‘Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.’ - Terry Pratchett
In the words of Terry Pratchett I felt it was time to stop dreaming about being a footballer or generally some sort of famous person and get some wages. I decided to become a sales person as it seemed to fit in with my ability to show off.
Since then I have been trying to figure out what makes a good sales person and become that very person.
I began my sales career in a door to door sales role with little more than a bag full of enthusiasm. Having previously presented a radio show, I thought sales was just about being confident. A few of the locals in Wythenshawe, Manchester made me quickly realise with a few colourful words that you need a process and certain valuable skills in order to successfully sell anything.
So what does a great sales person need? I have no idea! However there are certain points that I have always tried to work on, that have helped me throughout my career.
Firstly a good sales person needs top listening skills. Wythenshawe taught me that if someone politely (enter expletives here) asks you to leave their property, you should listen. Generally speaking, early in my career, I had never heard of the, “two ears one mouth rule”, and very rarely applied that ratio. I now realise how important it is to allow clients to tell you their needs and then present a solution based on that information.
I try to not present myself as a sales person and think about long term partnerships with clients instead. So taking the time to ensure I am front of mind when needed. This way you will survive longer than one deal.
Something someone once told me was to under commit and to over deliver. Over the years I have tried to over commit and over deliver. To go that extra mile and ensure I stand out from the crowd in my clients minds.
It took me a long time to learn this skill, however I have begun to realise about prioritising my time and thinking about what will make me money. I used to spend a lot of time chasing lost deals and investing time in areas that will never see any return.
I really believe that good sales people learn how to move with the times and constantly evolve what they do to ensure they are always ready to deliver for their clients in an evolving and challenging marketplace. This for me has always come down to hard work and research of the market you work in. If your competitor is willing to wake up at 7am and work, you should be awake at 6am. You should be able to spot future trends and advise your clients on an area you are paid to be a specialist in.
You should have the ability to squeeze every last drip out of each day. We always complain there are never enough hours in the day, and there never are. So any good sales person must have the ability to put in the hard slog, however it is far more important to be effective with your hard work otherwise you will just be very tired and have no money to show for it!
I feel good sales people invest in themselves. Read training material, go on sales courses etc. Do whatever works for you in order to make you better at what you do.
One of the most important points I have realised throughout the years, is to emulate the best. The best sales people want to emulate and be better than the best performers. Every organisation has mediocrity and some people will surround themselves with mediocrity. If this is the case then prepare yourself not to be the best.
There are loads more aspects to being a sales person. I am still trying to figure most of them out and to be honest I always will be. If you know any, drop me a line…