There are certain ideas in sales—you could even call them sales secrets—that sales pros don’t want you to know about.
Why? Because once more salespeople start to understand how these sales secrets work, there will be way more competition in every selling market.
You don’t have to sit around and wonder about these mysterious selling strategies anymore.
I’m going to walk you through some of the most elite sales secrets out there—so you can stand out from the competition.
In this video, you’ll learn 7 sales secrets the pros don’t want you to know. Check it out:
Sales Secrets Video Summary:
Sales Secret #1: Drop the excitement.
This sales secret runs counter to what most salespeople have been taught, but showing excitement during a sales conversation actually drives prospects away.
Think about it: Prospects are used to salespeople with tons of enthusiasm and tons of excitement. So when we show excitement, it automatically puts us in the bucket with the majority of other sales reps out there.
Instead, we want to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do that is to start acting less like an excited salesperson and more like a good doctor.
How would a good doctor engage in a valuable conversation with a patient? Well, first, they’d try their best to understand what’s really going on with the patient, right? That’s exactly what you should do.
The value of the sales conversation is not about you and what you have to say. It’s about asking good questions of the prospect to gain a deep understanding about what they care most about.
So, drop the excitement. This is one of the best-kept sales secrets out there and it’ll help you close more deals while setting you up to look like the expert.
Sales Secret #2: Probing is for amateurs.
I see a ton of videos and trainings out there about asking “probing questions” of prospects. But here’s the truth: Probing is the exact opposite of what salespeople should actually be doing.
Probing is the process of asking a bunch of different questions of a prospect without a consistent flow. So, if you think of probing like aliens might probe a human in a movie, it’s like poking around all over with no specific idea of what they’re looking to discover.
On the other hand, a sales pro is going to ask a series of questions that are building value in the sales process, all working through a consistent flow. This is one of the biggest sales secrets in any industry.
What’s more, sales pros know what questions they’re going to ask ahead of time, so they’re not just winging it—and they’re doing it every single time they’re in front of a prospect, ultimately leading to a much higher close rate.
Sales Secret #3: Challenge your prospects.
Think back to that old-school adage that “the customer is always right.” Many salespeople extrapolate this idea to the sales process, but the reality is that your prospects are not always right. In fact, they’re quite often wrong.
When you ask a prospect about their key challenges, they’re frequently going to cite a challenge that’s not really the key challenge, but a tertiary challenge.
It’s your job as a high-level professional salesperson to challenge your prospects, to call them out (not in an aggressive way, of course) and push them to a deeper understanding of what’s really going on.
That’s why one of the most valuable sales secrets is that you want to challenge your prospects—to help them discover what their key challenges and objectives are.
One of the phrases I always use when challenging prospects is this: “You know what? Why don’t we take a step back so you can help me understand what’s really the most important component of what we’re talking about right now?”
Sales Secret #4: Live in the data.
Better sales data has transformed selling in just the past few years. Consider the sheer amount of data we can get about our prospects before we ever even talk to them; before we ever interact with them.
Now, of course, one of the best sources of prospect data today is LinkedIn Navigator. At my organization, we love living in LinkedIn Navigator, because there’s so much valuable insight that you can get on your prospects.
If you’re at an organization with some really fancy systems, such as DiscoverOrg, that help you get a lot of data on your prospects—then, great. But if you’re like most salespeople who don’t have access to those high-end options, the very least you can do is get insight on your prospects from LinkedIn.
Use LinkedIn to find out what is really driving your prospect. What do they care about? What does their organization actually look like? Who are some of the key people in similar positions to them?
Understanding the data before you meet with an important prospect helps you paint a full picture. Start living in the data and you’ll master this powerful sales secret of the pros.
Sales Secret #5: Getting a “no” is not bad.
This is one of those sales secrets that far too few salespeople understand. And only the pros really own this idea—that getting a “no” is not bad.
So many salespeople spend their entire careers trying to avoid the word “no”—and as a result, what they ultimately get are a lot more “Let me think is over”s and “Let me get back to you”s.
If you’re the kind of salesperson right now who gets a lot of wishy-washy unclear outcomes in your sales pipeline, you really have to start to embrace the idea that “no” is not a bad thing. Top performers are so much better at either getting a “no” or a “yes,” and avoiding all of that in-between stuff.
Try saying something like this to your prospects: “Just so I can get a real understanding of whether this is going to be a fit both ways, let me ask you a couple of questions…” You’re conveying to the prospect that you don’t know whether it’s going to be a fit. You’re not putting pressure on them to say “yes”—instead, you’re just trying to determine whether there’s a fit.
And if it’s not a fit, then you can move on to a new prospect without wasting time on an unqualified lead.
Sales Secret #6: Be a peer, not a servant.
This is one of the most important sales secrets to know: Your prospects don’t want to be served. They want to interact with a peer. Even if they’re a CEO and your title is sales rep, you need to behave as if you’re a peer.
That doesn’t mean being disrespectful or flippant, of course. And that doesn’t mean that you’re cursing, or you’re just cracking random jokes. I’m not talking about acting like a friend. I’m talking about acting like a peer—someone they can look in the eye and feel a real connection with.
Don’t be subservient to your high-level prospects. Instead, simply treat them as you would treat any other person.
By being a peer, asking tough questions, and being willing to challenge prospects, you are going to be so much stronger throughout every sales process, and ultimately you’re going to close so many more sales.
Don’t lower your value in the eyes of your prospects by acting like a servant. Be willing to do whatever it takes to look them in the eye and get on their level.
Sales Secret #7: If they won’t schedule a next step, you have nothing.
I’ll repeat that: Without a scheduled next step, you have nothing. If a prospect is unwilling to actually schedule a clear next step, you have nothing. It’s so wild to me how this is still such a pervasive issue in sales. Top performers are absolute maniacs about always scheduling clear next steps.
Always have a clear next step coming out of any conversation with a prospect. Whether it’s face to face or on the phone, always schedule that clear next step.
If they’re unwilling to schedule a next step, then you have nothing, and it’s not worth putting in your pipeline. It’s not anything to think twice about. You need to be able to schedule that next step. And the more you commit to scheduling those next steps, the more you’re going to hold those sales together.
One of the questions I challenge you to start asking every single prospect is: “Do you have your calendar in front of you?” It’s amazing how everyone has their calendar in front of them, and they say yes. Then you say, “Okay, great, what would make sense in terms of our next conversation?” And guide them toward that meeting. Always schedule that meeting, and if they’re unwilling to schedule it, you’ve got nothing.
So, there you have it. Now you know 7 sales secrets the pros don’t want you to know. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below to join 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.