18-sales-tips-from-influence-182018 not only marks twenty years of me being a sales trainer and keynote speaker, it also marks twenty years of my membership in the National Speakers Association. So it was fitting that last week I attended my 20th NSA convention, known as Influence 2018.

More than 1200 of the world’s top professional speakers and trainers gathered for four days to connect with and learn from each other. The result—as always—was an amazing outpouring of business insights and ideas.

Here, in no particular order, are eighteen of the best:

1. “Free content lives forever.”—David Meerman Scott (@dmscott
Advertising disappears as soon as it is consumed. (And often skipped altogether.) But content—usable, valuable, insightful, practical information—sticks around, is shared, and gets recycled over and over again. Invest more in content creation.

2. “The narrower you focus your message, the broader your message will go.”—Tamsen Webster (@tamadear
Nobody can be all things to all people. And trying will only waste your time, energy, and budget. Instead, identify your ideal customers and craft messages aimed specifically at them. When your message resonates, it has impact.

3. “When you evoke emotion you evoke engagement.”—Scott Stratten (@unmarketing
Every aspect of the buying process is emotional, from our initial desires and fears, to our satisfaction after the purchase. People don’t react to numbers and logic, they react to appeals to their emotions. So how can you evoke emotion in your marketing and sales efforts?

4. “Ubuntu: I am because you are.”—Lenora Billings-Harris (@LBHdiversity
This African philosophy carries special importance for business owners and professionals: We only exist because our customers do. If they go away, so do we. Which means we need to truly appreciate our clients and do everything in our power to take care of them. (This also goes for employees and employers: each only exists because of the other. We all need each other.)

5. “There is no one way to create art.”—Michael Port (@michaelport
Many sales “experts” will argue that there is only one way to succeed. Don’t believe it. There are lots of ways to prospect, to build rapport, to deliver powerful presentations, and to close deals. Find the strategies and tactics that work for you.

6. “Spend the most time possible on the highest income-generating activities.”—Andy Masters (@andy_masters
Whether you’re a salesperson or a business owner, there is no end to the items on your To-Do list. But you only have a limited amount of time to work with. So to achieve maximum success, you need to devote as much time as possible on those activities that lead to revenue. Outsource, delegate, or ignore everything else.

7. “Different is better than better.”—Sally Hogshead (@SallyHogshead
Everyone strives to be better. But in a crowded marketplace, “better” is not only relative, it can easily get lost. And the reality is, everybody claims to be better! Put more emphasis on being different to stand out and gain more attention.

8. “Whatever makes you part from money…learn it.”—Geoff Ramm (@GeoffRamm
There are examples of fantastic sales and marketing strategies and tactics all around you. Notice the things that capture your attention and cause you to spend money. Why did they work? How can you use or adapt those approaches?

9. “Over-index on social proof, because it makes everything else easier.”—Dorie Clark (@dorieclark
Social proof is a powerful influencer and the more of it you have, the more sales you’ll make. Make use of testimonials, case studies, articles, awards, rankings, your blog, and videos to increase your social proof capital.

10. “Let’s not focus on doing more. Let’s focus on doing less, but better, and focus on what matters.”—Dan Thurmon (@DanThurmon
Often we think the answer to boosting our sales is to offer more products, more services, more options. But sometimes offering less is better, when it allows us to be exceptional at the things we do offer.

11. “Paint a tiny picture of the pain your audience is having.”—Kelly Swanson (@motivationspkr
People make buying decisions to solve problems. So describe the problem your prospect is dealing with in your marketing, your prospecting, and your sales presentations. Identify and empathize with their pain, and then paint a picture of how their new pain-free life will look after they’ve bought your solution.

12. “I can’t learn from my mistakes if I don’t admit them.”—Lance Miller (@LanceSpeaks
Too often we blame our failures on everything but ourselves. It’s easy to do, and it protects our egos. But it prevents growth. Because only by acknowledging our mistakes can we learn from them and actually get better.

13. “Don’t sell direct, sell ‘select.’ Look for select clients that have the WALLET, the WILL, and are looking for the WAY.”—Anna Liotta (@annaliotta
Not all prospects are created equal. A person who has a need may be tempting, but if they can’t afford you or lack the motivation to act, you’re just wasting your time. Your best prospects are those who have the budget to buy and the desire to make a change.

14. “If you’re getting the business you want, you’re obsolete.”—Mike Rayburn (@mikerayburn
It’s so easy to get complacent. Especially when you’re hitting your goals and everything is working just as you hoped it would. Yet the marketplace is constantly evolving, and if you aren’t constantly looking for ways to evolve as well, you’re going to get left behind.

15. “The way we celebrate our leaders is not by giving them a blank slate, it’s by holding them accountable.”—Dr. Omekongo Dibinga (@omekongo
In most organizations, leaders hold subordinates accountable. But for an organization to be successful, leaders also need to be held accountable. Does your organization encourage and empower employees to hold their superiors accountable?

16. “You sell an experience. You sell an outcome.”—Meredith Oliver (@MeredithCSP
When people buy a product or service, it’s not because they actually want that item. The product or service is a means to an end. What is the goal they’re trying to achieve or the problem they’re trying to solve? That’s what you’re really selling.

17. “You are competing with EVERYTHING for people’s attention.”—Jay Baer (@jaybaer
The media landscape is more crowded than ever before, which means people’s time and attention are at more of a premium than ever before. If you want to be heard, you need a truly compelling message. And that message needs to be both targeted and convenient.

18. “Stop substituting learning for action. Start doing.”—Lisa Braithwaite (@LisaBraithwaite
Learning is great. In fact, it’s necessary for growth and success. But it’s only the first step. Unless you implement what you’ve learned, you’re no better off than if you hadn’t learned it in the first place. Put your new knowledge to work!

For more ideas and insights from these great speakers, click on their names to visit their web sites or click on their handles to follow them on Twitter.

Need a great speaker for your next event? Check out the NSA website or your favorite speakers bureau. (Or just click here.)