Saturday, August 31, 2013

Axiom 39: Success in the Sales World

"A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts." -Unkown

"Don’t sell life insurance. Sell what life insurance can do." -Ben Feldman

I've been in sales for years now and have learned a few valuable lessons on what works and what doesn't. The funny thing is that when I started out in sales I felt really uncomfortable with selling and my ability to sell. As time when by my success increased and it became much easier. Much like everything else in life after about 10,000 hours of real world sales experience things started to click.

At one point or another in life you will find yourself selling something. It may be a product, or it may be selling yourself to get a job or an opportunity. No matter what it is that you're selling, here are a few insights about sales that I have picked up over the years:

  • Have a positive, confident, "can do" attitude - Customer's want to know what you can do for them, not what you can't do. Take charge and let them know that everything will be alright when they are dealing with you.
  • Solve the customer's problem - Every customer has a problem that needs to be solved. It is your job to figure out what that problem is so you can make the sell. In some cases this can mean giving the customer what they need, not necessarily what they want.
  • Know what you are talking about - Make sure you know what you are selling. The deeper the product knowledge the more you can leverage the sell.
  • Be ethical and honest - Do what you say you are going to do. Don't risk ruining your reputation just to make a sale.
  • Streamline your process - Use the resources you have to make sure you respond to your customers quickly. Service with the least amount of effort as possible needed to maintain a strong customer relationship.
  • Identify the person with the purchasing power - This goes back to Axiom 16: Talk to the Lion. Don't waste a lot of your time with people that don't have the power to buy from you. Find out how to get to the decision makers.
  • Follow through - Always follow up on a potential sell. This separates good salespeople from great salespeople. You'd be surprised how many more sales you can make simply by following up.
  • Network - Work to build a network of connections. As your reputation builds your network will begin to sell for you by referring customers to you.
  • Every sales call has an ROI (Return on Investment) - Your time is your most valuable asset. Don't waste time with customers or sales where there is little or no return. It is okay to dump bad accounts if you can fill that time with good, profitable customer accounts. Raise the prices on the bad accounts to make them either go away, or make them worth the time and effort involved.
  • Measure your results - If you quantify and measure all aspects of your sales process then you can see patterns emerge to help you become a better salesperson.

It is interesting to note that I wrote this above blog post before I became involved in a sales training class from Sandler Sales Training. They teach many of these same concepts above. I would recommend this class for anyone that heavily relies on sales for their career.