no failure; there are only opportunities to learn and move forward. Don’t let your sales team be judged based on rejection. Every salesperson takes their lumps. So, replace the “F” word in your sales culture with the “E” word: “Experience,” and treat those experiences as gifts. Through focusing on experiences rather than looking at failures, we build a sense of self-control, we persevere through even the most difficult of hardships, and we develop an indomitable spirit.

Leading your sales team to use the tools developed by the old school masters provides the power to allow them to move from good to great. Get your sales team to go ‘old school’ and they will overcome difficult challenges and achieve tough goals.


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