9 Hidden Secrets of Sales Success

In today’s crazy marketplace, there’s a small group of sales professionals who are still absolutely crushing their sales

When I say this is a small group, I mean it’s a very, very small group—as in, the top 1% of salespeople in all industries.

Regardless of industry, offering, or customer base, these top-performing salespeople all tend to be using the same secret, hidden strategies for sales success that other salespeople simply don’t know about.

As a result, these all-star salespeople are selling in a way that’s markedly different from the hoards of other salespeople out there today.

What’s amazing is that the hidden secrets of sales success are often surprisingly simple.

So, in this video, I’m going to take the mystery out of it all by sharing the 9 hidden secrets of sales success that top performers are implementing across all industries. Check it out:

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1. Believe in what you sell.

1. Believe in What You Sell

This may sound painfully obvious, but very few salespeople actually talk about the importance of believing in what they sell. In fact, many salespeople challenge me on this point. They say, “No one really wants what I’m selling…” and I ask, “Well, do you believe in what you’re selling?” and they give me a reply along the lines of, “Uh, kind of…”

When I hear such a lack of belief in what they sell, I say, “Then what are you doing selling that?! There are so many other things you could be selling in the world that actually help people. Offerings that you can believe in. There’s so much out there that really improves people’s lives and makes their businesses better. Why would you waste your life selling something that you don’t believe in?”

If you don’t believe in what you sell, then you’ve got to sell something else. You absolutely must believe in what you sell. If you don’t, then when prospects push back on you, you’re going to have a subconscious part of your brain telling you, “Yeah, I’d probably say the same thing if I were them.” That mentality sets you up for failure.

And so, the most important hidden secret of sales success is simply that you must first believe in what you sell before you can do anything else.

2. Not making a sale hurts the prospect.

2. Not Making a Sale Hurts the Prospect

This is one of the most powerful mindsets that top performers have. I rarely, if ever, hear this concept come into play when talking to average or low-performing salespeople. However, top performers are always thinking, “If I don’t make this sale with a prospect who is a good fit, then it’s actually going to hurt them.”

Think about it: if you had this powerful mindset, how would it change what you’re doing in sales right now?

When you believe that not making a sale will hurt the prospect, suddenly it’s not about you anymore. It’s not just about paying your bills. It’s actually about improving the quality of someone else’s life.

The key to this hidden secret of sales success is that you don’t just start persuading and pitching and putting tons of pressure on every prospect to move forward. You should only activate this mindset if the prospect is obviously a good fit for what you sell.

When you cultivate the outlook that not making the sale to qualified prospects is a real disservice to them, suddenly you’re selling from a completely different place. You must believe that every time you make a sale, it is helping someone. And every time you don’t make a sale to a person who’s a fit, it’s actually doing them a disservice.

3. No’s are good.

3. No's are good.

Our data shows that about 50% of initial prospects you come across will not be a fit for whatever you sell. And that’s okay.

One of the keys to a good sales process is that, early on, you must determine whether a prospect is a fit. If they’re not a fit for what you offer, then it’s got to become a “no” pretty quickly—because you want to move on from those disqualified prospects as fast as you can.

Recognizing that no’s are good is one of the most powerful hidden secrets of sales success.

Think of the alternative. If you’re out there trying to sell everything to everyone (which is the reality of most salespeople today) then most of the people you’re talking to won’t actually need what you’re offering, and a lot of them won’t be a fit for what you sell.

Don’t waste time with people who are never going to buy. No’s are, in fact, a very good thing. Getting a “no” means that you can quickly move on and never think about that prospect again.

Now, of course, some prospects might be a good fit, but maybe the timing’s just not right. Use your judgment. But what you don’t want is to develop a long list of follow-ups where you have 50 or 100 prospects you’re constantly checking in on.

Drop the follow-ups and have the confidence to walk away from prospects who are telling you no because it’s just not a good fit. If it’s a no, that’s fine. Move on.

4. TIOs are bad.

4. TIOs are Bad.

TIO stands for “think it over”—and TIOs are about as black-and-white as it can get in sales.

If someone tells you they have to think it over and get back to you, that’s bad. This might run counter to what many of us have been taught in the past, mainly that there’s nothing worse than a “no” in sales. But as we just covered in the last tip, hearing “no” is actually a good thing—it’s TIOs that must be avoided at all costs.

TIOs are actually the worst outcome of any selling situation. It’s that middle ground, wishy-washy junk in the middle that’s just a prospect’s nice way of saying, “I really want to get out of this conversation, but I don’t want to be confrontational. So I’m just going to tell you that I want to think about it and you’re going to feel good because you’re going to put me in your pipeline, and then you’re going to try to follow up, but I’m going to disappear.”

This is one of those hidden secrets of sales success that all top performers know without a doubt. TIOs are bad. Avoid them at all costs.

5. Persuasion doesn’t work.

5. Persuasion Doesn't Work.

One of my biggest missions at my firm the Sales Insights Lab is to teach people that persuasion is old-school in sales. No one wants to be persuaded of anything anymore.

Quite frankly, no one ever really wanted to be persuaded to buy anything at any time in history, but it used to be far more effective than it is today. Persuasion just doesn’t work at all anymore.

Instead of trying to persuade prospects to think about something the way you do, you want to simply engage prospects in a real conversation to find out where they’re at and what challenges they’re facing. Then, if you determine that their challenges are ones you can solve, it’s time for you to demonstrate that you can do so.

It’s a hidden secret of sales success that salespeople are not there to persuade. They’re just there to sell the right offering to the right people.

6. Get commitment before presenting.

6. Get Commitment Before Presenting

This sales secret doesn’t mean that you need to get commitment from prospects that they’re going to buy from you before you present your offering. That’s truly putting the cart before the horse.

But what it does mean is that before you present, you want to get commitment from your prospects that they are in fact committed to solving their challenges.

If you present your offering with no commitment from your prospects that they even care about their challenges or solving them right away, then you’re setting yourself up for that inevitable “think it over” outcome.

This is just wasted time. Most salespeople have long sales cycles simply because they’re just not getting commitment up front before presenting.

Stop kicking that can down the road over and over and over again. Get commitment before you present your solution.

And you know what? If someone’s not committed to solving their challenges right now, you can’t make them do it. It’s the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” If they don’t want to drink the water, then move on and find someone who will.

7. Objections are an opportunity.

7. Objections are an opportunity.

This is one of the most powerful selling secrets out there in today’s world of sales. Most salespeople are terrified of objections.They try to run away from them instead of confronting them. But when we see objections as an opportunity, it allows us to really unpack what the prospect’s concern is. And that’s key to sales success.

Your prospect is not going to buy from you if they have a real concern about moving forward. Whether they tell you about that concern or not is up to you. And that depends on your quality of selling. You need to get all of the prospect’s objections out on the table. If you don’t, you’re going end up with a lot of inertia in the sale. Objections are an opportunity. Get your prospects to air all of their concerns, all of their money concerns, all of their concerns about your offering, about you, about anything and everything.

That way, before you ultimately present your solution, you know that you’re either moving toward a pretty good sale, or you’re about to run into a brick wall. Don’t set yourself up for failure by ignoring or running away from objections. View them as an opportunity to sell better.

8. Hold prospects accountable.

8. Hold prospects accountable.

This sales secret runs counter to mainstream selling today. Many salespeople are told that the prospect is always right, or that they work for a “customer-focused” organization, which is taken to mean as a “prospect-focused” organization. In reality, there’s a huge difference between your customers and your prospects.

Your customers actually pay you money—those are the people you should bend over backwards for and do anything to help. They’re inner-circle. But your prospects? They haven’t paid you anything yet, and so they haven’t earned anything from you.

If you start to play by the prospect’s rules, and do whatever the prospect asks, you’re just going to be a dancing monkey. Instead, you should be following your sales process and holding prospects accountable at every step along the way.

And so, when your prospects do something that seems out of line, hold them accountable. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say your prospect says, “We are super committed to solving these challenges, and we need to come up with a solution in the next couple of weeks.” But then later on in the conversation, after you’ve presented, they say to you, “The timing of this just really isn’t great. I think we’re going to kick this conversation into the next quarter.”

Now, most salespeople are going to say, “Oh, okay. Well, when would be a good time for me to follow up?” That’s bending over backwards for your prospect, but you’re actually doing yourself and your prospect of disservice.

Instead, hold that prospect accountable. Remind them that earlier on they said they were going to figure this out in the next couple of weeks, and now they’re saying that they’re going to kick it into the next quarter. Say, “I really appreciate you saying that, but earlier in the conversation, you said that you needed to figure this out in the next couple of weeks. And now you’re telling me that you want to kick this out a couple of months, into the next quarter. Help me understand what I might’ve missed there.” Let them respond to that. That’s how you hold your prospects accountable.

9. If you made it up, it’s not good.

9. If you made it up, it’s not good.

I hear so many salespeople say things like, “Oh, I use this line when I talk to prospects, and I find it works really well.” And I ask, “Okay, well, where’d you come up with that?” And they often tell me, “Oh, I just made it up.”

If you’re just winging your sales process, and making up your own sales lines without any sense of what the data tells you really works, then chances are that it’s a lot worse than it could be.

It’s like being a doctor who never actually went to medical school. If they were in the middle of doing an operation and you asked, “Hey doc, where’d you learn to do this procedure?” and they replied, “Oh, I just kind of made it up,” you’d be pretty concerned.

That’s exactly what most salespeople are doing, just making it up as they go. And so, as a result, they’re deeply unsuccessful in their sales endeavors. If you’re making up your process, it’s not good.

So, there you have it. Now you know 9 hidden secrets of sales success. Which of these top-performing sales strategies will you add to your selling approach right now? Be sure to share below in the comment section 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.

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