When I say the word “selling”, what comes to mind?

Do you think about pushy sales tactics?

Do you start to feel a little anxious?

Do you think about rejection?

The truth is, many people hate selling. They’d rather be doing almost anything with their time, even though selling is a crucial part of any business, whether you’re selling a product or a service. Yes, even when your business is totally online.

Here are my five most important steps for mastering the art of sales – even if you’re a total beginner!

#1 Build Confidence

If you don’t feel confident in yourself and your product, your efforts are being sabotaged before you even begin.

  • Know your strengths: Are you really good at sales presentations? Do you excel at one-on-one conversations and building rapport? Try to create sales situations where you are able to utilize your special skills. Recognize what you’re good at … and what you need to work on.
  • Know the strengths of your product:It’s about more than being confident in yourself. You need to be confident about the product you’re selling – and confident in your knowledge about the product. You need to understand how your product helps people, and you need to be able to answer the common questions your prospects will ask.
  • Master the sales funnel:If you’re a sales beginner, you may not know a lot about the different stages of the buying process. Learn to recognize where your prospects are in the purchasing process – are they interested or evaluating? Are they actually ready to make a decision? Your sales tactics should be modified accordingly. Becoming knowledgeable about the purchasing process will help you feel more comfortable with selling.
  • Make peace with rejection: No matter how good a salesperson you are, you are never going to achieve a 100% “Yes” rate. You need to get comfortable with getting that “No”. This will happen naturally over time, but it also helps to remind yourself that they are saying no to the offer – not to you.

#2 Learn From Mistakes

Everyone has a story about how they lost a sale by making a stupid mistake. Yes, it can be demotivating – even embarrassing. But it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean that you’re terrible at sales.

Look at it as a lesson, learn from it, and move on! Don’t let it affect your confidence – if anything, you’re now better at sales for having learned the lesson.

#3 Don’t View It As “Selling”

After all, if you’re doing your due diligence, you should be selling to people who are actually the target market for your product. People who are in the position to benefit from it. You just need to help them understand how. Which leads me to the next point.

#4 Understand Your Prospect’s Needs

Are you pushing statistics and testimonials and credentials, or are you asking about your prospect’s needs?

Let them tell you about their problem before you push your solution.

Once you know their particular situation, you can tailor your pitch to best appeal to them. Your solution may not even be right for them at this time so the full-on sales pitch may be a waste of time for you both.

But the act of patiently listening to them and asking questions can help nurture a connection, and may make them more likely to contact you when they’re ready.

#5 Nurture, Nurture, Nurture.

Once you’ve built a connection with a prospect, nurture that connection. Connect with them on LinkedIn and engage occasionally with them there.

Personalize emails if you’re using automated email campaigns (and you should be), segment and customize them using demographic information. Follow up after purchase, maybe with a special offer for returning customers.

Maintaining strong connections with prospects is crucial for conversions and creating positive word-of-mouth!