There are a lot of factors affecting how well you do in sales. Some of these factors you have no control over – such as the state of the economy. Others you have some control over, but not complete control – such as the sales job you accept. The only factor that you can truly control 100% is yourself. So here are some suggestions for making the most of your success, regardless of all those other factors!
Say thank you – When someone helps you out, always thank them immediately. If it's a big favor, consider also sending a thank-you note and possibly a small gift. Being gracious to people makes them more likely to do you more favors in the future.
Become an expert – By mastering one subject, even if it's a small one, you become a resource for the people around you. It gives you an edge in sales and in business in general. You can cement your expertise by writing or speaking about your subject.
Have a plan – Know where you are and where you want to go. If you have both a short-term and a long-term goal you're far more likely to succeed. After all, if you don't have a target, how will you hit it?
Always be open to meeting someone new – Whether you're in an airport, at a Little League game or standing in the checkout aisle at the supermarket, you're surrounded by people who could become valued friends and acquaintances.
Respond right away – Call people back within 24 hours no matter what, and be prompt with email correspondence as well. No one likes to be left hanging. You can at least reply with “I don't know the answer but I'll look into it,” so the other person will know you're not ignoring him.
Become a good listener – Most people are much better talkers than they are listeners. If you develop strong listening skills, you will not only impress people, you'll learn quite a bit of valuable information.
Study the successful – There's no point in reinventing the wheel. Whatever your goal is, someone else has probably achieved it in the past... so study that person's example and see if her method applies to you.
Don't procrastinate – It's tempting to do the fun stuff first and put off the things you don't enjoy, but you'll have a much better day if you get the unpleasant things over with early. You're also more likely to do a better job if you tackle tough tasks when you're fresh.
Be punctual – It sounds like a little thing, but always arriving on time or a little early impresses others as professional. Arriving late makes you look disorganized or like you don't really care.
Be a giver – Don't wait for someone to ask before doing them a favor. Spontaneously helping people will make you and them feel good. It's also a great way to start (or build) a relationship.
Work on your look – People will judge you by how you look even more than by what you say. That doesn't mean you need to be gorgeous to succeed; it means you should cultivate a professional look and good body language.
Be prepared – Trying to “wing it” through your life will result in unnecessary stress for you and a performance that won't show your real potential. Spending time preparing in advance can be tedious, but it also helps to ensure that everything will go well when you get to the actual event.
Nurture relationships – Whether they're friends, family, or business relationships, don't neglect the people in your life. If you ignore someone for too long he may not be there anymore when you do get around to him.