Would you think you could have a gold medal career in swimming like Michael Phelps? Probably not. Yet being successful in sales is a real possibility. I suggest you do what other successful salespeople do if you want to be successful, too.
1. They know how to listen.
Successful salespeople don’t assume anything. When a customer says something that’s open to interpretation (quickly, expensive, more, less) the successful salesperson immediately responds, “And what do you mean by quickly?” The successful salesperson never assumes he knows what the prospect is thinking. He asks to confirm.
2. They’re great communicators.
No, they’re not big talkers. They use a variety of tools to make their message more effective. They are able to communicate complex ideas and subjects better than others. They use charts and graphs and pictures of what they are describing. That makes their message more visual and easier to understand. Their prospects understand concepts quicker, which shortens the sales cycle. Better communication avoids misunderstandings.
3. They’re strategic.
I often say I create lazy salespeople. What I mean is that lazy salespeople do the least to get the most. Being lazy sounds a lot easier than strategic. Successful salespeople are strategic. One of the things they do better than others is that they get others to help them sell. They carefully create a list of why prospects buy from them. Then they match this up with their satisfied customers. These satisfied customers write testimonial letters that become powerful selling tools.
4. They’re persuasive.
No, they don’t use strong-arm tactics. Successful salespeople are masters of skillfully building trust with their prospects. They watch what they say so that everything is perceived as a promise they must keep. After all, anything that destroys trust will damage their sales relationships. They make sure that another component of persuasion, their competence, isn’t put into question. They look the part of a competent sales professional and they act the part. They certainly put their customers’ interests ahead of their own to avoid buyer’s remorse.
5. They have great timing.
You’ll notice that successful sales professionals rarely miss a sale. They’ve already identified the types of prospects that need their products and services and they pay attention to the situations that cause them to be needed. Some sales take time. They don’t want to enter the sales process too late and not be considered. They don’t want to miss the sale entirely because the customer just bought.
6. They’re flexible.
I once met a salesman who said he sold the same way to every customer. I thought that was a bad idea. Your prospects are different. It’s your job to adapt to them. That’s flexibility. Flexibility includes being aware of when you need to modify a plan. Is your customer experiencing a huge problem? Now might not be the best time to present your proposal. Is your customer getting ready for a meeting and needs more time? You might want to shorten your presentation and allow him to use the extra time. He’ll be grateful and listen better, too.
7. They love selling.
I’ve never met someone who hated selling who was really good at it. The successful people who love selling are always looking to improve. They study, they get coaching, and they know there’s always more to learn.
Becoming an Olympian is a long-shot at best. Becoming a successful salesperson might take some work, but it is a real possibility. Just do what successful salespeople do and you can become one of them.