When you work as a professional salesperson in any industry, the only way that you will achieve a dominant market share and a good income is through putting your heart and soul into the selling process. Over time that will help you with building your business and your income.
Professional selling requires practice, good market knowledge, excellent product knowledge, and total personal commitment. Not all salespeople will check all these boxes when it comes to personal performance and business focus.
It is worthwhile saying that many salespeople are not totally committed to the task and the clients that they serve. They prefer to work the hours of an ‘order taker’ and not a top salesperson. That being the case, it is better for them to work in customer service. Let the front line sales go to those people that know how to encourage the transaction, and value to the customer, and grow the relationships over time.
So let’s go back to the point that top results require a top salesperson with a quality level of focus. Here are some points around which you can build your sales business and your leads and opportunities:
- Most customers and clients don’t want to be an experiment when it comes to placing an order or achieving a result. They like to know that they are working with the best people in the industry with the best product or service capability.
- Providing you have a top quality product or service to supply, most of the upcoming new business that you will generate will come from personal relationships established over time. This then says that you will need a good prospecting model and contact process to implement with all of your clients and prospects. It is a personal process that cannot be delegated.
- It may take three or four attempts at contacting the person before a meeting can be arranged. It may also take two or three meetings from that point onwards to establish a potential sale or order. Consistency and persistence within your prospecting model will be essential to building market share.
- Enthusiasm, knowledge, and trust are key elements to the client and customer relationship. Most of the people that we work with will want to see all of these elements before they share their business opportunities with us. Those salespeople with lower levels of integrity or attention to detail will usually not last in any industry over the long term.
- It should be said that people like to do business with the people they know and trust. Top salespeople rise to the top of their industry due to the levels of trust and the relationships that they have established.
Whilst the process sounds basic and simple, many salespeople overlook the necessity to follow through on the points of establishing new relationships and strengthening trust with their clients and prospects.
Forget about the need to make a sale, and focus on the relationships that you require; the business will come your way over time. Put integrity back into your selling processes.
In professional selling in any industry you will meet many salespeople that have a drive and a passion for what they do. Those salespeople will form the top 10% of the market. The fact of the matter is that the most successful usually have a ‘lust for growth’. That is a growth in clients, sales, opportunities and market share. They strive to build things and improve their performance in many different ways. They can see the road ahead.
So how does one get this magic elixir as a salesperson? It’s a ‘mindset’ that when nurtured helps actions and results evolve.
If you want to dominate your market and your industry you must start with the ‘internal’ stuff first. Over time your focus and your efforts must improve and that is a personal thing. Breaking old habits and setting new ones can be a real challenge; many salespeople fall back into the ‘comfort zone’ and struggle with the change.
Here are some tips to help you effect change and growth:
- Understand that there will always be opportunity around you. It is just a matter of digging to find it.
- Build your working day to a system and a plan of action. Regular steps and action can take you forward.
- Establish clear goals that have real meaning for you and where you must go.
- Track your progress every step of the way.
- Look for mentors and highly experienced people that have achieved what you are looking to do. Success always leaves clues.
Growth is a good thing. Champions of any industry have a real lust for growth. You can too. Drive your sales career with a real lust for growth of market share and income.
It is a fact that every person knows quite a few other people. On that basis we can use the connections of our clients to grow our businesses and sales opportunities.
So this is the advantage of ‘referral’ business. It’s always there for us to tap into. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions with the right people at the right time. That being said, the client must trust you and fully respect your relevance and experience.
Now it should be said that the process only works when you have served a client very well; when they are fully satisfied with the outcomes achieved. Their great satisfaction will give the momentum to the referral question and the leads to the people that they know.
Would you reward a person in some way for a converted referral? In most cases a simple gift or benefit will show the client that you are grateful for them in passing on the name of the referral. Even something as simple as ‘theatre tickets’, can be a positive way of showing the client that you really appreciate their help.
A good example of how this process works is well evidenced in the use of social media and ‘LinkedIn’. It is a social media platform that is built on the back of relationships and connections. Why not use this idea yourself and network through your good clients to others that they know and that you can serve?
In professional selling it is interesting to ask yourself if you are ‘on track’ or ‘on course’ with your targets and goals. Given the pressures of any business unit or sales team today it pays to ask that question at the end of each week to see what you have individually done and what you could have done better. You will then know if changes need to occur.
When things are not working, it is poor business practice to repeat the errors and things that are not working. Only good habits change the future.
It is very easy to get distracted or diverted when you consider all the things that we have to do each day. How does this list seem to you for a list of daily issues?
- Client contact
- Sales negotiations
- Follow-up on current deals and activities
- Assessing the competition
- Maintaining contact with key accounts
I guess you could add to this list yourself with some other sales or customer related challenges. The point is that things will happen every day, and it is our responses that we can control and that will get us through. We hold the key to the process when it comes to improving sales results in any market and economy.
So what can you do here? A healthy dose of dialogue practice doesn’t go amiss when things seem frustrating in your market and industry. You can add to that some time management practices to get your business day under control.
Here are some good approaches to rectify poor performance in any sales team situation:
- Test and measure the things that you are doing today
- Understand what you are there to do in selling and why that is the case
- Take ownership of the business, your market and your clients
- Put yourself back into the sales territory personally by talking to more new people every day
- Look for patterns that are opportunities in waiting
- As for the business and ask for the new client relationship
So what is the message here? It is time to get out and build that market share and your client relationships.
Why Do People Need You?
When it comes to selling your services or prospecting today, you really should know why people would need what you have to offer. That knowledge helps you frame prospecting conversations and questions. You can ask good questions like:
- I am calling to see if you have any issues with your stationery costs that may be lifting costs for the business.
- I am calling to see if you are struggling with photocopier operational costs in your office structure.
- I am calling to see if you are having issues with car parking costs for the staff.
- I am calling to see if you are struggling with sales team performance particularly with reaching budget.
- I am calling to see if warehousing costs are a frustration to your business and if you’d be open to looking at other premises in the local area.
- I am calling to see if you are having issues with business insurance and if it is impacting performance of the company overall.
Specific questions like these help you identify pressure points and frustrations for customers and prospects.
So why do prospects and customers really need you? Answer these questions:
- What can you provide?
- How is it done?
- What is your point of difference?
- What is your benefit to the client?
- How can you improve the situation for the customers that you serve?
- Are you really different when it comes to comparisons with other similar suppliers?
- What advantages do you bring to the customers that you help?
- How are you better than your competitors?
- Why should a prospect or customer listen to you?
Taking these questions you can easily phrase some targeted questions that help your prospecting conversations and connections. Unless the client or prospect has a genuine need or interest there is no need to take matters further. Frame your questions so you know if the customer is a clear match for you.
Human beings are creatures of habit. When we are left to our own devices we shape the day into a series of habits that suit us. Everything that we are today is the result of our application of our habits; everything else that happens to us is just luck. Given that luck is not all that frequent, the only way you can really progress is through changing your habits.
This process of habit change is easy to say and not easy to do. That is because we have choices as individuals, and if we do not discipline ourselves we tend to go down the easiest road.
Developing the habit of taking consistent and focused action towards you goals is the way to implement success in anything. So developing a habit is like training; you have to do it each day. The more you practice the better you become.
It is best to change your habits before the real pressure is on, because habits under pressure are not as effective as controlled and focused habits.
To make good habits, you must simplify the things that you do. As you simplify you can be far more effective. The way to progress here is to think of action as a muscle that you must strengthen each day. So start your action exercises.