Generally speaking no one usually ‘plans’ to go into the sales profession. When working through school, can you recall a teacher suggesting being a lawyer, doctor, teacher, an engineer or a salesman? This may truly show how little some teachers knew both then and now about this fascinating profession. However let us be very clear –
- No one should ever enter or remain in the selling profession unless:
- A desire exists for a never-ending challenge,
- Complete control over your future is appealing,
- Overcoming difficult situations are self-satisfying,
- Unlimited income is recognized to be within your grasp,
- Unlimited possibilities are a positive,
- Learning from tough times seems natural,
- You are able to accept total responsibility for results,
- You are able to disregard and ignore negative people,
- You are willing to admit you always have much to learn, and
- You have courage.
The business and challenge of professional selling provides more opportunities for self-satisfaction, unlimited income, personal opportunities and control over the present and future than any profession in the world.
The ‘problem’ is that selling successfully is very difficult; it is not an easy pathway. You don’t hear of too many people who climbed ‘down’ a mountain to be successful. As in life itself attaining difficult goals and climbing up mountains has been and always will be part of the successful person’s attitude.
How you enter the profession is immaterial. How you perform while you are there is everything. Accept the responsibility, perform up to your own lofty expectations and reap the benefits.
True CHAMPIONS are revealed by their ‘HEART’ and exhibited through their ACTIONS.
Regrettably, as already stated, the selling profession is a still much maligned industry. Inaccurate perceptions established over 100 years still abound. We do however need to rid the dangerous misconceptions that surround the sales professionals themselves. The quality sales person has in his power the ability to make changes, to progress thinking and to ensure development, but buyers must contribute to that trust. My first important task therefore is to set to rest some of the misconceptions held by many
Salesmen & Selling & Basic Misunderstandings
We have all met the “down on his luck “salesperson, always complaining business is down and full of excuses as to why -.The wrong season, wrong product, wrong price. An attitude of total self pity. and it can spread like a virus. The true answer lies as always with the individual and his mind. Sales are a fun, exciting and rewarding business for both sales people and clients if the mind is positive and the sales myths are exploded.
Myth 1 only those with the misplaced gift of “talk a good game” can sell. Wrong
In reality, fast talkers really don’t do very well in the world of sales. Buyers can sense pressure and desperation, the insincerity, the lack of concern and disregard for the needs of the client. A good listener will always outsell a fast talker. When you don’t listen, you don’t learn and that means knowing nothing of the buyer, his company or their needs. The chance in that scenario of you making a sale that lasts is very slim indeed.
Myth 2 Sales is a numbers game Wrong
Many sales managers are obsessed with numbers. How many cold calls have been made, how many telephone calls made, how many appointments, how many sales? The number of forms that salesmen must enter to justify their day. Is that the real way to monitor sales? Of course I agree the harder you work, the more chance of good sales, but it’s not about numbers, it’s about people. How many friends did you make today would be a great question.
Myth 3 Sales people must have thick skins Wrong
Many sales people have adopted a persona that too many is insufferable and support the perceptions of the non selling world. Irritating pushiness is the trademark of only the untrained, unprofessional salesman.
The route to success is building relationships that result in a win win situation for seller and buyer alike, and where the buyer will respond more when the conversation is two way. Intelligent, sincere, knowledgeable, considerate, well prepared, and empathetic is the description of the modern successful salesperson.
Myth 4 Sales has unavoidable ups and downs throughout the year Wrong
Almost every industry has seasonal variations but when did all sales stop in any month. In some months sales may be more difficult and harder to find but that’s when successful sales people work harder, dig deeper and are committed enough to find those continuing sales.
Myth 5 You have to be good at staving off rejections Wrong
In my own experience adverse comments usually offers a massive opportunity to create a challenging discussion often resulting in sales. Every sales person has heard the phrase “no thanks “but if every individual who heard that took it as a personal rejection, the psychiatric hospitals would be full. Rejection is a bad thing only if there is a conscious choice not to learn anything from the situation. Rejection is always an opportunity to progress.
Myth 6 All successful salesmen are hard closers Wrong
Top salespeople seldom spend much time on closing. Professionals focus on finding customer needs, building relationships, demonstrating benefits and working towards solutions that benefit both parties.
Myth 7 Sales is a dead end career for dead end people Wrong
Approximately 80% of America’s leaders and entrepreneurs were once sales people. Many business leaders in the UK have made sales calls, done product demonstrations and presented their company to prospective buyers. Whether the company is a PLC or a newly launched company, the leader must understand the value of sales communication. The successful salesman will climb the business ladder quickly and the only end he achieves will be at the top of any organisation.
What then is the definition of the new age successful sales person? It is certainly NOT the hawker, the street peddler, the lowly bagman, the ridiculed hard drinking commercial traveller. Today it is the influential, thinking, intellectual selling gurus that by their very occupation continue to both perpetuate and change the economy of the world. Current sales people are surrounded and supported by an army of psychologists, economists, colour consultants, social scientists, statisticians, advertising experts, philosophers and an ever increasing basis of technology. And yet even with all this, the basis of all sales still lies in the simple but totally difficult and irrational behaviour and relationship of individual human beings.
This point is demonstrated very well in the following true story. A modern vacuum salesman, fired up by his motivational meetings, his intensive sales course instruction, the high technology of his product, knocked on the door of an average house. An old lady answered. “Good Morning” said the young man. “If I could take a few moments of your time, I will demonstrate the very latest in high powered vacuum cleaners. “Go away” said the old lady “I haven’t got any money” and she tried to close the door, but the young man wedged his foot in the door and pushed it open. “Don’t be hasty, not until you have seen my demonstration” said the young man and with that emptied a pail of horse manure all over her carpet. “If this modern excellent Vacuum Cleaner does not remove all traces of horse manure from your carpet; I will personally eat all that is left “said the salesman beaming triumphantly at the old lady. “Well” she said “I hope you have a good appetite because the electricity was cut off this morning “.
It is a rare occurrence when a salesperson admits that they could improve their sales techniques. The majority of salespeople are happy to continue the way they are, despite their apparent support of new ideas at sales training sessions. In that instance I believe my views will be of little use to them. These words are not about teaching nor is it a method of instruction, it simply retraces some basics and requires an open mindedness and a willingness to not to judge without thought. No doubt some will read the words and think ” We know this, It’s what we do for a living.” This may be true, but in over 35 years of working amongst salespeople, I have found that whilst many believe they know it, many never do it.
These blogs are a collection of personal observations of the many selling situations I have been involved with, and the many hundreds of salespeople I have worked alongside and employed. It is also a result of courses attended and the reading of many books and articles from self appointed experts, some very good, some not so good and some extremely poor, but all of which has at least provided some valuable golden nuggets of advice.
My own objectives of persuasion
There are many times in life, and in business, that ideas and people progress so far that they forget the very foundation on which they have built their success. Many people forget the reasons, the people and the pathways that guided them to where they are today. I simply am returning you to the very core of human relationships and for me, what selling is all about – The skilful art of understanding others, understanding ourselves and the difficult task of understanding what we want to achieve, and how we are to achieve it.
The amateur who has a disagreement with his partner, the person who complains in a restaurant, the young man attempting to “date”- all fail in their structure of attack that leaves them open to failure. The professional ( The lawyer, the business entrepreneur, the engineer the salesman ) all understand that to be a winner requires a clear objective, planning, knowledge and facts, organisation, an understanding of others and their viewpoint, and finally an ability to communicate decisively and constructively towards the final act of victory. In these blogs I plan to go thoroughly through those elements and allow the individual personality of every salesman to become his own icing to the basic “cake.