Monday, June 25, 2012

The Makings of a Great Sales Person

Sales… people just hear this word and they automatically think either a job I would hate to have or people I hate to converse with.  And why is that one may ask?  Why do people hate salespeople and refuse to be put in a sales environment?  I can tell you that at times I get it.  I understand where people come from.  There is a simple reason why people hate the word SALES… because that’s what it is…. SALES. 

            I started my sales career at a very young age.  After going to dental assisting school and realizing that blood makes me queasy, I got my first real professional job with Farmers Insurance as an assistant.  After learning the insurance world, I moved to American Family Insurance where I became an agent with my property and casualty license.  I did this at the age of 18.  After a year of answering machines, hang ups and cuts from the white pages on my fingers, I moved to a different kind of sales with The Gazette.  I was invited into the world of call center sales. 

            I have been with The Gazette off and on for nine years.  In between my nine years with the Gazette, I was a Retail Sales Associate with Denver Mattress and a General Manger for American Laser Centers.  I came back to The Gazette because I missed the atmosphere, the comradery, and the fun at The Gazette.  I especially missed the training on how to be an accomplished salesperson here.  It’s different than any other sales position I have ever had.  So what makes a great salesperson?

            First of all, don’t call me a salesperson.  That is not what I do.  I do not sell people anything.  Not saying that what I do doesn’t come with a price, but I’m not selling products like other sales jobs.  I am creating, designing, and implementing marketing solutions that guarantee results for my client.  I am a marketing specialist, not a salesperson.  So what does this mean to my clients?  When I walk into an office as a marketing specialist, it means I am coming in with knowledge and expertise, not products.  I am not here to act like a “car salesman” and nickel and dime my clients.  No… I am here to listen to what you have to say, what your needs are, and how… as a consultant… I can make your life better as a business owner.  DO NOT CALL ME A SALESPERSON!!  I am a marketing specialist.  So as a business owner who has salespeople, I can tell you how to bring people in and train them to be consultants for your company.  I can tell you how to create partnerships, not sales, and I can tell you how to build a clientele base based on relationships and not a bottom dollar.  How do I do this?  It’s simple… by being human.

Here are my basic simple yet effective rules of being a great consultant:

10. Any consultant (A.K.A salesperson) must believe in the company and the products in which he or she is representing.  If you don’t believe in the company you are with, you will never be able to show the positives of what your company has to offer, and that is a waste of everyone’s time.

9. Any consultant must be confident and cool.  You must believe in yourself and express passion in what you do.

8. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  Many consultants (A.K.A. salespeople) fall short of success because they are afraid to go beyond their comfort zone.  If you know you cannot get passed the fear, then this profession is not for you.  Besides part of the thrill is when you finally break through the fear and see success.

7. Be sincere!!!  Let me say this again…  BE SINCERE…. Nobody likes to be sold.  And when I say nobody, I really mean nobody.  The last thing people want is to be pressured by someone who talks a lot of game.  This is why car salesman have a bad rap.  Deep down, we know that they are in it for the money, not to help the customer out.  Be sincere… it’s not about making the bottom dollar.  It’s about helping a customer and winning them for life.  You show them that you are honest and really care about helping them; they will open up, break down that sales wall and let you in.  Some of the best sales people I know will tell you they have never sold anything in their life.  They have only assisted people in making their lives better.  What great advice!!!

6. Dress for success!!  Your appearance can make or break a sale.  This is because people judge you in the first three seconds they see you.  Now not to say you can’t be yourself.  Heck I’m out of the norm when it comes to professionalism, but I am professional nonetheless.  Your appearance says a lot about who you are.  This also means don’t try too hard either.  Believe it or not men…. Sometimes a tie can scare people.  Or the jacket may be a bit much.  Either way, make your appearance your own and dress for success.  No jeans allowed!!

5. Make the meeting about the customer!!  It’s always about the customer.  It’s not about you and your knowledge.  It’s not about what you know.  It’s about them.  This means if you are going into a meeting with a client DO YOUR RESEARCH… know their website, when they first started their business, and what they are all about.  And be inquisitive!! Ask questions about the business but also learn about the person you are talking to.  BE SINCERE!! Don’t ask questions to get ahead.  Ask because you sincerely want to know. 

4. Know what you are talking about!  You are the expert right?  So act like it.  Do not go somewhere unprepared.  You know the ins and outs of your business and every product you have to offer.  You should never come across a question where you have to say “I don’t know”.  You never say that!! Instead if they do ask a question that you don’t know, say “I will get that information to you as soon as I get back to the office”.  You are the expert; you better make sure you act like you are.

3. This is not a sales call, this is a conversation.  Do not go in expecting to make a huge sale on your first try.  Be grateful you got in.  So do not go in there trying to sell something right away.  THAT’S BAD, VERY VERY BAD.  The only time you do that is if the customer wants that.  Instead your first meeting is about a conversation.  It’s about getting to know the client and their needs. You cannot sell something to someone if you do not know what their needs are.  Can a car salesman sell you a car without talking to you first? No!!  Can a store associate help you find the right size shoes without talking to you first?  NO!!!  So don’t expect that you can read their minds and do that on the first try. 

2. Build the relationship!  This means making friends.  This means long term partnerships.  This means that you honestly care enough about the person you are talking to, to invest your time and efforts into their cause.  Some of my best clients are my closest friends.  They trust me and know that if I am going to bring something there way it is because I have their best interest at heart.  They know if I ask them to lunch it’s because I enjoy their company, not because I need to make an extra $$$ to hit my revenue goal for the month. 

1. BE YOURSELF!!!!  Let me say this again… BE YOURSELF!!!  I have been a top producing representative at The Gazette for a long time because I am nothing more than myself.  Don’t believe me?  Ask anyone at The Gazette who I am.  I am simply me.  I dress the way I want, I act the way I want, and I sell the way I want.  I sell by not selling.  And this makes me a successful sales person.  Sounds funny right?  It’s true though.  I am myself all the time and people respect that.  I am not coming in with strings attached.  What you see is what you get.  I am genuine, honest, and very caring.  I NEVER treat my clients like a sale.  I treat them like my friends.  And I am genuine about it. 

            I know that what I am showing you here is a bit unorthodox in the sales world.  But I’m telling you that I have been selling my heart out since I was 18 years old.  I am now 31 and I am still going strong.  So if you have a business with sales people that have a hard time pulling their weight… there could be a few reasons why.  Maybe they don’t have that special ability to sell or maybe they just don’t know how.  Either way, if you follow my steps and bring the human element back into the sales process, you may be surprised by the outcome. 

Brandy Vasquez

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