We’re all crossing our fingers these days and hoping for a better economic environment. It’s been more than a little scary for many of us. However, even during these tough times, effective salespeople are acquiring new customers and making sales. How? Here are the top ten tips for effective sales that will bring you success regardless of the state of the economy.

1. Know Your Product or Service
It seems straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, it is, but unfortunately, there are far too many salespeople who, for one reason or another, have been trying to sell without having a good grasp of what they’re selling. These individuals can have a certain degree of success in a good economy, but they’re the first to fail when the going gets tough. You need to know what you’re selling from top to bottom. You should have every feature and benefit on the tip of your tongue. If you don’t, you need to make this your top priority.

2. Know Your Target Market
Knowing who to sell your product or service to is just as important as knowing what you’re selling. You need to pinpoint who it is that buys what you’re selling and target them specifically. This is especially true during an economic slowdown when you might not have as much to spend on advertising and prospecting.

3. Know Your Competition and Your Competitive Advantage
Your competition is always there, but they’re bound to be more ruthless when there are fewer customers. Start by listing your obvious competitors and then dig a little deeper to discover any others who might be sneaking under your radar. Then, figure out what makes your business different from theirs, and how you can stand apart. Evaluate obvious advantages like cost, features, quality, or distribution, and don’t underestimate other advantages such as location, reputation, or social responsibility.

4. Be a “Proactive” Business Developer
Now is not the time to be waiting for your phone to ring. Make your own opportunities by networking, advertising, making calls, and pounding the pavement. The more you reach out, the more you’ll get in return.

5. Mine the Gold in Your Existing Client Database
Don’t underestimate the value of your existing clients. When business is slow, use the opportunity to call your “regulars” to inform them of new offerings, specials, and volume discounts. You’ll probably be surprised just how much business you’ve been leaving on the table by not contacting them sooner!

6. Don’t Leave Business on the Table- Cross-sell Your Products and Services
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Always offer your clients other products or services related to whatever they’re buying. As long as what you’re offering is relevant, they’ll appreciate your suggestions, and they might take you up on what you’re offering, as well.

7. Track Progress and Results
Without tracking your sales processes and results, you will never know what works and what doesn’t. There are plenty of easy-to-use customer relationship management (CRM) software programs that can help you monitor your sales efforts from start to finish. Trust me. They’re well worth the investment.

8. Learn From Your Mistakes
Have you had difficulties with a certain market segment? Or, have you been burned by one particular customer repeatedly? Well, there’s much to learn from these situations. Don’t keep hammering away at someone who isn’t buying from you. Learn from these mistakes, and move on – quickly.

9. Be Persistent
The old adage, “sales is a numbers game” is true, especially when business is slow. Persistency is one of those traits that is common among all successful salespeople. A “don’t give up” mentality is truly one of the most valuable attributes that you can have.

10. Enjoy the Process
Let’s face it. Not everyone is cut out to be a salesperson. Selling should be fun. You should enjoy the challenge and feel the thrill each time you acquire a new customer. If you feel this way about sales, be grateful. There are many others who dread their jobs and would prefer to be doing something else. So, show your enthusiasm, enjoy the process of selling, and succeed.

Author's Bio: 

Adrian Miller is a nationally recognized speaker, sales trainer and author.