Some people are naturally drawn to sales. Those that aren’t are usually quite averse to the concept. To this latter camp, seeming “sales-y” feels like insincerity. But it’s a misnomer that great salespeople are synonymous with sharkskin suits and used car lots. The most successful salespeople actually share a few traits in common, many of which are simply mindsets. The debate about Nature vs. Nurture may be on-going, but it is indeed possible to nurture the habits of “naturally” great salespeople. Here’s how:
Take Responsibility For Success (As Well As Failure)
This one applies to successful people in general, and happy people (some might say those are the same thing.) There’s nothing that lets the air out of a balloon, or curtails the success mindset than playing the role of victim. The very description of a victim is someone powerless, someone to whom things happen, rather than who makes things happen. To take back your power you must own everything you do, successes and failures both. Retrace the steps of each scenario and assess how you got to the result you did, whether you asked for the resources you needed and, if your requests weren’t met, how you went about making sure your needs were met. Did you do everything you could? Did you build a team and communicate well? Did you blame others for things that went wrong, and take credit for what went right? Think of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If something doesn’t work, they return to the playbook, or they connect with another player on the next down, but they don’t throw a tantrum or give up, or point fingers. Those that do get traded. Own it all. Dust yourself off, celebrate every time the chains move down field, and know that it’s in your power to win.
Be The Freshmaker
Remember those super goofy Mentos candy television ads from the 90’s? They featured ordinary people who became extraordinarily resourceful simply by their proximity to Mentos candy. There was the woman who broke a heel and decided to convert both shoes to ballet flats. There was the young man in a suit on his way to a job interview, who accidentally sat on a bench labeled “Wet Paint” and decided to pin-stripe his whole suit by rolling all over the bench on purpose. There was the guy who got into the sold-out concert by donning a bandana and pretending to be a roadie. Sure, they had the benefit of the candy (yeah right), but the point is, they were resourceful! Great salespeople possess this same drive. Got lemons? Let’s get that lemonade stand up and running. You hear a lot of “No” in sales, and it can be easy to feel defeated. But remember that winners find ways to win. Find your way (with or without candy.)
Strive for Expert-Level
Making a sale depends on many factors, but really getting to know your product not only makes you more confident, but makes your customer confident in you. As a salesperson you are a leader. You’re leading your customer through the entire process, and you’re educating them about a solution. The more comfortable you are with your knowledge, the more confident you’ll feel leading. Give yourself the gift of doing your homework, and you’ll find that trusting yourself encourages trust from your customers, both of which encourage sales.
Each One Teach One
Have you ever noticed that the most confident and knowledgable people are the freest with sharing their knowledge? An insecure person hoards. A secure person shares. When a salesperson really knows their stuff, they are free with paying their knowledge forward. Teaching can also be an excellent way of reinforcing what you already know, building an even greater sense of ownership and self-confidence. If that’s not enough to encourage spreading the love, “Work Altruists”, as they are referenced in Shawn Achor’s book, “Big Potential”, are 40% more likely to receive a promotion. They’re so good at what they do they feel free sharing And by sharing, they make the team better. And that makes them look even better. Is that altruism? Could be.
Passion Creates Urgency
Get it done! Do it now. Get excited. Great salespeople have a passion to accomplish the tasks of the day. Maybe it’s the energy they feel from the autonomy of owning their own choices, or maybe it’s coffee, but whatever it is, great salespeople get stuff done. Whether it’s the practical efficiency of following up with potential customers, asking questions, encouraging a close, or actively “backing off” until the time is right, you better believe that pipeline is color-coded.
No matter what your sales style, let these mindsets fuel you in 2019. Give yourself plenty of pats on the back, for every first down, and for every lesson learned along your journey to the end-zone, and become the sales star you naturally are.