Selling Tips: Selling is a Profession and Needs to be Treated as Such
Selling Tips: By seo guru
One of the biggest failures most companies make is not realizing what they sell and professionally selling it. Treating sales with an attitude that I have a good product and it should sell.
Ever hear the expression 80% of all sales are done by 20% of the sales force. Did you ever wonder why this was true? And believe me it is true. Most companies fall into this trap and never get out of it so they hire 100 sales people and hope 20 of them succeed, yet they eat the cost of the 80 that provide minimum performance. Talk about wasted expense or lack of preparation.
I have trained over 4,000 sales people personally and have had the privilege to speak to thousands more at seminars and conventions; much can be learned in the doing.
First of all one has to recognize that sales is the single highest paying profession in the world. Nothing in business or your personal life happens without someone selling something to someone else. There you go again, doubting me. Here are some examples of daily personal events that require someone selling.
My wife and I like to go to movies, we have very different taste in movies, I like action and adventure or movies that have twists and turns that leave you guessing. She on the other hand prefers love stories and human interest or real events. Each time we decide to go out to the movies we have to decide what we are seeing. One says to the other you, “it was your pick last time or if you pick the movie I get to pick the restaurant”, or an offer of some favor if one will sit through the others choice, a sales pitch.
Another example, what is for dinner, how about blank, no I don’t want that how about this and we had that just last week, or what is on the social calendar, or when you feel like just sitting on the couch yet projects around the house need to be done, what is said to motivate you to get them done or what punishment will be doled out or just to keep the peace to do them. All of these are sales in one shape or another. What furniture to buy, what house to live in, what car to drive, what brand of aftershave you like versus what your spouse prefers, all someone selling some one else what fits the need or makes both a winner, again a sale. Nothing you do in life that involves other people happens without some influence impressed upon the other, it may even be silent, you selling yourself why compromise, or doing something to make someone else happy is a sale you sell yourself. Want to avoid an argument and just do something you really don’t want to do, it is a sale, you do it to avoid the consequence of not proceeding with the deal. A sale takes place.
Now to business, most sales people are not trained well enough, prepared well enough, organized well enough, motivated well enough or just hardworking enough. Most sales people in fact just don’t treat sales as a profession. They don’t practice the fundamentals, the process, the handling of objections, and the close.
Ever wonder why all professional sports teams before the season begins have a training camp and even the veterans must attend and go through the basics all over again to prepare for the season. What do they know that your sales effort doesn’t? The smallest of success requires the most basic of things done correctly.
Baseball players practice running the bases, throwing the ball to the cutoff man, catching ground balls, and fly balls, hitting, double plays, positioning on every play and all the routine events they will encounter playing the game, Then when the season begins everyday, they take batting practice, fielding and run drills. All so they make the fundamental plays that they know are going to occur in every game.
Coaches look at films of the opponent, and decide on a game plan and then they deliver the message to every player on what the game plan is and they follow it. Each player knows exactly how the pitcher is going to pitch the batter of the opposing team, inside, outside high or low, curve balls, fast balls, etc. With this knowledge the fielders can position themselves for the likely direction the ball will be put in play and get even the smallest advantage. The same is true for every sport and every team. Those that do it well excel those that don’t fail more often than not.
So, how does this compare to how you prepare your sales team and how they function as a team in the sales game? How do they get trained, how do they practice the fundamentals, how do they follow the game plan, how do they execute the play?
Good sales people are not born they are trained and they use the training in a professional and ethical manner. The problem with most sales people is that they do not treat it as a profession, as a sport that they need to excel at.
This subject has so many aspects and complexities that I could write ten blogs and not share all my secrets.
If you want your sales people to succeed there are some fundamental steps to get going.
- Hire the right person, if you are looking for outgoing flamboyant sales people don’t hire the mousy, quiet and reserved type. You ever hear about the wife who married her man because she loved him but knew she could change him? Well, 40 years later he is still doing the things she was trying to change, or they are divorced and married to some one else. Either they possess what you are looking for or they don’t. You will not make them someone they can not become.
- Train them properly, whatever time and money this will cost you pales in comparison to what lost sales and turnover in your sales force will cost you. Just because you can’t quantify the losses a weak or untrained sales person is costing you, does not mean the expense is not there.
- Ongoing training, they all still need spring training even the veterans.
- Test them regularly, ongoing test their habits, presentation, organization, follow up, handing of objections, closing skills, customer service. Even veteran baseball players go into slumps, they come out by revisiting the fundamentals of the game.
- Give them the game plan, study the sales process, give them the tools, observe the success or failure, watch how the competition is selling, see what works and pass it on.
- Insure they have all the support and tools they need, marketing, management, customer service and ongoing communication with the client
- Share successes and what works regularly, always communicate peer success and how they did it and be sure it is recognized throughout the sales team.
If you are a sales person
- Practice, Practice, Practice, you have to practiceyoursales presentation, your handling of objections, your closing, your paperwork, your follow up, your customer service. Take nothing for granted, avoid falling into ruts. Practice on people who can’t cost you money.
- Prepare, your day, your sales call, your week, your month, have a list of who you are planning on calling, what objections you may encounter from each account, your specific presentation for each account. Prepare for contingencies, canceled appointments, difficult sales, and plan your time to the most effective use of it. Prepare your drive route and your calling time.
- Plan ahead, set time aside for cold calls, follow ups, presentation, preparation, paperwork and planning, then stick to the task at hand. Don’t take interruptions.
- Present your very best to each client you are presenting, consider the person you are talking to no matter how small or large the potential the most important person you will ever talk to while you are there. You never know who they know or how they can help you with other prospects.
- Keep your promises, no matter how small, if you say you are calling at 2 PM call at 2 PM not 2:10, these are little tests to see if you can be counted on to follow through.
- Referrals, ask every one you talk to for them, even if they do not buy, they may know someone who will.
- Follow up; put them onto regular scheduled calls or on your calendar. Right away so you do not forget, this again shows you do what you say and you really care about what is going on. Avoid follow up failure and it will add dollars to your bank account
- Organize, if you are not organized get so, read books, study video, do whatever you have to, you must have an effective system in place with paper flow, your calendar, follow up and tasks that insures you do not drop the ball. Get your filing system right, your desk, your day, your week, your month and your computer. Be able to put your hands on any file and any document without spending half a day looking for it. In your contact software Outlook, ACT, Goldmine whatever you use, once you are finished with a conversation with someone, go into the software and summarize the conversation, note what you promised and when and put it on your calendar to take care before it is due. Trying to remember what you said to 400 people over the last month is impossible, keep these conversation notes and I promise you the world will open up for you.
- Keep learning; commit a certain amount of time each week to education on your profession, your industry, your motivation. None of us knows everything.
- Product Knowledge, know every aspect of what you sell so you can answer it confidently, how it is made, how it will be shipped, how you use it, what are the best parts of it, how will your company service the client, who handles what areas in your company. If you can answer any question that comes up in a presentation, correctly, honestly and as a reflex response you will be regarded as the expert you are.
- Name drop, mention clients you or your company you are working with, this adds credibility, no one wants to be the first or the last to buy.
- Honesty and Integrity, always, always, always. If you represent a company that practices deception run like the wind, you may have to deal with this client again in your life. You are the person they remember. If you can’t do something say it, if you are priced higher than the competition tell them why honestly. If your company does not offer what they need help them find it. If you waiver on your integrity even on one little thing in your dealing with clients it will cost you dearly. It is your reputation in the forefront. If you have concerns about your companies’ ability to do something get them answered to your satisfaction before you sell the product. Conviction and passion will come from belief.
- Have and show passion, if you believe what you are offering is good for the client, they will as well, you can not fake passion and belief. The opposite is true as well; if you don’t believe you can help the client they won’t either.
- Associate with the sellers, don’t hang around and drink with the non-performers, they want you to fail so they look good. Spend your time with the 20% of the sales people doing 80% of the business.
- Be thick skinned. You will hear no more than yes, if you can’t take rejection change professions
- It is not personal, what you offer may not fit everyone you talk to, that is why you talk to them to determine if it fits. No to your product does not mean they don’t like you. Move on.
In summary, “sales” is a profession that if handled like one and done professionally with commitment and conviction you will earn income beyond your wildest dream.
No other career allows you the opportunity to say, I need more income this month so I better go sell more today, and get paid more for doing it.
Remember every minute you spend on busy work, non sales related activities is money you lost. In fact the time I spent 3 AM this morning is not sales productive, I know it, I do these blogs at non business hours so I can spend my time productively during the sales day.
I am hopeful you managers and owners gained something from this but more importantly for all of you who are in sales, you can benefit more.
Anthony Wunsh, mailto:[email protected], http://www.medicalpaysolutions.com
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