We are often not meeting our personal or professional goals because underneath it all we question the "niceness" of the sales profession.
Who told you that salespeople aren't nice?
Why did you buy it?
How do you get past it?
What can you do to improve your sales?
When can you get started?
Here's a test to find out what you really think about the people who sell us things. Please check one answer for each question:
What image comes to mind when hear the word "salesman"? (or salesperson if we wish to be PC. This article will not be politically correct. I beg forgiveness in advance.)
a. A competent professional who has the customer's best interests at heart.
b. A pleasant but incompetent individual who doesn't seem to know enough.
c. A hustler who is out to take you and your money.
A classic example of the usual salesman (if he were an actor) would be :
a. John Forsythe in anything
b. John Candy in anything
c. Robert Preston in the Music Man
When I meet the usual salesman, I am inclined to:
a. Think of him as a friend and invite him home to dinner.
b. Get it over with as quickly as possible.
c. Lock up my wallet and my wife.
The last time I was on the receiving end of a sales presentation I was:
a. Delighted with the salesperson's concern for my own particular situation
b. Bored to tears
c. Suspicious, insulted and angry.
The next time I need to make another purchase I will:
a. Go back to the same salesperson for the same high level of service and concern.
b. I'll shop around.
c. I'll die before he gets another penny of my money!
Do you really need me to help you score this test? Did you work with an "A" recently or ever? You've probably dealt with lots of "B's", and the image that comes to mind all too often is "C", isn't it?
I feel there are two main reasons why salespeople don't sell well or sell enough. First, they feel that "selling" is somehow disreputable. The image of Herb Tarlick on WKRP comes to mind. Plaid jacket, plaid pants, white patent leather belt - and shoes to match! - and hustle, hustle, hustle! (Most of us don't want to be one of those so we really don't work hard at selling. The classic salesman-concept is at cross purposes with our self-image.)
That is really not an accurate picture of today's salespeople. Most are college educated. Most are problem solvers. The really good ones are very concerned with making sure that the customer is happy and satisfied with the purchase.
Those who do an extra-ordinary job are paid extra-ordinary money. An excellent salesperson controls his or her destiny and can get a raise today just by making another sale. Who else can say that?
Secondly, they feel ill-prepared to explain to people what is they do and what it is they have to sell. Most sales managers believe that salespeople don't do a lot of prospecting because they are afraid of rejection. That's been a popular myth for years.
Not true! Rejection is the easy part. A salesperson knows how to deal with rejection. You can't take it personally. You merely say: "NEXT!" and move on.
Example: Suzy A. (for Average) Salesperson is making corporate cold calls in person. Knocks on first door. She says: " Hi! I'm Suzy A. Salesperson and we have a marvelous mortgage program for your employees. Would you like to hear about it?"
Executive says no.
Suzy says: "Thanks for your time."
Moves on to the next corporate door where the scene is repeated. It's going along well for most of the day. She says "Do you wanna?" They say no.
She maintains her good humor, positive outlook and joi de vive until the 12th call when the executive says, and I quote: "Why yes, we are looking for something like that. Tell me about your company and that program."
And Suzy freezes. The customer has uttered the dreaded Y word. He said YES and now she has to do her presentation!
"Omigod! " she thinks. "What am I supposed to say? What am I supposed to do? Let's see there's something about saving them time and money. . . and what else?"
She stumbles over making an appointment to come back, which she may or may not keep. Because she does not understand her presentation thoroughly, (or more likely has never actually fully developed a presentation ) she is likely to drop the ball. She probably loses that prospect card and tells her boss that no one was really interested.
Good salespeople have a genuine presentation prepared. They have practiced and rehearsed. They understand the difference between features and benefits. They understand that they have to find the customers wants and needs before they ever start their "pitch".
The new model of selling tells us that if we, as salespeople, spend 70% of the time understanding the people themselves and their wants and needs, we only have to spend 20% of the time in a presentation when an opportunity arises and a mere 10% of the time in the closing process. Ever so much easier! On everyone!
It has been often said: "Nothing happens till someone sells something."
You are that someone. You have the opportunity to help someone own their most valuable asset; a home. The rates & programs (product) are far less important than your skill. IF all the rates and all the programs were exactly the same, IF they were all easily understandable by the average consumer, IF there were no expertise required to get a loan completed, IF you had the only mortgage company in town, there would be no need for salespeople.
Since none of that is true, you owe it to the consumer to get yourself out there and get well known by lots of people who may need your service one of these days. You need to perfect your skill, increase your knowledge and above all, keep marketing you. You need to be prepared to help people make decisions. Intelligent decisions, based on solid information, thoughtfully made with you as the facilitator.
Being a good salesperson is simple. Not easy. Just simple. Meet people. Take an interest in them personally. Ask questions. Find needs. Keep in touch. When the time comes that a need for your product arises. Offer yours. You'll be surprised how often you might be convicted of "being a salesperson".
Reprinted with permission.
Copyrights 1992-2006 Linda Brakeall