By John Chapin
Sales is a numbers game. To get the number of quality customer relationships needed for success, a salesperson has to be talking to a lot of people—because, ultimately, success comes down to the size and loyalty of the salesperson’s network. With that in mind, here are three factors critical to success in sales:
Mind-set is the most important factor because with it, the next two will naturally follow. The most important aspect of mind-set is having an expectant, positive attitude. Attitude will determine how far people get in life, how happy they
will be, and even their life spans. Having a negative, defeatist attitude makes it hard to achieve anything great. Also, people want to be around and do business with positive, upbeat people—and they will run from negative ones.
With the right attitude, people get up early, stay up late, and do the right things at the right time. With the right attitude, people take initiative and run with the ball. With the right attitude, people go into that cave they are afraid to go into because they know that’s where the treasure lies. With the right attitude, they do the hard work, stay away from the busy work, and escape activities that unsuccessful people do to get to the weekend.
In addition to attitude, other key aspects of mind-set are motivation, conviction, confidence, commitment, and persistence. All of these require having a passion and absolute certainty about the job—being completely sold on themselves, their companies, and their products.
Another important element of mind-set is focus. To be successful in business or sales, the focus must be on overserving customers and always doing what’s best for them—going above and beyond, doing much more than is expected, and doing everything possible to ensure a second-to-none customer experience. It’s all about the customer. The customer always comes first. And when the customer is wrong, it’s critical to go into the conversation determined to do everything possible to make him or her right.
2. Skill set
Skill set is the ability to ply a trade. For salespeople, it’s the ability to get out into the world, interact with people, close deals, and then deliver the goods.
Successful salespeople know what situations they are going to run into during the day and what people are going to say. They have to have well-thought-out, effective, scripted responses for anything and everything that will come their way. They know how to open a conversation, build trust and rapport, fact-find, present, listen, close, and do all the other things necessary to connect, communicate, and get the business. They also know that there will always be new and better ways of handling various situations, and that this is a continuous learning process.
Skill set also requires taking 100% responsibility for professional development: signing up for classes, going to seminars, and reading and listening to educational resources.
3. Activity level
The right mind-set coupled with the proper skill set will be all for naught if salespeople aren’t taking action and finding out how they can help people and their businesses. Those who are struggling with this have at least one of the following three challenges: They don’t know enough people, not enough people are thinking of them when they’re ready to buy, or not enough people believe they can solve their problem.
Correcting these issues takes a massive amount of work. As a general rule, allow two to five times the effort and energy expected. There are no magic bullets or shortcuts here; it requires putting in a lot of hours on the right activities.
John Chapin has 24 years of sales, customer service, and management experience and is an award-winning sales speaker, trainer, and coach. He is also a sales rep in three industries and the primary author of the gold-medal-winning “Sales Encyclopedia.” To reach Chapin, find a free white paper on what it takes to be successful in sales, and subscribe to his monthly newsletter, visit completeselling.com.
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