Are you a good salesperson or simply good enough?
Over the years, I’ve met countless “good enough” salespeople who make a solid living selling products and services.
But when it comes to mastering how to be a good salesman or saleswoman—well, let me put it this way: For every 80 “good enough” salespeople I’ve met, I’ve met one great salesperson who really knows how to be a good salesperson.
Good salespeople are incredibly rare, and there’s only one thing that separates them from the rest of the pack: their sales strategy.
Once you know the sales strategy of how to be a great salesman or saleswoman, it’s surprisingly easy to follow the steps to get their yourself.
In this video and article, I’m going to share how to be a good salesman or saleswoman in just 5 simple steps.
Learn How to Be a Good Salesman or Saleswoman to Boost Your Income
Did you know that great salespeople typically make 10 times as much as the average salesperson?
I’m always amazed that not everyone is obsessed with figuring out exactly how to be a good salesman or saleswoman and become so successful.
Luckily for you, I am obsessed—and I’ve put together an overview of the best sales strategy techniques great salespeople use.
With the right changes to your current sales strategy, you can master how to be a good salesman or saleswoman and start crushing your sales goals to make more money than ever before.
Read on to learn how to boost your income with the five steps to becoming a great salesman or saleswoman by changing your sales strategy.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Tip #1: Get clear on your “why” in sales.
All great salespeople know why they sell every single day, so knowing your “why” in sales is the first step to learning how to be a good salesperson.
Truly good salespeople don’t just run through the motions; they’re intentional about why it matters.
So, why do you sell?
The answer to this question will become the foundation of your new sales strategy, so really dig deep here.
Don’t just say, “I sell because I want to be successful.” This is simply not a strong enough “why” if you want to master how to be a great salesman or saleswoman.
If that’s your answer, then I can tell you right now that you’re only destined to be an average salesperson at best, no matter how great your think your sales strategy is.
Great salespeople are driven by powerful personal factors such as family, kids, or a fear of being poor again.
Whatever it is that motivates you, get incredibly clear on why you’re going to pick up that phone tomorrow, why you’re going to consistently perform great sales habits, hop on that plane to meet prospects next week, or ask for that next introduction.
Without a crystal clear “why,” you’ll never stay motivated when rejection comes—and in sales, rejection is going to come.
If you know why you want to master how to be a good salesman or saleswoman and crush your sales goals, it’ll take far more than a difficult gatekeeper or frustrating objection to knock you off course.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Tip #2: Learn to say “no” often.
Most salespeople love to say “yes.” They think that being liked by everyone will somehow help them close more sales—but it just doesn’t work that way.
Saying “yes” to anyone and everyone will only distract you from doing the work that can lead you to close massive sales.
If you want to know how to be a good salesman or saleswoman, you have to learn to say “no” constantly.
Great salespeople say “no” not because they’re mean, but because they understand the value of their time.
Time management is one of the most crucial elements of any strong sales strategy.
If you want to master how to be a good salesman or saleswoman, it’s time to start thinking more like high-powered attorneys who bill at $1,000 an hour.
Now, would that $1,000-per-hour attorney say “yes” to just anyone? No way.
They know the value of their time, so they jealously guard that time and say no to distractions constantly.
“No” is a critical part of their strategy, just like it should be a critical part of your sales strategy.
As you learn how to be a great salesman or saleswoman, get vigilant about your time and start saying “no” to people who want to pull you away from selling.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Tip #3: Disqualify prospects who aren’t a good fit.
The secret to how to be a good salesman or saleswoman doesn’t lie in knowing how to sell to anyone.
Not all prospects are alike, and just because someone has a pulse and can buy from you doesn’t mean that you should spend time trying to sell to that prospect.
In fact, at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit.
The best salespeople disqualify that 50% right away as part of their sales strategy, so that they don’t waste any more time on run arounds and dead ends.
While most salespeople will try to sell to anyone, learning how to be a good salesperson means you’ll reserve your time only for well-qualified prospects.
Ask qualifying questions early in your sales process, and make disqualification a central part of your new sales strategy.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Tip #4: Prioritize big sales over frequent sales.
Did you know that 28% of salespeople call closing more deals their top sales priority? This is a misguided approach.
Why? Because closing more sales isn’t nearly as important as closing bigger sales.
In fact, average salespeople usually sell about as frequently as great salespeople. The difference between the two is the size of the sale.
Focusing on big sales should become the lynchpin of your sales strategy if you want to learn how to be a great salesman or saleswoman.
It’s hard work to close a large number of sales, but the difference between closing small sales and big sales has very little to do with effort.
In fact, both require about the same amount of work.
The difference is guts.
Learning how to be a good salesperson is all about having the confidence to sell to high-level buyers at bigger companies.
It’s about being willing to be more expensive than your competitors in the eyes of your prospects—then offering more value to back it up.
As you continue on your journey of learning how to be a good salesman or saleswoman, worry less about closing more sales and start going after those better opportunities to make bigger sales instead.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Tip #5: Stop looking for friends.
Just last year I had a prospect actually ask me to leave his office.
Now, I could tell that this CEO was bullshitting me, and I actually told him so. He didn’t like that I challenged him.
He was a weak leader and he couldn’t take the truth. He kicked me out of his office, so I left.
After that experience, I could not wait to call my wife immediately afterwards to tell her the story, and we laughed our asses off.
That night, I slept like a baby. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t upset.
I knew I’d done my job and followed my sales strategy—which was to challenge my prospect to understand what the real issue was—and he couldn’t handle that.
He got mad, so he kicked me out of his office, and I didn’t care.
When you’re learning how to be a good salesman or saleswoman, you have to realize you can’t be everyone’s friend.
Great salespeople care more about challenging their prospects than befriending them, and they don’t care if they piss people off along the way.
If you want to close bigger deals more frequently, making friends shouldn’t be part of your sales strategy.
Conclusion: Follow These 5 Steps to Discover How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman
Knowing how to be a good salesman or saleswoman doesn’t have to be complicated.
Once you learn the sales strategy of top salespeople across industries, you can apply them to your own sales process in order to close more sales, close bigger sales, and crush your sales goals.
First, make sure you know your “why” in sales.
The world of sales is tough, and without a clear “why” that really resonates with you, you’ll either quit or revert to the techniques of poor or average salespeople when you inevitably face obstacles along the way.
Second, get comfortable saying “no” often.
Unless you learn to say “no” to time wasters and tire kickers, you’ll never have the capacity to focus on your sales strategy and chase after your biggest goals.
This isn’t about being mean. It’s about recognizing the value of your time and doing what you have to do in order to succeed in sales.
Third, disqualify prospects who aren’t a good fit.
When you’re learning how to be a good salesperson, stop trying to close anyone with a pulse.
Instead, weed out unqualified prospects so that you can focus on closing really big sales that will help you crush your goals.
Fourth, remember that size outranks frequency in the world of sales.
Knowing how to be a good salesperson is less about the number of sales you close and more about closing huge deals that make you more money.
Big sales don’t take any more effort than small sales, but they do take more guts—so take a big breath and get to work.
Finally, stop looking for friends in your prospects.
Buyers want to work with an expert they can trust, not someone who just says “yes” to everything in an effort to make a friend and close a sale.
Focus on using your expertise to challenge prospects and uncover what’s really going on in their world.
If you piss some weak-minded people off along the way, you’re probably doing it right. Stay the course and you’ll close bigger sales with customers who actually respect you.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Bonus Tip #1: Use a systematic strategy.
Most salespeople feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of competing ideas on sales strategy.
The result? They end up using a haphazard, unstrategic approach to selling that isn’t proven to work. If you really want to learn how to be a great salesman or saleswoman, you need to avoid this at all costs.
So, how can you implement the right selling approach? The answer is to use a systematic strategy that’s data-driven and proven to work.
In my own videos and articles, I frequently talk about the strategy I developed and use with all my clients. You can see this sales strategy right here.
Whether you use my strategy or another systematic strategy, make sure it’s based in data and don’t listen to self-proclaimed gurus and the opinions of random people.
Once I put together a systematic strategy for selling based on the data, it became clear to me how to be a great salesman.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Bonus Tip #2: Utilize all the tools available.
Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Is there a better way to sell today? Am I missing something?” If you’re not utilizing at least a few sales technology tools when you sell, the answer is yes.
Learning how to be a great salesman or saleswoman means being open to new ways of doing things, and trying out different approaches to selling.
Some of the best salespeople out there are constantly updating their tools to make sure they’re on the cutting edge. That said, you don’t have to be ultra-tech-savvy and obsessed with widgets to take advantage of what’s out there. So don’t worry if technology isn’t your wheelhouse.
There are many simple tools you can use, such as Yesware, Rapportive, and Google’s G Suite, that are easy to set up and even easier to use every day when you sell.
Check out this video about sales tools to learn about some of my personal favorites that can help you with email prospecting.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Bonus Tip #3: Prospect with a campaign.
When you prospect, is it part of a strategic campaign? If not, you’re far from alone.
If you want to know how to be a good salesman or saleswoman, you need to start prospecting with a campaign. This means that you need to stop calling prospects without a strategy planned out ahead of time.
Instead, carefully plot out a prospecting campaign, with specific touch-points over the course of many months including phone calls, voicemails, emails, info packages, and other high-value content such as white papers, reports, and books.
Think about how to be a great salesman or saleswoman when you’re developing this campaign so that you can close more deals and never make a true cold call again.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Bonus Tip #4: Stop worrying about sales and focus on activity.
Nearly all salespeople focus on their sales numbers. But only the top-performing salespeople focus more on sales activities than they do on actual sales.
Sales activity is central to how to be a good salesman or saleswoman. You can’t achieve selling success unless you master the many different daily, weekly, and monthly factors that go into making sure you hit your sales goals.
These factors include how many leads you need, what the best method of getting leads is, and whether you’re doing the right activities at the right times in the sales process to close deals on a consistent basis.
So, if you really want to know how to be a great salesman or saleswoman, stop worrying about sales and focus on activity.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Bonus Tip #5: Focus on value, not product.
It’s time to stop focusing on your product when you sell. If that sounds counterintuitive, that’s because it is.
For the past century, salespeople have been taught to talk about their products ad nauseum and tell prospects about every bell and whistle that comes with every offering.
But when it comes to learning how to be a great salesman or saleswoman, it’s critical to start focusing on value, not product. When you focus on your product, you actually decrease its value in the eyes of the prospect. Instead, focus on how your product helps prospects—what value does it bring?
Every good offering helps clients achieve certain outcomes. If your offering can help a company save $2M in lost productivity over the course of the next year, what is that outcome worth to the prospect? Probably a lot more than what you’re charging.
Help prospects understand the value of what you offer, instead of yammering on about your product.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Bonus Tip #6: Don’t avoid budget.
We’re all taught from a young age that it’s rude to talk about money. If you want to master how to be a great salesman or saleswoman, you need to kick this to the curb.
As salespeople, we absolutely must talk about money with prospects. Far from avoiding budget, you should establish a budget during the initial discovery phase by asking the right questions. For example, how much is the challenge at hand costing your prospect? And what would it mean to the prospect, in dollars, to fix that challenge?
Once you know the answers to those questions, ask point-blank: “Do you have a budget for this?” Asking this simple question of every single prospect is imperative if you want to learn how to be a great salesman or saleswoman. Otherwise, you’ll never really know if a prospect is qualified.
How to Be a Great Salesman or Saleswoman Bonus Tip #7: Avoid objections, don’t overcome them.
There are certain objections that nearly every salesperson hears, once they’ve been in the game long enough. From “I need to think it over” to “I don’t have a budget,” these common objections are dreaded by salespeople everywhere.
The key to any objection in sales is not to overcome them, but rather to avoid them in the first place. You can do this by taking a cue from how to be a great salesman or saleswoman: anticipate and prepare for objections ahead of time.
Check out this video to learn specific strategies for how to avoid objections in sales that are most common.
So, there you have it. Now you know five steps for how to become a great salesman or saleswoman (plus 7 bonus tips) by making a few changes to your sales strategy.
I want to hear from you. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share in the comment section below to get involved in the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.