Some people think that something else is oldest profession, that (profession) is really just a subset of sales. As a business owner, you're in sales whether you like it or not. All of us are in sales. We sell to our customers, spouses, children and even ourselves. If you're not sure you have the personality to succeed in selling, consider these 12 ideas to create a truly great sales mindset.
1. Stay hungry & focused. Every good salesperson I've ever met has a drive to succeed. They have a strong work ethic and high energy. They work harder and longer than their peers. When the economy is bad, they are still out there pounding the pavement, making calls, talking to customers and networking.
2. Integrity is your product. Telling the truth is always the best policy. General James Jones once said “Bad news does not get better with age”. If there’s a problem, be honest, in business, especially today, it should be your motto. It’s not skill, knowledge or charisma that makes a great salesman. The difference is one trait: honesty. When customers trust salespeople, they will buy from them.
3. Stay positive. There will be days when you get down and may not believe in yourself. Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. The last few years have been hard for professional sales people. In tough times, you should have a positive outlook. Your customers will look forward to seeing you as someone who sees the glass half full.
4. Be a sales consultant. Top sales people know their products backwards and forwards. They also know their competitors' products and are prepared to point out the differences. Be careful to not bad mouth your competition, always be professional
5. Be prepared. I still remember the old Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared." Planning your sales calls and follow up drives the sale forward. As they say, ABC – Always be closing.
6. Mind your reputation. You can't buy a good reputation -- you must earn it. If you don't have a positive reputation, it will be difficult to be successful in whatever you do.
7. Be genuine. I have never known anyone to buy from someone they don't like. Always place yourself in the customers’ shoes. If you think about the commission you’re making, your customer feels that too. Don’t be a phony.
8. Dress to impress. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Are you neat and well groomed? Underdressed or overdressed?
9. Make a plan and set goals. Winners set goals; losers make excuses. Plan to succeed. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals. They must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely -- and put them in writing.
10. Customer service is the goal. The sale begins when the customer says yes. Under-promise and over-deliver. Customers will never tire of great customer service. Raise the bar as often as you can. It takes a long time to get a customer and only minutes to loose them. Pay attention to the details.
11. Listen. You can't learn anything with your mouth open. Understanding the customers’ needs and concerns will determine the best solution to their problems.
12. Never stop learning. Always have a thirst for knowledge. Read books and research your industry and profession, take courses, webinars, sales improvement seminars. The best sales people are viewed as consultants to their customers’. Be a preferred vendor and supplier. They will come to you for advice and recommendations.
Sales can be the hardest and most rewarding of jobs. Determine to be the best you can be. Good luck.
Mark Robinson has over 30 years of experience in the Graphic Arts Industry as a professional salesman. His background in sales, marketing makes him uniquely qualified to understand the needs of the client.