“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Yup, that song, as usual, has been popping up everywhere and anywhere, creating the soundtrack for our last-minute sprints to the mall, year-end cards and letters, and some true marathon sessions on Amazon. (I’m also on a first-name basis with the UPS man, and am considering inviting him for our holiday dinner.)

But another traditional carol, in particular, has gotten stuck in my head this year, so much so that it’s become hopelessly intertwined with my consulting work. These are sales tips that can apply to all aspects of your life. So let me share it with you now….Dr. Cindy’s “12 Days of Sales Tips.”

In the first batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was Create a Plan, immediately!
Yup, that’s always your first task, but so many folks forget to do it—maybe if you start singing it with me, you’ll remember! Planning is ALWAYS Step One. You can’t get to where you are going if you don’t know how you’re going to get there!

In the second batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was Two Ears Listening.
Remember the old formula: two ears beats one mouth. In sales, listening can be twice as important as talking. This is true in all areas of life. Don’t let your conversations be all YOU….listening to others will get you to the heart of their needs and wants. AND this is what will help you get what you want. Remember all transactions should be win-win. And you need to understand what your counterpart needs in order to get what you need out of them!

In the third batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was Three Reasons Why.
Part of preparation for a sales conversation is knowing why the prospect or client should meet with you or even do business with you. Same goes for other parts of your life. Whoever you are working with or negotiating with needs understand the value you bring to the table in order for them to want to work with you. Make sure you’re clear and confident in what you offer.

In the fourth batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was Four Piles of Prospects.
In sales, you need to know your four basic types of customer: Prospects, New Customers, Legacy Customers, and Advocate Customers. You can apply the same by identifying who you need to work with to achieve your goals. People or companies you think may be able to help even if you don’t have a connection yet (Prospects), people you know socially, have worked with a bit, or consider an acquaintance (New Customers), people you know well (Legacy Customers), and people who will vouch for you (Advocates). The ultimate goal is to turn prospects into advocates, and dealing with each type strategically and systematically is the way to do it.

In the fifth batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was Five Golden Asks!
Did you know that the average prospect says no four times before they buy? That fifth ask is golden—don’t stop until you get there! Outside of the sales arena, this doesn’t mean you have to ask the same person for the same thing over and over, but don’t give up after your first no. Ask someone else! Or ask for something different but similar that will help move you toward your goal.

In the sixth batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was Six Referrals-a-Rocking.”
Referrals are an incredibly valuable tool, and they can be surprisingly easy to get—but you have to ASK for them. In sales, our numbers show if you ask 6 times, you are likely to get at least one! Imagine how much more likely your friends are to refer you! They want you to be happy and succeed. So don’t be shy, ask your friends and colleagues!

In the seventh batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was “Seven Thank-you’s Thanking.”
Never forget the most important part of any transaction—the thank-you that comes after you’ve put it to bed. Make sure this is a consistent part of your process, and it will lead to more of those great referrals we were just talking about.

In the eighth batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was “Eight Weeks of Habit.”
Yup, that’s right, it’s been proven that to truly turn a behavior into a habit, you need 60 days or a little over eight weeks. Embrace these tips and work them into your routine, and after a couple of months….they may become a way of life!

In the ninth batch of sales tips that Cindy gave to me….was “Nine Phones-a-Ringing.”
Sure, email’s fast and easy, but when it comes to communicating with your prospects, nothing still beats the good old phone. It may take a few tries (maybe even more than nine), but keep calling—once you connect, you can start building the relationships that help you move closer to what you want to achieve in life!

In the tenth batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was “Ten Millennials Moving.”
Trying to catch a Millennial? Go mobile—they’re used to doing every bit of business they need on the move, on their phones, in their cars, and basically anywhere EXCEPT a desk. Keep moving right with them, or get left behind!

In the eleventh batch of sales tips that Dr. Cindy gave to me….was “Eleven X’ers Texting.”
Your Generation-X connections are tech-savvy, and grew up in an era of immediate communication. Responding quickly and accurately to them, in their media of choice, is key to gaining their help or business.

In the twelfth batch of sales tips that Cindy gave to me….was “Twelve Ways to Measure.”
Okay, so maybe you don’t have 12 things to actually measure, but you should have a few! Make sure you go back to your original plan or goal and see how you are doing. Measure your results and tweak your plan as needed. A sales plan is not set in stone-it is dynamic and reactive…it is your barometer!

All right….you’ve got the lyrics, and I know you know the tune….now hit the ground running using sales tips to achieve what you want out of life!

And have a fantastic holiday season!