Stumble. Fall. Get up. Repeat.
This is the way we learn valuable lessons in life. A career in sales is no different. My sales career has spanned the pre-internet era to present day. Change is constant. Increased transparency has brought sunlight to the buyer-seller relationship. Knowledge, creativity, and collaborative skills are in demand.
To my friends, clients, professional peers, college graduates, and people transitioning in their career I offer this advice about the sales profession;
- The best sales jobs are the ones that have high quality people in sales management positions. Let's discuss what you should look for when considering a position in sales, customer service or a call center.
- If the most attractive part of a new sales job offer is the income potential, you are using the wrong metric. People, purpose, professional development, and culture must be factored in.
- If you have gone more than six months without sales training, you are falling behind. As a key cog in our intellectual economy you must be better tomorrow than you were yesterday. Sales is an honorable profession when standards are maintained…and elevated.
- Read 3 sales books every year. I have a list. Let’s discuss.
- Build a memorable brand value proposition. Start with a version Michael Port uses in Book Yourself Solid: I help X do Y so that they can Z (example: I help lawyers learn business development skills so that they can become partners in their law firm).
- Start a mastermind group. Your first layer of support is the management of your organization. The second is a group of professional peers who will act as your eyes and ears in your market. Contact me about the Business to Business Roundtable.
- Ask questions first. Don’t talk too much. Your ability to discover will lead to more sales than the latest closing techniques. Think like a doctor. Pain identification first. Remedy later.
- Be generous. Share “gifts” that have value with your prospects without giving away the store. Gifts include articles, whitepapers, blog posts and eBooks demonstrating your expertise. Lay the foundation for a generous relationship.
- Sell like you don’t need the business. You can relax while being focused and disciplined. Stressed salespeople are mistake prone and look desperate.
- Understand the prospect’s point of view. Connect your solution with the problem they are experiencing. If you don’t see things from their perspective, you are not in sales.
- Objections can be overcome. This is an opportunity to re-engage and determine why the prospect doesn’t see value.
- Build trust. Make yourself attractive to do business with by being timely, courteous and competent. Therefore, no selling when building rapport.
- Prepare. When entering a meeting have an upfront contract.
- Just say no. Everyone cannot be your customer. Work with customers who respect you, inspire you, and pay you based on your value. Ditch the rest.
- Learn your strengths and lead with them. Every salesperson should have an attributes profile. Get yours here.
- Losing business because of price is a red flag. Here are some ideas on dealing with this.
- We are all in sales now. Regardless of your title you are in sales. Your company needs you to be a brand ambassador, problem solver, influencer, initiator and so much more. Welcome to the sales profession!
Please comment on my advice and be willing to share yours. Your viewpoint is appreciated.