Tuesday, May 13, 2014

4 attitudes you can learn from a professional sales representative.

Learning from a sales guy.
We have been sharing here for so long that I would assume you already know that I have developed my entire professional career in the sales area, under different titles and methodologies, but doing sales at the end of the day.

Like many people, maybe you are among them, at the very beginning I had my strong  reservations about sales representatives and the work they performed.

It’s kind of weird, I don’t know, but I couldn’t help it and each time I thought about a salesman, the image of Dagwood (Blondie’s husband in a very funny comic strip long years ago) dealing with an annoying salesman who used to ring his doorbell exactly when Dagwood was in the shower (Hasn’t it happened to you at least once?).

And if Dagwood didn’t get to the door to meet him right away, this guy could even step on a ladder, climb it and reach the bathroom window so that he could directly speak to Dagwood and then try to sell him any of the trinkets he had in his briefcase.

An outrageously annoying and persistent character. That was the image I had of salespeople.

But after more than 20 years of experience, courses, seminars, years being supervised and guided, and then so many more guiding and supervising others, training sessions, presentations... you name it, I can safely say that professional selling has given me the opportunity to build certain attitudes that, to this day, I consider essential for anyone, on all levels whether it’s your professional or personal life. They are useful for both.

"And which attitudes are those?" you might be asking.

Never be afraid of the handshake.

I remember people used to refer to this as the ability to relate to others without complexes, prejudices, with ease and confidence. For a sales professional to introduce itself to other, usually unknown people and start a conversation is as natural as tying its shoelaces. Definitely not a biggie.

To sell a lot, you have to meet lots of people who may be interested in what you are selling and who can afford the price you’re asking for. Therefore, you have to shake a lot of hands in the process to meet these people and grow your contact list.

Giving a handshake is just another door that opens and offers you the chance to either sell or learn.

And the more doors you open, the better your chances to sell will be. It’s a matter of pure and simple mathematics: If I know 50 people and do business with 5 of them, out of 100 I will sell to 10, therefore out of 500, will get 50 sales.

Again, pure and simple mathematics. No gimmicks and no shortcuts.

When someone tells you "No", learn how to take advantage of it.

Any sales professional will tell you that "No" is an inherent part of our profession. In fact, the negative is no longer an obstacle and becomes a great opportunity to learn more about the needs and concerns of your customer, be it a client, a family member or a friend.

A customer’s refusal to do business with you is your best opportunity to improve your product.

When someone rejects your business proposal, in between the lines they are telling you that there is something in your product or your overall offer that doesn’t work for them and it’s keeping them from making a decision in your favor.

Learning what that “something" is becomes then an opportunity to improve, to change and grow. Rejection stops being an obstacle and becomes a tool in your growing process as a company, and as an individual too.

Always keep yourself on a proactive search for new opportunities.

Many people believe that a salesperson goal is to sell more, when actually the actual sale itself, and by that I mean the transaction, is simply the result of a job well done.

Every sales representative should concentrate its efforts on the continued development of new business opportunities for the company and its products. Taking care of each and every one of these opportunities in a professional, consistent and efficient manner will maximize the closing of new sales.

At the end, the sale happens as a natural consequence of a job well done. It isn’t a goal on itself but rather a consequence.

And the “searching/taking care of” cycle never stops. Search for new clients, close sales, take care of new customers, continue to seek for new opportunities, close more sales and so on. A professional sales guy never stops and is continuously monitoring the market to find new opportunities. It’s just the way it is.

Many businesses in our days need to have this vitality to put aside the surrounding negativity and focus on finding new opportunities.

Learn how to get up after every fall, wipe the dust and move on.

I have no idea about how many offers, estimates and quotes I’ve put together throughout my career as a professional sales rep. Probably many, for sure a lot, too many to be counted and yet only a small percentage of them turned into business at the end. Many of the proposal I’ve put together throughout my life, never became a reality, even though I was totally convinced the outcome was going to be positive.

The business of your life, the big sale, may be just behind the next door you knock on.

I have also visited and contacted thousands of people and businesses, of all sizes you can imagine. Many times I have been treated kindly, many others the doors has been slammed on my face. I have met great people and I've met obnoxious characters.

However, one thing has been there always: I’ve cultivated the ability to stand up after every failed negotiation, after every slam in my face, after every unpleasant contact, always with the hope that the business of my life, that big sale that would generate a great commission, would be just behind the next door I approached to, the next phone call made.

Like I said earlier in this post , when I started my professional career I had strong prejudices about going out there shaking unknown people’s hands and exposing myself to being rejected hundreds of times.

Today, over twenty years later, I can assure you that professional selling has taught me valuable things, some of which I wanted to share with you in this post, hoping they will be useful to you both in your professional life and in life itself.

Or perhaps it happens that you didn’t have to convince that person, the one who is your partner today, that when you first meet you were the best option available in the market and it was worth it to choose you instead of your competition?

Related posts in this blog:
Are you an entrepreneur and you don’t like selling?
How to develop your selling skills and get better results.

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