Sales is an art form. We encounter it everyday. Whether we are trying to convince our parents to provide a larger weekly allowance, or someone to be enamored with our attractive qualities, or even a high level sales executive to agree to a twenty-million dollar order, everyone is consciously or unconsciously selling something almost all the time. The better you are at selling, the better the results.
But what about sales as a career? Can those of us not born with the ‘gift of gab’ learn to sell with the best of them? If sales is an art form, can it also be a science? Are there strategies that will make you better at the craft of selling? Do you think an artist with natural abilities can learn to draw better or be more effective with his or her abilities? The answer to all these questions is, ‘of course.’
Successful Sales Person
Tom Hanks, in the role of the team manager in A Field of Their Own, has one of the most memorable and useful lines of any movie. He says, “If it were easy, anyone could do it.” That applies to baseball, sales, and actually any aspect of life. Sales is not easy. Not everyone can be a salesperson. Even fewer can be a successful sales person. And no one can be a successful sales professional without the willingness to work hard at all times.
For some, the willingness to work hard is an inherent attitude—they were born with it. It is simply how they attack everything they do. For most of us, however, it is an attitude we choose to have. Much like we choose to have a positive attitude, we choose to work hard. At all times.
At all costs. Whether or not we feel like it. Without this behavior, it is not possible to be a successful sales person. If you do not choose to work hard at all times, do us both a favor: close this book, give it to someone who will work hard, and find something else to do with your life. Without the willingness to work hard, you will not be able to practice the Psychology of Selling, you will not be a salesperson, and you will not be successful. The choice is yours.
Regardless of the changes in cultural expectations and realities, today’s requirements to be successful in sales are exactly the same as they’ve always been: listen to the client, hear what they are saying and use what’s been heard to create solutions to their problems for which they are willing to pay you. The difficulty for today’s sales person, then, is not in knowing what to do, the difficultly is in listening to the client. The difficulty is in knowing what to ask. The difficulty is in creating one of the most common of interpersonal events – a conversation.
We are always reluctant to give out information for which there has been no request. We realize that kind of talking on our part gives away our innermost thoughts, so we avoid it.
When the other person asks questions that elicit that same information, however, we are more than willing to tell them the same exact same thing we were reluctant to share unasked. Questions, then, become the prerequisite for conversation and conversation is the prerequisite for gathering information critical to the sales process.
One of the most often ignored step in any process, and sales is no exception, is the review, or recap. While it might seem to be optional and nonessential, done correctly the review can generate more sales, revenue, efficiency, and effectiveness in the future. And review costs nothing but a little bit of your time. It’s my experience that this is time extremely well spent.
After the sales process is complete, after you have celebrated, after you have spent your money or invested it, take a few minutes to interview your sales team to determine what was successful and what worked when selling this client. Once you know all the things you want to do more of, talk about what didn’t work as well as you had hoped. These are things you want to do less of and/or modify before you do them again. The review process can uncover valuable information about selling future clients. Additionally, your organization can recognize what types of sales support works in assisting you with the sales process and what does not. Your company may, for example, determine that new skill development is necessary for the entire sales team. They may even want to change their processes and/or add new support personnel.
The competition has never been more difficult to defeat. Each of us has to be extremely prepared by knowing and fully communicating our strengths plus our competition’s shortfalls. Make sure you listen very carefully to your customer’s requirements.