Have you seen the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’? Do you remember the scene where Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Di Caprio) was being interviewed for a job asked to sell penny stocks to a man over the phone? Wow, that movie is a must-watch for every marketer. I must warn you of the extreme use of strong language and X-rated scenes in the movie though. But it’s a good one with great lessons in it nonetheless.

I have always loved business and I always knew that I would grow up to become a successful business person. However, I had a challenge when I first began to venture into business. I was never good at marketing and convincing people to buy stuffs from me, in fact, I was too shy to approach people to sell items to them but I loved the art of buying and selling so much.

So, I would buy stuffs and then beg my friends or siblings who seemed more confident to approach people, to help me sell them. Well, they did their best but most times, they ended up selling some of my stuffs to people who would buy them on credit and never pay and because I was too shy to approach my debtors, I ended up losing a lot of money.

But I didn’t give up. I figured that I had to make efforts to improve on my interpersonal relationship and marketing skills; so I started reading books, listening to tapes and practicing and gradually, I got better. Now, I doubt there’s anything I cannot sell.

One of the books that helped me during the time is Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people. You may want to read the book too. You should also take these 20 steps to improve your sales and marketing skills-:

20 Guaranteed Ways to Improve Your Sales and Marketing Skills

1. Understand human psychology-: As humans, there are things that motivate us and form the basis of our decisions. Now, as a marketer, you must understand how humans behave, what your customers like and how they to react to changes before you can make any meaningful sales.

2. Social media-: In today’s business world, you really cannot afford to not have a social media presence regardless of what you are selling. Think of the millions of people on social media and how you can build a team of followers who would help to spread the gospel about your business to their own friends.

3. E-mail marketing-: Sending regular newsletters via e-mail to your prospects as well as existing customers is a good way to stay in touch with them and ensure that you keep your business on their minds.

4. Personal networking-: Take out some time everyday to meet with new people. As a marketer, you cannot have a zero social life. You need to have friends, know people and have connections. You can achieve this by going out regularly, being active on social media and joining groups, social clubs and societies.

5. Build confidence-: You have to get comfortable with the art of selling. What I always tell myself is “ Well, it can only be a yes or no, if it’s a yes, good and if it’s a no; at least I tried” You would be surprised at the number of times you would think you would get a no and eventually get a yes, it’s always worth a try.

6. Identify your Target Audience-: Knowing who you are selling to will help you to figure out the marketing strategies to use so it is important to always identify your target audience and then figure out ways to appeal to them.

7. Always ensure customer satisfaction-: When you are able to win a customer, don’t get careless and ignore the customer’s satisfaction because one customer is always worth more than one business. A service and support and always ensure that your customers are happy and satisfied at all times.

8. Build relationship with your customers-: Don’t just go all sales ‘commando’ on your client. Fine, you want to sell your product but it shouldn’t always have to be about what you want to sell. You can show your customers that you genuinely care about them, their well-being and their progress.

9. Sell yourself too-: No, I don’t mean into slavery; I mean that you should look like what you are selling. If you are selling financial improvement products, look like you have some financial improvement in your life too.Don’t go to customers looking poor and sad with a car that should have been abandoned five years ago.

10. Be in contact with your customers-: Send mails, inform them about new happenings in the industry, birthday cards, Christmas gifts; just kind gestures to let them know that you genuinely care.

11. Don’t always assume that you know what your customers’ wants or needs are; ask questions and then tailor the solutions you are offering to suit their needs.

12. Show off your successes by leaving reviews on your website. This would also encourage the meticulous customers to patronize you.

13. Set regular targets and milestones-: It would also help to set some target for yourself weekly or monthly. For instance, you could say “next month, I’m going to sell 500 cartons of this product.” And then, write down the strategies which you would use to achieve this sales and follow it to a letter. If you do not achieve all of the targets, you would at least achieve something close.

14. Tailor your sales presentations to each customer’s need-: Each individual customer is different. What works for me, might not work for you so you should take time to figure out what would work for each customer by learning some things about them before making your sales presentation.

15. Read books and attend seminars-: Books can go a very long way. I already mentioned that I read some books which helped me conquer my inner marketing demons.

16. Take sales prospecting very serious-: Don’t always wait for customers to come to you. Marketing opportunities do not always present themselves to you; most times, you have to go after them.

17. Hone your presentation skills-: There are also so many books which would help you learn the art of presentation.

18. Learn some closing skills-: Learn how to urge your customers to make faster buying decision. For instance, you can go like “We are currently offering a discount of 20% which would last until tomorrow which means that if you buy today you would be able to get it at a cheaper rate.”

19. Learn how to handle rejections-: Always take a customer’s‘no’ to mean “try again later”.

20. Lastly, always maintain a positive attitude in all situations.