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There’s no shortage of sales tips and blogs out there (this one being the best, of course). Everyone is either a sales trainer, a sales solutions provider or a sales author (yours truly included). And everybody has their own advice for how you can close more deals.

But the overwhelming majority of this advice is very similar. Common sales knowledge is repackaged over and over again, and dressed up as something new depending on who’s selling it (no pun intended). In an effort to bring something different to the conversation, we’ve come up with five non-obvious ways you can improve your sales.

Here they are:

1. Slow down to speed up

It might sound completely counterintuitive, but if you want to close more deals, you should try to slow everything down. This doesn’t mean slowing down your prospecting efforts, or your focus. Instead, it means slowing down the discussions with your prospects, and taking them through the sales process slowly and methodically.

Instead of rushing through your pitch and quickly ranting about how your product will help, take the time to talk, listen, and not make them feel like you’re trying to get them to buy as quickly as possible. In today’s fast paced world, the person who carefully listens and takes the time to care will very likely earn the business.

2. Clean out your pipeline

One of the biggest wastes of time and effort that salespeople deal with is calling on leads and prospects that have no chance of ever closing. Of course, you do have to make quite a few contacts and deal with plenty of rejection before you’ll get to a deal. But doing your best to purge your pipeline of contacts that have no hope of closing will free you up to focus on ones that might.

It makes a lot of sense to pare down your pipeline and get rid of bad opportunities. Every minute you spend working should be focused on potential deals, and not spent calling numbers that don’t work or talking to people who have zero interest in engaging with you.

3. Form a strategic alliance

It helps to think outside the box. In every industry, there’s an opportunity to find someone – whether they work in a different department within your company or in an adjacent industry – and to form a mutually-beneficial alliance with this person, or people.

The goal is to get referral business coming in constantly. Very few salespeople are willing to sit down and take the time to brainstorm where they could get new business from, let alone pick up the phone and call someone to form an alliance with. But the ones who can successfully do that are able to add an oftentimes steady and valuable stream of income. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to build and nurture a relationship before you start seeing results, so don’t expect to just pick up the phone and have dozens of referrals the next day.

4. Tell prospects more about yourself

Conventional sales wisdom tells us that prospects really don’t care about salespeople and that they’re simply interested in what you are able to do for them. This is true, but up to a point. If you give the average person a choice between buying from a cold faceless entity, or from someone about who they know some personal information about, most people would choose the latter.

So when you’re speaking to a prospect, let them know a little bit more about you. It’s best to weave it into your professional discussion, maybe telling them where else you’ve worked and why you chose the company you’re currently with. Of course, don’t ramble on and on about yourself and forget to focus on them. But don’t be afraid to let them know who you are.

5. Use smart technology

Sure, you can still be a top producing salesperson using only a pad, a piece of paper, and a telephone. But why would you do that when there are so many amazing tools you can use these days to close more deals and make more money?

For instance, Spiro is a CRM powered by artificial-intelligence that can literally predict which contacts to make next that are most likely to result in a closed deal. It proactively reminds you who to call, so you don’t have to worry about it.  And more contacts with the right people means more closed deals. (Want to see how Spiro does this? Check it out now!) Besides Spiro, there are lots of other tools to help you stay organized, productive, and on the cutting edge of sales technology. Don’t think of new tech as something that will weight you down or force you to learn something new. Instead, see it as a tool to help you become the best salesperson you can possibly be.

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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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