Sunday, December 9, 2012
Natural Born Salesperson
Somewhere in the age of 18 (in the seventies) or so, I took my first real sales job (kinda) selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. All in the course of one day I and others were trained on the features, advantages and benefits. The manager made demo'd the Kirby as the state of the art in technology for vacuum cleaners, and I was impressed. At the end of the day he told us that in order to stay with Kirby we were to take a demonstrator home with us and sell a minimum of 3 Kirby's to our family members at a price of over $300 each. Three hundred bucks in the seventies....was a lot of money. I bought my first car for $150, to the say the least the last thing I wanted to do was squeeze my parents for $300 bucks, I didn't take the demonstrator home and pretty much didn't go back.
I'm sure we've all had an experience or two in our sales careers like the ones I had. To tell you all the truth the last thing job I ever wanted was to be a salesperson, and look out that panned out. At 23 years old I backed in to copier sales in the eighties. Prior to the copier sales I was trained for a good 12 weeks to be a copier technician. At the end of the 12 weeks I got my first copier tech gig and in three months I was brought for a review. The review kinda went like this,
"you've done a great job with taking the copiers apart and not so good at putting them back together, so we have to lay you off". I was not shocked since I knew it was the truth, I screwed up more copiers than I repaired and the ones that I repaired I pretty much had no clue as to how I go them running right. So, in the same breath, as I was being fired, I was offered a job to sell copiers. It was either take the job at selling copiers or enlist in the Army. Since I was never a good rule follower, I choose to sell copiers.
Over the years I've seen many sales people come and go. Most don't make it in our industry because there is a lot of rejection, endless prospecting, poor work habits and the same monthly grind over and over. But every now and then I'll meet someone that I see as a Natural Born Salesperson and they possess some unique skills, such as the ability to communicate with anyone, they are cordial, pleasant, intelligent and able to offer vision to others when they communicate. They are very skilled with projecting a vision of the future to the client as to how their product, and their company is the right path to choose for many years to come.
So, how can the Natural Born Salesperson become the Super Sales Person? The Super Sales Person that always hits quota or above, always prospects, has extreme product knowledge and excellent closing skills. Too me, it's all about your work ethic, if you don't have an awesome work ethic you could be the Natural Born Salesperson but you'll never conquer being the Super Sales Person. You may think you have a great work ethic because you're always on time to the office, you work your 40 hours per week. But, ask yourself do you really work 40 hours, I mean you're at work but does that mean you are spending 40 hours a week prospecting, setting appointments, reading about your products or are you taking personal calls, texting, emailing, taking long lunches or visiting web sites on your BYOD?
The average selling month is 22 days, or 176 hours per month. Every minute that you're not doing something productive in the office or in the field reduces your selling time. When I'm driving to appointments I'm losing selling time, it's safe to say that I'm in the car at least 12 hours a week going to and from appointments. For the month that equates to one week, thus my selling/prospecting days are reduced to 15 days. If I were to chat at the water cooler, or the coffee making, check my personal email, text or check out my fantasy baseball league every day I could stand to lose another hour a day or 22 hours for the month, which is another 3 days that you would lose. Your time is your most valuable asset when it comes to selling.
In order to be the Super Sales Person you need to have a great work ethic, and understand that sales is not a 9-5 job. When was the last time you picked up a product brochure and read it from front to back, maybe a sales book, and how about the product launch book from the manufacturer, did you ever read it? Take some pride and out work others, so maybe you're not the best closer or the best sales person at presentations, but you could be if you spend the time and make the effort. There's many reasons that I'm still in sales ( I like the freedom that I have because I hit consistent numbers) and I believe that over time I've learned that if I'm not working hard then someone else is going to outwork me and take a sale from me.
There's some quotes that I've remembered over the years such as "the harder I work the luckier I get", "prospect by day and quote by night", and "winners make things happen and losers wait for things to happen".
As to the title of this blog Natural Born Salesperson, I don't consider myself to be a Natural Born Salesperson, I'm just ab average sales person with an above average work ethic.