The process of ‘change’ is a very important as a business tool. Your ability to see the need for change and then bring about the processes to get that change implemented will be the most important tool that you develop.
So many salespeople see the need to change and cannot pull it off. They struggle with the discipline and the actions required. When they fail to adjust to the market, they miss out on the opportunities of growth in income, and market share.
It is a well-known fact that the marketplace pressures and the business community are forever changing. Economic pressures, customer interest, and marketing strategies will change throughout the year. For this very reason, a strategy of change should be integrated into every business model for a team; it should also occur at an individual level.
Here are some tips to help you identify the right factors to change in your sales career, and then implement the process.
- Know your business strengths and grow them. Every salesperson will have particular strengths within their industry. It may be in prospecting, communicating, negotiating, or in closing. The strengths that you do have, should be improved through practice.
- Know your weaknesses and fix them. It is interesting to note that our weaknesses are the greatest hurdles that hold us back in business. You have two alternatives to deal with the issue. You can either employ an assistant to fill the gap with those weak skills, or you can deliberately practice and improve the weaknesses so that they diminish and dissolve. The latter is the preferable option that will take you further into your industry with success.
- Change takes time. The process of change needs to be implemented and the only way you can do that is to be diligent and persistent. When you understand what needs to be done, a new habit will be required. Given that we have developed our habits over many years, it can take several weeks if not months to develop the necessary change we want. Get the process started and stick with it.
- Track and measure your progress each and every day. When you can see that you are achieving results, the momentum get stronger and the results start to occur. Given that the sales profession is devoted to growth and results, you have the key to the process.
It is far too easy to stop doing something. The comfort zone will hold us back at each opportunity. Remember the problem of creating new habits and take up the challenge to build a better market place for yourself, and a strong personal sales career.
Have you ever come across a salesperson that really seems to have ‘their act’ totally together? You know the type; they are obviously successful in converting more prospects to clients, and the market share for that salesperson is strong and forever growing. They sell more and earn a very good income.
In any industry you can be a ‘good salesperson’ or you can be a ‘great salesperson’. Greatness doesn’t come easily; you have to work very hard for it and to keep it. The difference between the two salespeople is largely because attitude and action. Great sales people have a system of thinking and action that constantly focuses them on the right things that must be done. That then helps them build the momentum on the business that they require. They move ahead with a plan and focus of high quality.
Now it should be said that many of us want to be ‘great’ at what we do; the question is do we have the required mental stamina and the drive to work really hard on ourselves and improve our skills and knowledge. We all have choices.
Many things have been written about the mental concept behind ‘selling’ but not all of us ever do much about it in an consistent way. Discipline is the key. A well-known ‘business’ writer Og Mandino in the 1960’s and 1970’s put together some very well written simple stories around the process of discipline in sales.
If you are new to the ‘sales profession’ or if you are struggling with the processes that come with the job, may I suggest that you source out a copy of ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’ by Og Mandino. It tells as simple and yet powerful story; not only that, it continues beyond the story to give you some specific tools to shape your thinking and action.
If you are new to the sales profession, welcome to a great and exciting career! That being said it is time to take the action needed to build your sales business and income in a big way; it is a personal thing and you have the keys to the process. Start the ‘engine’ and build your massive sales success.
When you work in selling and customer service you must have the right mindset. This is even more so the case if your income depends on your sales.
Have you ever come across a salesperson that has an obvious problem of client commitment and attention? You know the type; they only help you if you ask and then they do so without a smile or willing gesture. You tend to remember these poor sales people and the bad experiences that they have given you. Do you go back to them? Do you refer others to them? Probably not. If you are like me, you will prefer to stay away; you may even be inclined to spread the word about the poor service and experience.
If you work in sales in any industry it is time to have a good look at the messages you send when you connect with and serve your clients. The right mindset and attitude are key parts of building your sales results and client database. Start the day with an ‘attitude boost’. Look in the bathroom mirror and smile. Tell yourself that today will be a great day and that you are committed to excellence in sales and service.
So I know we all have ‘bad days’ but don’t let that spread to your customers and clients. Take steps to improve your attitude and mindset to that of a professional salesperson. Treat people as you would like to be treated. Make the experience of doing business with you an absolute pleasure.
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.
When you work in a sales position in a competitive industry, you really do need to understand your character when it comes to selling and the factors that go with it. When you truly understand how you like to do things, you can build on your strengths as a top salesperson.
There are many different ways to establish and grow as a person in your sales career or industry.
Here are some questions to review and consider as part of this process:
- If you are presented with some serious challenges in your marketplace, are you prepared to do what it takes to create the necessary opportunity and new business?
- Do you like to listen to other salespeople when it comes to market place activity, or do you work on the basis of your own experience and momentum?
- How do you see the opportunity for building a client base and selection of services in your business and market today?
- When negotiations get tough, do you know how to move to the next level and use the necessary confidence to close the deal?
- Do you practice your professional sales skills on a daily basis so that you can grow your client base from regular prospecting and referral business?
- Exactly how much knowledge to you have when it comes to your product or service? Can it be better?
They are interesting questions which many salespeople will answer quite differently. It is the top salespeople in any profession that are highly independent and driven when it comes to skills and market activity. Every day they strive to grow their client base and or attract more sales. They look at ways to do just that.
A ‘great salesperson’ you can be if you decide to move ahead with your skills. Take charge of your market by knowing where you are right now and planning the factors of personal improvement that will take you forward.
In business and in sales today, things change on a regular basis and you need to see that change. For this reason you need a personal business plan and a process to keep you on track. High performing salespeople develop a plan that keeps moving them forward.
Here are some tips to help you develop your business model and plan.
- Once every quarter, it pays to review your market for changes and pressures. Look at the opportunities of change that can provide you with more clients or sales. Compare each quarter to that of the previous quarter. Look for the trends over time. Pay particular attention to the seasonal sales activity and patterns in your town or city. Generally most salespeople have a window of 10 months each year as a core selling period. That is the time frame where you really need to work hard and with focus. That is where your plan will be most important.
- Your product or service will require knowledge, skills, and market updates. That should be an ongoing process of tracking and improvement. The clients that we serve like to see confidence and relevance when we do our sales pitch or presentation.
- Considering the current market and your services, ask yourself the following question. Why do people need you? The best answer to this question will be your unique selling point. The answer that you give needs to be quite specific and all of your marketing efforts should be centered on those facts.
- Determine where you are right now when it comes to market share, clients, sales, and income. All of these things should be part of your business plan and improvement model. Targets should be set when it comes to each of these categories. The target should be realistic and yet also optimistic. Set the rules so that you know exactly where you are headed with your sales targets this year.
- The targets that you set should be established on a timeline given your core 10 months of market activity. If you are starting your selling career in a new area or business, you will need to stagger the growth of sales over the 10 month period. The first three months of the period are likely to be devoted to the establishment of market share.
- From all of the above items, you should be setting your action plan in motion. That action plan will require resources to support the systems that you create. A database will be part of that process. The client connections that you make should be tracked in the database so that ongoing customer relationships can be built. In many respects, the success of a salesperson is largely based on trust.
- On a final note, always track your progress on a weekly basis. In this way you will quickly know when things are improving or slowing down. Your plans and actions can then be easily adjusted. Pay particular attention to your prospecting processes, conversions to meetings, meetings to sales, and customer service. Providing everything moves well, you should have the opportunity for ongoing referral business and repeat client activity.
The results that you get as a professional salesperson are largely driven by your mindset and your actions. Protect and support both of these processes with the right attitude and consistency. Over time you can build your market share and income.