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?
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.
Many people start a career in sales thinking that they will rise to the top of the industry quickly, and that their income earned will be high. If only life was that easy.
Professional selling is a specific career that requires a high degree of personal development and practice; that process should never stop. Those people that are very good at selling are particularly so not through luck, but by the specific actions and choices that they take. They work really hard. They have systems to underpin the actions that they take every day, and they look for ways to improve their processes. They actually do what they say they will do.
The averages of performance therefore apply to most people in a ‘career of sales’. Less than 10% of salespeople in any industry are truly the ‘high performers’. This number should say to you that there is a massive opportunity for most to improve and grow their business if they apply themselves to the tasks required.
Daily actions and results should be tracked and ratios monitored when you work in sales. In this way you will know when things are improving. New sales skills take time to develop; but develop they will do so if you practice your efforts and take the right action every day.
The core sales skills that are important to us are usually a combination of all of the following and some of us are better at some of those things than others:
- Meeting generation
- Sales pitches
- Client service and communication
Some of these things are very important but only you can decide what they are for you and your business. For example, if you lack a lot of clients and prospects then you will need to do some prospecting. If you are getting the meetings but not the business then you have an issue with presentations, and you will need to improve in that way.
Understand this; most of us are not good at everything, but we are good at some things. Understand your weaknesses and start to improve them. Practice every day the skills that will help you rise up in your market.
Know where you are now
To understand if you are growing your business and market share, here are some numbers to track on an individual basis. Assess and tally the numbers at the end of each week.
- Calls outbound
- Calls inbound
- Meetings arranged with prospects and clients
- Meetings to new business ratio
- Business generated by volume
- Business generated by $ value
- Seasonal sales trends
- Enquiry rates
- Average sales
- Database growth
A top salesperson is not ‘lucky’; they win the business because they are very good at understanding what to do and how to do it. They then take the actions to improve their skills in the right things for their market and locality. Does this help your sales career? I think it will if you take the actions needed.
In any sales profession today the resources and tools that we take to a meeting, presentation or a sales pitch are quite simple. It is up to us to use them to the best of a situation. We are judged on all of the following:
- How we appear
- How we sound
- What we say
- The relevance of what we can offer
- Our knowledge
- Our experience
- Our reputation
When you enter a client’s office or work environment you are judged in a ‘visual’ way; it takes about 20 seconds for the client to do this. If you do not ‘pass the visual test’ any further connection with the client will be a lot harder. On this basis you have to look and act the part. The client will have their own ‘visual standards’ that they set for any salesperson that they work with; on that basis your appearance has to be of a ‘generically’ high standard for your industry. You really do not know what the client expects of you ‘visually’. In the first instance they need to see you as a ‘professional’ and that is before you say anything!
So let’s presume you can get over the ‘visual’ challenge and pass that test (most people can). To take matters further your voice and words should be practiced and refined for your products and service. I know a lot of salespeople do not like ‘role playing’ but the process is of high value when it comes to verbal confidence and negotiation. You can safely ‘role play’ within your team and with your business partners. You can merge the challenges of the market currently into your practice sessions.
Another thing you can do personally to boost your voice and word confidence for any sales presentation or meeting is to read a book aloud each morning when you first arise. Do so for 20 minutes or so; the process helps you develop greater confidence with words and gives you verbal ‘flexibility’. This system also helps greatly with your cold call prospecting that may be part of your sales process.
If you want to rise up the ranks of your industry and towards the status of a ‘top salesperson’, focus on your verbal confidence in this way. Some of the greatest orators and speakers of the world are very impressive and they make people listen; watch what they say and how they do it. Learn some of their skills and develop ‘voice confidence’.
Practice your voice and your conversational ability for your sales profession. I go back to the point that the easiest way to do that is in reading a book aloud each morning; it helps ‘program’ the mind and brain for conversational advantage.
Working in a professional sales position, you will find many pressures occurring on a daily basis. Sometimes it is tempting to take the ‘easy’ way out when it comes to issues and tasks. It is not unusual for most sales people to take the ‘road of less difficulty’. Unfortunately this does not always bring in the best results in new business and income.
When you look at your career, your industry, and the competition, it will be very obvious what needs to be done if you are to rise to the top of your market. Are you doing all of those things now? Could you do more of them? What would happen if you started working on those difficult things that you have been putting off for so long?
Here is a list of the common ‘matters of avoidance’ for most salespeople:
- Contacting clients in an ongoing way
- Paperwork and reports
- Key performance indicators
- Database entries
- Following up on business and transactions
Just about all of these things will have a big impact on the business activities of the average salesperson. Some of these things will be more important than others.
The rules here are quite simple:
- Look at the list and decide what you could improve on.
- Get the knowledge that you need to build your skills that may require more work.
- Start practicing your skills.
- Take action to a plan.
It is not easy being a salesperson in any industry. You must rise to the market and the pressures of the day with a great attitude and a momentum to take your business and market share forward. Developing a plan for the process is a good thing, however the start of any day should feature the things that are hard and that you have been putting off. Get the ‘hard stuff’ done first and the business will start to move ahead.