I’m a big reader. I was fortunate enough to have worked for a company early in my career that put me through a rapid reading course. Their one-time investment in me has paid life-long dividends for my career. I’m able to read and digest large amounts of information efficiently. Why tell you this? Because I’ve used the training I received to find and read a ton of excellent articles on how to be a sales professional and not just a salesperson.
One brief, yet impactful piece I’ve come across during my 32 years in sales and sales management is entitled Make Up Your Mind. I’ve never been able to identify the author of this little gem, but following the simple advice it provides transformed me in several important and valuable ways.
The benefits it has given to me pale in comparison to the resulting value it has delivered to my customers. You’ll find the piece below. Over the next five weeks I will highlight and expand on two bullet points contained in the article per week. I hope it will be as beneficial and inspirational to you as it has to me…
MAKE UP YOUR MIND
Your power to persuade others originates from your philosophies and beliefs. Your selling philosophies determine the attitudes you develop and the habits you form. The principles of selling and living that you adhere to will move you up to join the successful people who get to the top and stay there. MAKE UP YOUR MIND to live by these principles…
- That you are your most important customer. You must be sold on your job, your products and your ability to perform.
- That your product and service, properly sold, is of considerably more value to your buyer than any commissions you can possible earn.
- That time is money and that learning to manage your time productively will be one of your most profitable achievements.
- To believe in the law of averages and the wisdom of knowing the dollar value of each of your primary activities.
- That honest, intelligent effort is always rewarded.
- That it is to always be a “win-win” encounter.
- That the power of your sales presentation will always lie in its simplicity.
- That the purchase must be “helped along” and is more often made because you guide the prospect’s behavior in an effective, organized manner.
- That people buy today, not nearly so much because they understand your product thoroughly, but because they feel and believe that you understand them, their problems and the things they want to accomplish.
- That almost all development is, in fact, self-development and that personal growth is the product of practice, observation and self-correction.
Let’s take a closer look at the first two important points…
1. You are your most important customer. You must be sold on your job, your products and your ability to perform.
This is the alpha and the omega. The lesson I learned is my success begins and ends with me. I must believe. Customers can sense insincerity, dishonesty and a lack of confidence from a mile away. They can also pick up on enthusiasm, integrity and self-confidence in very positive ways.
Have you ever lost a sale when you seemingly had the “best” solution and proposal? You may never find out why and the customer may not consciously know why either. When asked they may say, “I just didn’t have a good feeling about that company.”
Since you are the face of your company to the customer, that means they didn’t have a good feeling about you. Think of it this way: You can’t take credit for a big sale and then blame a big loss on something else. The key word in the point above is sold. It only stands to reason that before you can sell, you must be sold.
The best way for you to believe that you’re a sales professional who delivers measurable value to your customers is to invest in yourself. Invest time to know more about your customers’ needs than anyone else. Invest time building on your business education. Invest time in researching your competitors, their products and how your solutions outperform theirs.
Investing in you translates into confidence in yourself. These investments will pay huge returns in your career over the long-term. Hard work equals seamless confidence. Do it for you and your customers.
2. That your product and service, properly sold, is of considerably more value to your buyer than any commissions you can possible earn.
A famous line from Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler croons, “You never count your money when you’re sittin at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done.”
If you’re thinking about you, you’re not thinking about your customer. This is another one of those things customers feel without anything being said directly. Our personal income goals are not our customers’ business goals.
Your customer pays for you to solve their problems, not yours. This is really a state of mind issue for us sales professionals. Focusing on the customer and genuinely caring about their satisfaction will result not only in financial rewards for us, but also in job satisfaction. You can’t buy that!
You can’t pay yourself a dime, but your customers can reward you handsomely. Sure, they will reward you by buying from you. But by caring about them and solving their problems, they will recommend you to other potential customers. You can’t buy that either!
What is meant by “properly sold?” I’ve found that this means the customer gets a lot more than just the products they purchase from you. They get an expert who understands their business goals and can represent those goals within their organization. They get an advocate who communicates to manufacturers/suppliers on their behalf.
They get a problem-solver who knows where to go and what to do to get things done without passing the buck. They get a pro that learns to anticipate their needs and solve problems they don’t even have yet. Don’t just deliver for your customers… over-deliver.
Commit completely to what you do, accept nothing less than your absolute best when you do it and do it for your customers, not yourself. This will lay a firm foundation for being a respected sales professional instead of just another salesperson.
Until next time…