Jordan Belfort and his blockbuster movie, The Wolf of Wallstreet, popularized the idea of being able to sell anything to anyone, a la “sell me this pen.”
Of course, that’s an oversimplification of the sales process.
It provides no context as to who the potential buyer is, why they need a pen, or what special features the pen might have — all critical components of a successful sales dialogue.
Still, sales is a skill that can be learned and mastered.
In this guide, we’re going to give you 7 practical steps to becoming a better salesperson — not for selling pens to people on the street, but for selling real products or services to a specific target market.
And if you’d prefer to skip the 1-to-1 sales and sell high-ticket stuff without talking to people on the phone, click the link below…
1. Know Who You’re Talking To
The American marketing author, consultant, and professor, Philip Kotler, once said, “There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.”
Of those two parts, it’s the first — defining your target market — that we’ll focus on here.
Because if you don’t know who the target market is for the thing that you’re trying to sell, then you have a very low chance of success.
The first chapter of Russell Brunson’s bestselling book, Traffic Secrets, is titled “Who is Your Dream Customer?”
In it, he says:
“Each business needs to understand their dream customer avatars better than the customers know themselves… If you want customers to come into your funnels, then you have to be able to find them online. And if want to find them online, then you have to start understanding them at a much deeper level.”
So let’s ask the question.
Who is the target market that you’re selling to?
Just as asking someone to sell you a pen is ridiculous because it’s void of context, so too trying to sell any product or service without knowing the target market is a shot in the dark.
Try to fill out the following graphic…
For further assistance, check out this video about creating a customer avatar…
You’ll likely identify multiple variations of your target market — people who come to you for different reasons and with different motivations, especially if you sell multiple products and services.
Document all of those different customer avatars and get to know them super well — these are the people you’ll be selling to.
And the better you know them, the more successful you’ll be.
2. Understand What You’re Selling
Imagine trying to sell a pen without knowing anything about the pen you’re selling — what makes it special, why it appeals to the target market, and so forth.
The same is true for anything you sell.
Before you try to sell something to someone, you’ve got to understand what you’re selling inside and out.
You’ve got to understand…
- It’s features
- What makes it unique
- Why it’s awesome
- Why it’s perfect for the target market
- Why the price is what it is
- How to use it
… and all other pertinent information.
This is easy if you created the product. But it’s not so easy if you’ve become a salesperson for a product or service late in the game after it’s been jam-packed with nifty features.
So take the time to get to know the product or service intimately before trying to sell it.
Each prospect will have slightly different needs and knowing exactly how the product or service can help each of them is mandatory for building rapport and making sales.
3. Start With a Sales Funnel
As we’ve already alluded to, being able to sell anything to anyone is a Hollywood myth — you can’t sell dog food to someone who doesn’t have a dog, because they’re not the target market.
And so naturally, you don’t want to talk to everyone — that’d be a massive waste of your time.
You only want to talk to people who are within your target market.
But… How do you find those people? How do you attract those people? How do you qualify them before talking to them to ensure that they’re within your target market?
Here are the steps…
- Identify where your dream customers congregate online.
- Attract your target market to your sales funnel.
- Snag their contact information for follow-up.
For the first step, make a list — we call it the Dream 100 — of places where your dream customers congregate online.
- YouTube Channels
- Facebook Groups
- Instagram Influencers
… and so forth.
This is how Russell Brunson built ClickFunnels and made a name for himself in the online marketing world. Check out the video below…
To attract your target market — only your target market — you’ll want to create a relevant, free, and compelling lead magnet, something you’re going to give to your dream customers in return for their contact information (name, email address, phone number, etc).
Here’s an example…
And here’s one more…
You can learn more about creating and promoting lead magnets in our guide over here.
Now when you promote your lead magnet to the Dream 100 locations, how do you get those people to convert and give you their contact information at a reasonable rate?
The answer is a lead-gen sales funnel.
This is just a series of pages that are built to systematically convert visitors into leads — one page at a time.
The Reverse Squeeze Page funnel is one of the simplest (and most effective) for lead-gen conversion. It’ll offer your lead magnet to the visitor, capture their contact information if they accept, and then deliver the lead magnet to their email inbox.
And you can build this funnel with a free 14-day ClickFunnels trial — we’ll give you an easy-to-follow template.
With all of that, you’ll find, attract, and convert the right people into leads.
4. Build Immediate Rapport
Here’s some harrowing information from the Association for Psychological Science:
“A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions.”
People know almost instantly whether they like someone or not — including salespeople — based on their facial expression, their body language, and their overall demeanor.
And it’s no secret that people buy from people they like.
As a salesperson, that’s a tall order.
You’ve got to get people to like you and trust you within just the first few moments. To a large degree, though, that probably just means not trying too hard (being desperate isn’t the answer, after all).
- Be confident in yourself
- Don’t Be in a Hurry
The people who are easy to trust are the ones who seem laid-back and confident in themselves — they aren’t desperate and they aren’t in a hurry.
They know what they bring to the table and, while they’re happy to help, they’re also not afraid of being told, “No”.
Beyond the tips above, another way to build rapport is to start the conversation off with a question that’s low-key and indirectly related to the sale. For example…
- Where are you located?
- How long have you been in the market for [product/service]?
- How’d you hear about us?
These sorts of questions can help you identify small commonalities between you and the prospect that form a small bond and build rapport.
They can also help you learn a little bit about the prospect before you dive into heavier sales talk.
5. Ask Questions & Listen
You can probably tell that we think the “Sell me this pen” thing is silly.
But it’s not just us… even Jordan Belfort admits to its ridiculousness. Check out how he does it in this video…
Notice how Jordan Belfort, who’s controversially considered one of the best salespeople of all time, starts the conversation off by asking questions about…
- How long the person has been in the market for a pen
- What type of pen the person is looking for
- Why the person wants to buy a pen
In the real world, these questions would provide him with crucial information to try and close the sales — information about the prospect’s desires, fears, and motivations.
In fact, here are two great questions to start every sales call…
- How long have you been in the market for [product/service]?
- What are the main reasons that you need [product/service]?
Those two questions will tell you just about everything you need to know about the prospect — which will in turn allow you to steer the conversation where it needs to go.
Tellingly, top-performing salespeople ask more questions and try to fit their offer to the prospect’s needs than their less successful counterparts.
And that’s exactly what you should aim to do when you get on a sales call.
6. Blank Slate
When you get on a sales call, what assumptions, expectations, thoughts, and experiences are you carrying with you?
Each day is different. And while the more experience you have, the better you’ll become at entering sales calls unhindered by unfounded thoughts and emotions, there’s always the chance that your own internal stuff will impede the success of the sales call.
- Being too optimistic
- Being too pessimistic
- Being too friendly
- Being too unfriendly
… and a thousand others can ruin a sales call.
Your job is to, before every call, do what Jim Camp calls “Blank Slating” — take a few deep breaths and do your best to go into the call without assumptions, expectations, or leftover emotions from things that have happened previously (whether positive or negative).
Jim Camp writes…
“Your ability to blank slate is directly related to your ability to rid yourself of expectations and assumptions, two very bad words in my system of negotiation.”
And he also adds…
“But even if you’re good at blank slating, have no expectations and no assumptions, listen well, take great notes, refrain from excessive talking, and don’t spill beans—even if you’re the perfect blank slater, the world outside the negotiation can still intrude on your ability to blank slate. If you’re overly tired, it’s difficult to focus.”
That’s why taking a moment before each sales call to blank slate is critical — it’s the calm before the storm that every salesperson needs.
7. Follow Up
It’d be easy to count someone’s “No” or “Maybe later” as a final rejection, moving on to other more promising prospects.
But if you do that — if you neglect to follow up with people who rejected your initial offer — then you’d leave a lot of money on the table.
The fact is, most sales happen during the follow-up process… not during the first sales call.
Following up is effective because every prospect is on their own timeline — who knows the things that need to fall into place in their personal and/or professional lives in order to get them to buy.
You certainly don’t.
And just because they don’t buy right now… doesn’t mean they won’t buy down the road.
As you can see by the popular stats above, you should follow up five to 12 times with each prospect.
Well, those follow-ups might happen over a 12-month period… and they might occur over many different mediums — text, phone call, email, and so on.
The important thing is that you’ve got a process for following up — ideally, at least five times with each prospect — unless the person explicitly asks you to not follow up.
It might not feel all that magical, but the follow-up process is where the magic of sales happens. Don’t neglect it.
Selling pens is overrated.
But selling real products or services to a real target market?
That can make you rich.
And above, we’ve walked you through 7 steps to selling anything — know who you’re talking to, understand what you’re selling, start with a sales funnel, build rapport, ask questions, blank slate, focus on solving problems, don’t be a hero, and follow-up.
Put that knowledge to work and you’ll be one of the better salespeople on the market today.
Oh — and if you want to sell high-ticket products or services without talking to people on the phone, then click the link below 😉