For some people, sales just seem to come naturally. If you’re in the field, you probably know that one magical person who has unmatched charisma and always seems to be getting a bonus for making the most sales. This is true whether you’re in a call canter, going door-to-door, on a retail floor, and even in the business world. After all, you have to be able to pitch your ideas to the board, and show your leaders and peers why your methods are better. Everyone seems to want to be the guy who can sell ice to Eskimos, but that’s really not the way to go about it if you want to be successful in sales.
- Successful Salesmen Are Honest:A true salesman has never sold a heater in desert, nor has he sold ice to Eskimos. Although a white lie or a quick fib might help seal the deal and lead to short-term gains, it will hurt you in the long-run. Honesty and integrity have a huge impact on your reputation, and it will make the difference in whether a customer returns to you later, and whether he refers his friends to you or not. With that said, there’s another important reason to be truthful. Scientific studies have shown the fibs, regardless of their size, trigger stress hormones and can also hurt your immune system. Honesty is not only better for your customers, but it’s better for your overall health and well-being, too.
- They Make an Effort to Get to Know The Customer and His Needs:If the product or service is a good fit, an effective salesman can highlight the relevant benefits, and will be able to make the sale without “selling.” It’s also worth noting that the time a salesman spends getting to know a customer lays the building blocks for a relationship and trust. Your customer will be picking up on your unconscious cues, and will create an opinion of you. Psychology has shown us that a decision to make a purchase is largely based on emotion, so it’s essential that each person you speak with sees you are genuine, and believes you are looking out for his best interests. Again, it’s not enough to appear to care- you must genuinely want to help your clients.
- They Truly Believe in The Value of The Product or Service They Sell:If you think that you’re selling snake oil- stop. Odds are that the product or service you’re selling genuinely benefits some people, and you owe it to yourself and your customers to find out why it’s so great. If you go into work every day thinking that you’re not performing a valuable service, it will have an impact on your emotional state. Work feels like work, and you’ll burn out fast. Moreover, this attitude will carry over into other aspects of your life. Maintain motivation by learning everything you can about the item you’re promoting, so you can feel good about what you do.
- They Set Reasonable Goals:Throughout the modern-era of sales, most companies have been using the carrot and stick method to “encourage” their employees. In short, if you do well, you’re rewarded with a bonus. If you do poorly, you will be written up and may see a pay reduction. Interestingly, studies have shown this atmosphere can have the opposite effect. Salesmen actually perform better, and more consistently, if pay is steady. Furthermore, when goals are reasonable, and actionable, people are more motivated to reach them. This enthusiasm is seen by the customers, and results in more sales.
- They Are Involved With a Supportive Team:A fascinating by-product of the steady-pay method is that employees are more likely to spend time coaching and mentoring each other. Because competition is virtually eliminated among team members, they naturally start to share tips and helpful methods with their peers. The team-oriented environment is certainly more positive, which carries over into relationships with the customers.
- They are Highly-Organized:Business coaching programs spend a lot of time teaching people how to be organized and schedule-oriented. This is because your schedule has a dramatic impact on how well you perform. There is also an expectation of organization in the business world- those who don’t appear to be prepared come across as less devoted, and sometimes even slow. On a sales-level, having a system for follow-up is essential. Forbes Magazine recently noted that 71% of Internet leads are basically thrown away, and a mere 27% of them are even contacted once. HubSpot reports that 79% of leads don’t turn into sales, largely because they are never nurtured. In other words, companies are missing out because salespeople aren’t following up with consumers or spending time getting to know them. If you’re organized and have a system for following up with people, you’ll be at the forefront of sales, because you’ll be there when the customer is ready to buy.
- They are Not Afraid of “No.”:Lao Tzu is credited with saying, “Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.” In sales, this means that you don’t need to be aggressive, and you shouldn’t fear someone declining your offer. Be like water, and eventually your softness will penetrate.
Sales should never be about pushing a product onto someone who doesn’t need it. When you have a great product, it’s easy to get excited about it, and this enthusiasm carries into everything you do. Moreover, incorporating honesty, integrity, and ethics in your business dealings leads to good relationships with your consumers, which means they will continue to bring business to you. A career in sales can be richly rewarding and last a lifetime, but you have to believe in what you do, and see the good in it. Spend time nurturing relationships, and engaging in mentoring and coaching activities with your peers. Only then will you see the results add up in your final numbers, and you’ll realize you’ve taken on the traits of a highly-successful salesman.