Sitting with a group of senior managers of a new prospective client I was asked how I knew I had been successful in training a sales team. I acknowledged it was an interesting question and asked what type of answer the manager was looking for. She told me to quantify what number out of a group of 12 salespeople had to apply and have success from what I’d shared with them.
“1” I said. “Only 1! Why so low?”
“Because if 1 person can listen, hear and apply something from a day’s worth of knowledge, skills, tools, disciplines and techniques I share with them, then so can the other 11. I cannot make them do it though, they have to want to do it; to be motivated to work on applying it and improving. Whilst I will have a short-term effect (as do all external trainers, speakers, etc…) long lasting benefit only comes from within the individual wanting to do it and be more successful. The only other way is for those 11 to be managed to change”, (which again needs repeated, even continuous attention … and even then it may or may not work).
I had been working on breaking into a major competition account and had visited them a number of times when they introduced ‘dress down Fridays’. This involved the usual formal attire of business suits and ties making way for smart casual shirts, blouses and suits being replaced by slacks and jackets.
As noticeable as this was, there was another immediate impact in that the people, all of which were graduates through to senior executives, acted in a decidedly more casual manner. From typically being very business-like and structured, Fridays quickly became a day where you were hard pushed to get a decision on whether someone wanted full fat or semi-skimmed milk in their coffee, let alone a decision to invest in a new piece of capital equipment or to change a working method or supplier. People simply left their business brains at home with their formal attire! So the conclusion could be drawn that a Friday was a bad day to visit them and talk business. In fact, my colleagues and boss told me so. For me however Friday visits to this prospect became a regular habit.
I’m a competitive person. I love winning and so I suppose a career in selling is something that befits my D.N.A.
Don’t get me wrong though, I can take losing so long as I lose to someone better than me rather than as a result of me not doing things to the best of my ability and when I lose to someone better it spurs me in to improve myself and raise my game.
So when it came to selling I would do (and still do) a whole host of things to make me that bit better, in the knowledge that those ‘bit betters’ would make a considerable difference (which I have found to be true). Whilst some of these things may seem trivial at first look I thought I’d share them with you:
Posted in Continuous Development, Stories From The Road, What It Takes To Succeed
Tagged being the best, better, desire, increased results, Motivation, selling, succeed, succeeding, success, what it takes to succeed
Success in selling often comes down to how observant you are as an individual. Do you see what is in front of you or rather what you think is in front of you? Let me explain why this is important.
Over the years I’ve worked with salespeople across all industries many believe that the key to success is a good source of incoming leads. These should be ‘easier’ prospects as they already have a need (otherwise why would they be in touch?) and it is just a case of convincing them that our version of what is available is better than the competition’s and they will buy. In my experience this isn’t necessarily the case and the majority of leads don’t convert in many industries as the prospects’ understanding of our products and services isn’t always right, they expect us to be able to do things we can’t, and so on … In the case of an incoming lead many salespeople deal with the prospect expecting them to buy at the end of the contact (call / meeting / email) and so don’t necessarily see what is in front of them.
Posted in Being A Salesperson, Conducting Sales Visits, Differentiating Yourself and Your Offer, Questioning Skills, Stories From The Road, What It Takes To Succeed
Tagged competition, focus, incoming lead, information, leads, opportunities, opportunity, question, questions, story, techniques