I never wanted to sell. I fought selling tooth and nail because I found salespeople annoying and time consuming. I just wanted to be a trainer and a coach. But, if no one sells, the company ceases to exist.
And if you think there is no sales in your job because you are not the owner or the official salesperson, think again. You sell your ideas, your concerns, your approach, your strategies and your objectives every day to team members, strategic partners and your boss.
Since that time of resistance, I’ve learned a few things, and below are the non-technical (not the nuts and bolts of how to sell) things you must do to be successful.
- You must make connections with new prospects. Sound simple? Many people rely too heavily on current customers for recurring or new business, and keep calling on those same prospects they think will buy, but haven’t yet. You must find new prospects whether you cold call, network, obtain referrals, initiate a marketing plan or hire a telemarketer. Within your organization, make new connections with those involved elsewhere in the chain of events of which you are a part.
- You must track your sales activities. I’m fanatical about tracking operational metrics in a business because it is the only way to measure what you are currently doing, assess how much more you want/need to do, and tweak your systems. If you are not selling enough, but don’t have a concrete picture of what you are doing now, and therefore don’t know what to change, you will start shooting in the dark with sales strategies. Track activity – calls, appointments, proposals, etc. Whatever your goals, track your key activities that will get you there.
- You must ask curious questions. As a leader, if you want to build powerful relationships and be able to motivate and inspire your team, you must connect with them. Connecting occurs when you can understand where they are coming from, meet them there, and lead them in the right direction. This also applies to the prospect. Learn about them before you push your product on them – lest it be the wrong fit. Get them talking to the point where they are selling themselves! This is the best way to build strong relationships in every area of work, and personal life too!
- You must know yourself, as Socrates would tell us. A major obstacle to a leader’s success is a lack of understanding of why you and others do what you and they do. Are you driven by results, by the journey, the pat on the back, security or by the happiness of those involved? This greatly affects how you sell, and why your prospect will or won’t buy. Spend time in 2013 understanding you and others – read up on Emotional Intelligence.
- You must get some training. If you need to sell, you need to learn how. I often think that the skill most often assumed, but not present, is the ability to lead others, which is why so many exceptional employees who are promoted to leadership, then struggle with the new role. However, I think the ability to sell is also very often assumed, especially if you happen to land a big sale or two at the outset. It requires a very specific set of skills, which must be developed and expanded over time. Within any organization, the ability to connect with others is critical, often undervalued and not natural to most people – so get some training to develop those skills.
I’ve learned to greatly enjoy selling because I enjoy the process of connecting with people who I can help and who want and need my professional expertise. Take a look at your sales function. Does it need an overhaul this year? Greater revenue certainly helps to buy time to fix a whole lot of operational issues.
Need help with sales? Contact my all-time favorite Sales Trainer and Coach, Andrew Gieselmann http://www.csp.sandler.com/ He handles the technical, the nuts and bolts and all the details I’ve left out of this article…