Sales can be tough.  Scratch that.  Sales IS tough.  Not only is technology always changing, but so are the consumers.  Tactics that worked a few years ago won't necessarily work today.  People are more educated and have access to an incredible amount of information at their fingertips.  Today, we have much more intelligent buyers on average than we have in the past and therefore the approach needs to be updated.  We've compiled a list of sales tips below to help you get started and provide some direction in your journey to becoming the next great salesperson.

1.  Believe in your product.  If you have a product you're trying to sell you need to believe in the product.  If you don't believe in the product yourself how can you expect to convince others of it's importance?  Passion shines through in all forms of communication and the opposite is just as obvious.

2. Be an Expert; Consult, don't Sell.  The age of used-car-salesman tactics is over (did it ever begin?).  This is especially true in Business to Business sales.  Be helpful and offer information without the pressure.  If you try to solve the individuals problem rather than push your product you'll end up with better sales and better customers.  Don't Sell, let people Sell themselves.

3. Offer something Free.  Everyone loves things that are free but this helps serve you in a couple different ways.  For one thing it helps solidigy your image as a consultant rather than a pushy sales person.  You are providing something of value for nothing and people will appreciate it.  Secondly it gives you a way to engage with potential customers who would have otherwise passed by.   If you require an email address to download it can also be a great tool for lead-generation.

4.  Reach Out With Many Mediums.   We really love email, but it's always a good idea to use a few different mediums to reach potential customers.  Sometimes a letter or a postcard will succeed where an email didn't.  If that still doesn't work try sending them a Banana-suit to get their attention.

5.  Set a time, keep it sacred.  Activities that require time and concentration should be planned and strictly adhered to.  Many times these are also the activities that we typically like the least (Cold-Calling?).  If you don't create a strict time and block out distractions these necessary activities never seem to get done.

6.  Be Happy.  Just like people can tell if you believe in your product, then can also tell if you're happy.  Nobody likes to buy from a grump, so do yourself a favor and avoid reaching out to people if you're having a bad day.  On the bright side it's a great day to finish that pile of paperwork you've been avoiding!

7.  Don't think 9-5.  Decision-makers and Business-owners can often be reached at different times than normal staff.  Try reaching out after-hours or on a Saturday.  Just like we learned from tracking email, sometimes the best time to reach someone is outside of normal business hours.  This is especially true for decision-makers.

8.  Have a Plan.  Don't just wing it.  Before you go on a call have a plan for what you are wanting to accomplish and what you need to achieve at the end of the call.  If you don't plan you're likely to miss something and make poor use of a valuable opportunity.

9.  Reconnect Often.  Make sure you have a strategy for regularly reaching out to your prospects.  It's easy to forget about you if you're not reminding them of your existence.  Consider setting up a Drip Marketing Campaign. If you have trouble finding the time to write the emails in your week try setting aside a day to create a few and schedule them to go out weeks apart;  This makes it a once-a-month activity rather than weekly recurring one.

10. Don't pretend to know the answers.  If you don't know, say it.  It's better to tell someone you don't know but can find out the answer rather than pretend to know.  Not only can misinformation cause trouble down the road, it can also break trust with your prospect if they know the right answer.  You're not expected to know everything and as a "consultant" people will appreciate you telling them you don't know, but can find out and get back to them.