In sales, when the going gets tough, the tough get a pack of energy drinks and make calls until their fingers go numb. Hard work is an essential ingredient in sales success. But unless you do the right things, working your butt off alone won’t be enough to make you rich.

I once worked for a builder who used to say “Work harder, not smarter.” He was a successful guy, and his wisdom usually made a lot of sense. Also, we once dropped a concrete slab that we were moving on my foot and he said, “What’s the big deal, you have another foot, don’t you?” He was a man of wisdom.

Just like contractors, salespeople need to work smarter in order to maximize their time and produce results.(Which is why you should use Spiro’s AI-Powered CRM, which helps salespeople work smarter.)

Here are some hacks that can help you work more effectively, and become that wildly successful salesperson that everyone in the office secretly hates:

1. Mirror your prospect

Studies have shown that mirroring your prospect’s tone and cadence can help you influence them. If your prospect talks loudly, then you should talk loudly too. If he or she takes long pauses in between sentences, do the same. If he or she starts jumping up and down and making noises like a chimpanzee, you know what you have to do.

2. Ask everyone for a referral

Estimates show that only 11 percent of salespeople ask for a referral. Can you believe that? Probably about 9 out of 10 of you can believe it…. Ask everyone for a referral, and offer some sort of a reward whenever possible. You have nothing to lose by asking. What’s the worst that could possibly happen? The customer says no? The customer gets angry? The customer physically attacks you? No one said sales was easy.

3. One more call

When you’re getting ready to leave for the day, make one more call to a prospect. Best-selling sales author Jeb Blount advocates this sales hack and says it can make the difference between top performers and everyone else. Sales karma will reward you for going that extra mile, and making that last final push at the end of every day. Always make sure that the call you’re making is to a lead or a prospect, and not just calling in your steak and cheese order for pickup on the way home.

4. Kill the unlikely deals quickly

You need to focus on the deals that are likely to close and cut everyone else loose. It might feel like you’re cutting corners if you do this, but your time is infinitely better spent with highly-qualified prospects who have expressed interest than with ambivalent prospects who might not even qualify. It’s like dating – are you going to spend your time chasing someone who only dates basketball players if you’re barely 5’6″?

5. Use this trick when making a face to face appointment

Instead of asking for a face to face appointment like a boring sales drone, use the, “I happen to be in town next week, mind if I pop in?” trick. I know a guy who was trying to sell his company to Google, and used this trick to get a face to face meeting after they expressed interest in an email. He didn’t end up selling his company to them, but he got a chance to pitch face to face, which is always more powerful than over the phone or email.

6. Go negative when you have to

Salespeople are taught to always be dripping with positivity, and to succeed against the insurmountable odds that you’re faced with in sales you have to have what I’ve coined as “irrational optimism.” But there’s a limit to positivity’s effectiveness, and sometimes you just have to turn to the “negative close” with a customer. This is when you tell a prospect that the deal might not be a good fit for them, or challenge them on their seriousness or ability to qualify. Use it sparingly, but don’t be afraid to use it.

7. Slow down to speed up

To say that the modern world is fast-paced is an understatement. If a salesperson from the early 1900’s woke up and found himself selling in today’s environment, he’d probably have a nervous breakdown by lunchtime. We have a million and one things to get done every single day, and dozens of distractions constantly getting in our way. Our hurriedness tends to transfer to our discussions with prospects. Slow down when you’re speaking to a prospect or client. Take your time and listen, ask questions, make small talk, and pretend your to-do list isn’t growing by the minute. Slowing things down can speed up your closing ratio.

8. Schedule your calls at odd hours

Your company might want you to prospect at certain hours, but your goal is to get people on the phone, not to follow someone else’s rules. Call after 5 pm when people are commuting home, or even later when they’re on their couch watching tv. Call early in the morning, when people are in line waiting for their coffee. Do things when other people aren’t doing them. Sure, some prospects might get annoyed, but at least they’ll have the opportunity to tell you they’re annoyed instead of ignoring you.

9. If your prospect sells a product you can buy, do it

There’s almost no quicker way to build rapport with your prospect than by buying something that their company sells. The CEO of Spiro once brought a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese to a sales meeting with Kraft, and wore a Harley shirt to an appointment with Harley-Davidson. This shows the prospect that you cared enough to go above and beyond, and will probably set you apart from your competitors, who are too busy buying Rolex and TAG Heuer watches for themselves instead of thinking about their prospect’s goals.

10. Remember these four words

Above all, the best sales hack is to remember the four following words, “How can I help?” These should be going through your mind at every stage of the sales process, and are at core of being a successful salesperson. You’re selling a product or service that is meant to help your prospects, and the more people you can convince of that fact, the more deals you’ll close and the more money you’ll make, which you can then spend on things that help you. I hope this article helps you too.

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About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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