Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Truth About Sales

My professional life exists in contradiction:
1. I am a business development professional.
2. I am a leadership advisor to HR professionals.

When I started in sales, I believed that my "gift of gab" would help me win the day....some how it worked. Then I grew up and I realized I was doing it all wrong!

The Truth About Sales
It takes incredible confidence to be a sales professional. One must be uncompromising in the drive to succeed and be unflappable in their ability to handle rejection. The extreme swings in sales take a special type of level-headed demeanor. There are always sales jobs available because very few people can handle the daily uncertainty of the trade. A sales job is never "safe".

With uncertainty comes insecurity and confidence competes with a need for validation. Sales people may want you to think they are invincible but the path to winning has to be complimented with daily pats on the back. Show me a supremely confident sales professional and I will show you a person who is deeply insecure.

Don't worry, we won't tell anyone! 

Take a Breath.......  
As we grow in the trade we come to understand that sales is not a game of confidence but a game of empathy. Salespeople do not have to prove their confidence but rather that they genuinely understand their buyers motives. The name of the game is building trust....and it requires:
a. Endless research.
b. The ability to listen more than you talk.

Many young salespeople rush into a room with a well-prepared presentation and tell the prospective customer how great their product is. Wrong move! You have to diagnose before you prescribe. You have to analyze those in the pew before you preach to them. In fact, save the preaching altogether.

Don't Be Cocky
Most people hate salespeople because their disingenuous demeanor reveals their personal goals as a priority over collective success. Many salespeople also have short tempers because their work in the trenches is often misunderstood by their office counterparts. Salespeople are driven (and measured) by their individual effort....so they often have issues with authority.

So, Let's Dispel the Myth
1. Don't be fooled, Salespeople are among the hardest working in your organization.
2. Salespeople possess a skill that most others don't: the ability to confront uncertainty, every day!
3. When ego drives effort it creates a bad perception (a common foe paw).
4. Salespeople's effort exist in the Marketplace, not in the office.
5. Salespeople are not as confident as you think:
- We stay up at night fearing what tomorrow will bring, and pretend to be brave enough to handle it.

The day of the barrel-chested bully pushing you into a purchase are over. The charmer without substance now loses more than she wins. Buyers are more aware, administrators are more strategic, and the sale is often trial by committee.

The process of inviting partnership is a consultation not a transaction: quick talk is transparent and insulting.

Note to Salespeople:
1. Know the extended purpose of your products and services and how they apply to your buyer's business issue.
2. Build trust.
3. Spend more time in the library and less time in the bar!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

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