Much like a carpenter, plumber, painter or craftsman of any kind, you need to have the right tools to be effective in your profession, and that includes sales. Without the proper training and tools, your likelihood of success is limited.
The Tools Every Sales Professional Should Have to Be Successful
Let’s start out with the basics.
The Sales Binder
A “shrink-wrapped” sales binder is a sort of bible for anyone involved in selling. It should contain all of the materials needed to help you complete a sales transaction, from starting to prospect to getting that signed contract. The contents of a well-designed, shrink-wrapped sales binder should contain the following materials.
- Cold Calling/Prospecting Script
- Sample Sales Letter(s)
- List of Qualifying Questions
- Top 5 Sales Objections + Responses
- Brochure + Marketing Collateral
- Product Fact Sheets
- Sample Proposal Template
- Customer Testimonials
- Price List
- Order Form
- Credit Application (if required)
- Customer Contract
Looking at this list of requirements from top to bottom reveals the essential resources to go from prospecting to closed sale. And make sure to include your business card so they know how to reach you!
That’s a great start, but it is really just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the sales binder, high performing sales professionals need access to training and other vital resources to augment their toolkit and advance their knowledge and skills. In the remainder of this article, I have categorized those extra resources I believe are important.
In sales, the best preparation for tomorrow is being your best today!
In these next two categories, I have listed recommended books on selling to add to your library, and sales training programs for you to consider attending – both will enable you to be your best and prepare for future success.
Check Out these Top Sales Books
- The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
- How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
- How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins
- Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
- The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
- The Referral Engine by John Jantsch
- SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
- Selling to the Very Important Top Officer by Anthony Parinello
- Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey Mackay
Don’t just read these classics, take copious notes to help you develop and/or refine a sales “game plan” for your business or sales territory. You should also subscribe to relevant sales blogs and newsletters to help you stay abreast of the latest sales tips and techniques.
Recommended Sales Training Firms
- Strategic Selling by Miller Heiman Group
- Solution Selling by Sales Performance International
- Sandler Selling Methodology by Sandler Sales Institute
- The Adaptive Platform by Holden International
- SPIN Selling by Huthwaite International
Put what you learn in these outstanding sales training programs into practice, and build on the experience in your daily prospecting and selling activities.
Tech Tools for the Sales Pro
At a minimum, you need the following tech tools in your repertoire to make it easier for prospects and existing clients to do business with you.
- Business Telephone and/or Smartphone
- Desktop Computer, Laptop or Tablet
- All-in-One Printer, Scanner, and Copier
- Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
- Company Website
- Business Email Account
- Square or Mobile Payment System
These must-haves will also help you stay ahead of the competition, improve communication and workflow, and enhance productivity.
Sales Requires Social Media Activity
You should be connected to and be communicating with your marketplace via your website, blog, or newsletter in addition to:
- SlideShare, and other social sites they visit and share content at regularly
The global marketplace has become increasingly social, so you need to be engaged with clients, prospects, and other stakeholders in a variety of ways to remain top-of-mind.
Top 25 Sales & Marketing Experts to Follow
I highly recommend that you follow these 25 experts to help you gain more insight about your craft:
- Trish Bertuzzi @bridgegroupinc
- Jeb Blount @SalesGravy
- Paul Castain @PaulCastain
- Don Cooper @TheSalesHeretic
- Patty Farmer @PattyFarmer
- Barb Giamanco @barbaragiamanco
- Jeffrey Gitomer @gitomer
- Matt Heinz @HeinzMarketing
- Mark Hunter @TheSalesHunter
- Michael Hyatt @MichaelHyatt
- John Jantsch @ducttape
- Anthony Iannarino @Iannarino
- Ron Karr @RonKarr
- Jim Keenan @Keenan
- Jill Konrath @JillKonrath
- Mike Kunkel @Mike_Kunkle
- Paul McCord @paul_mccord
- Nancy Nardin @sellingtools
- Lori Richardson @scoremoresales
- Steven Rosen @StevenARosen
- Tibor Shanto @TiborShanto
- Leanne Hoagland Smith @CoachLee
- Mari Smith @MariSmith
- Robert Terson @RobertTerson
- Wendy Weiss @Wendy Weiss
Being engaged with this elite group of industry experts will afford you access to great content and resources – i.e. blogs, books, whitepapers, newsletters and so on, so if you are not currently following them, get connected today.
Whether you’re involved in direct sales, are a business owner primarily responsible for sales, or a territory sales representative with a larger company, you need the right tools to be successful. Please take the time to carefully go through this rather exhaustive list and see what should be added to your sales toolkit to help you achieve greater success in the future.
What is in your sales toolkit? What tools are missing that you are going to add now?