Being a sales person is a tough job. Your life suddenly is all about deadlines and targets and quotas. And if you get trapped into the circle of mediocre salesmanship, it could be a lifetime of tricks and turns with no real satisfaction and joy. Fortunately, as a motivational speaker for the corporate organizations, I also got to meet some really fantastic salespeople and their motivating lessons are something I use to pick my own self up at times.
A highly successful, yet quite happy salesman told me once –
“When you begin, your rejections will always be higher. How fast you turn them into a higher success rate, depends on you. And boy, the journey is not easy. It takes all you have to become a stellar salesperson.”
Here are some of the motivating lessons from fantastic salespeople that have amazed me and taught me so much, in retrospect:
Sell the Why:
A fantastic salesman knows how to sell benefits. It’s salesmanship 101. Selling benefits is the first thing taught in any sales management course. It is the first in the list of “Sales Management Tips” & “Sales Training Programs”. Yet it is surprising how few salespeople use this to their own benefit.
It is very important to tell your customer WHY they should pick your product / service i.e. what problem will it solve for them and why should they trust you. People don’t buy just products. They buy solutions to problems. They buy from the point of deep emotion and they buy from your passion.
So, don’t tell features. Even if you have to convince someone to marry you (i.e. you are selling yourself as a person), don’t sell them material benefits of being with you (features) but what you bring to the table that no one does. Don’t yap away about trivial things. Show them value. Because, as Bob Burg, the author of Go-Giver says,
“Nobody is going to buy from you because they have a quota to meet. They are going to buy from you because they see value in it.”
Do you know how many times they get doors banged on their face and how many times they get hung up while cold calling? Probably you have an idea. Now exaggerate that idea by 10 times. You are getting closer now.
It is a job that will test your resilience day in and day out. Your perseverance will be the parameter of your success. But if you take it in your stride, you will also end up learning a lot. Each failed lead is like a mind map, teaching them more and more about the art of persuasion, about people and their rationalities and emotions. Just, don’t give up – is their mantra.
An intelligent salesman once told me, “You know what success looks like? A bunch of failures.” … this has remained with me as a very important lesson. Profound!
Their targets are certainly way behind the finish line of their comfort zones. So should yours be too!
I think we can all learn a thing or two about communication from the best of salespeople. And it need not be a suited-booted trim and proper salesman. You will be amazed if you are just observing!
And it is not about English or rules of grammar either. I have met some salespeople from Saree shops in Kolkata who know not a word of English but can put many an expert salesmen to shame. Even Mr. Beans would agree to this.
They charm you with their gestures, as much as with their words. Their mastery lies in the non-verbal as much as the verbal. And they can adapt according to the customer who walks in / opens the door. Like a chameleon, they blend their communication skills to trap you into considering a buy.
Over-preparing and then going with the flow:
You must have heard of the term BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiable Agreement). A salesperson who knows what he/she is doing, always has their BATNA ready. They know when to offer what. They go in well prepared and know the alternative options they have for every argument the prospect client may present.
They do extensive research on their clients (known as prospecting) and learn about the products / services they would need. They also find out their tastes and preferences. It is kind of like collecting intel by secret service agents. But they also tell me that there is no telling what would happen once you are with your client. There is no formula. You improvise as you go – making decisions and calculated calls.
The takeaway – there is no way to know what life will throw at you. All you can do is – be prepared to handle anything that comes your way. Emotional and physical competence to deal with the many crests and troughs that the life graph comes up with. That’s your preparation – the strength to deal with the trials and tribulations of life, no matter how well prepared you are!
This has to be by far the most important lesson. In the face of rejection, 24×7 pressure, not enough hours in a day and much more that this job profile entails, they learn how to handle themselves.
And it’s not that they don’t fall. They just know how to pick themselves up faster and start the sprint stronger.
This is something all of us need to learn. The ability to fight our own demons and fears of failure. And the ability to find our way back to the fight. The ability to choose which battles to pick and which ones to let go. The ability to let go of what people are like and focus on what you really want them to do for you.
And I think we are just getting started here. These fantastic salespeople have got a lot to teach us. And I could also safely conclude that during these Sales Training and Motivational Workshops, I always come back with more insights than what I had when I began each session.
(This post was originally published at ‘Pick The Brain’)