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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

There Is No Magic Formula

I wish I could say there is a magic formula to being a top salesperson. That it's just a natural talent for some, and all they have to do is flash a charismatic grin for the sales to start raining down on them. However, this is the real world, where sales dollars do not magically rain down on us like diamonds rushing down on our heads. Especially in these tough economic times, it's become imperative to work harder just to maintain a quota, let alone surpass sales goals. Here's what I've discovered in my experience as a salesperson who has thrived in the business....

What sets successful salespeople apart from the pack?

1) Willingness to take risks
I call it throwing yourself into the fire. I believe there's a song about just that! by Garth Brooks. He talks about standing outside the fire, how it's safe, but you're merely surviving, and not doing what you're meant to do in life. It's all about taking risks! The greater the risk, the greater the reward! How many times have I stuck my neck out when nobody else would? A lot more times than most, I'll tell you that! And do I have any regrets about that? Absolutely not! Nobody will ever notice what you have to offer unless you make put yourself out there, so stick your neck out every once in a while. You might be surprised at the rewards and recognition you receive(even if you don't achieve that sought after goal, you might just achieve something else simultaneously).
2) They are not hesitant to approach a stranger
9 times out of 10, if that first interaction is positive, that customer will no longer view you as a stranger, but as a budding friendship.
3) Motivation
They keep working, even when their body hurts, their voice is practically gone, and they're tired (but they don't show it.)
4) Game Face
A simple decision: to smile:) A smile tells a customer so many things about you. It says you're friendly, you feel good about yourself, and that you're approachable(and harmless). As a salesperson, this is exactly the image you want to project. An approachable person makes more sales, so smile and make yourself accessible to the customer. They will appreciate your openness, and want to buy more from you if they like you. It's a documented fact that salespeople who are all selling similar merchandise sell very different amounts. Sure, this has something to do with luck. And your selling area is important, too. However, the #1 indicator of a person's success in sales is the willingness of that person to extend themselves further than the average salesperson. The ability to set themselves apart from the pack, literally.

Let's say you're in an area where sales stink...(it's happened to the best of us.) Does that mean that YOUR sales have to stink, too? Absolutely not! I've worked in many departments where the sales in that area were down, but I was always up. It was because of my flexibility. I realized that if I saw a customer who was sort of far away from me, that I could still get their attention. And I did!! How? Simply by smiling and waving to them. A lot of the time, they would go out of their way to walk over to me! Even if they didn't really have something to ask me about, they would make up something, just to start a conversation. I've made many great sales this way! And it all started with a smile:)

5) Knowledge
They study their product up and down, side to side. They never relax when it comes to product knowledge. You need to know what you're selling, and the benefit to your clients. The more you know about your products, the more respect you'll gain from that client that asks difficult questions, and always gets a quick and accurate answer from YOU...great way to gain repeat customers.
6) Willingness to teach others
Great salespeople are willing to mentor others, whether it be through training them, or simply being there to share their experiences.
7) Willingness to be assertive
You can be an aggressive salesperson who never intimidates or puts people off, as long as you know what you're talking about is important to the client, and you are comfortable being in the same space. And as long as you know the difference between persuasiveness(positive aggression) and force of action, and pushiness(negative aggression).
8) Honesty
They don't lie to sell a product. Their expertise makes it so they don't have to.
9) Focus
They always keep the main objective in mind. That they will achieve success, and stay on the right track. They set daily goals.
10) They don't get caught up in what others think of them.
If  I worried what people think of me, I would never have achieved most of my goals in sales, because whatever I do, I realize people will criticize me any way. So who cares! People scoff or laugh at you when you are going after a goal. I just tell myself that I will be far ahead of them in the next 5 years. And keep going!
11) They have a "can do" attitude
Okay, I know I put this at the bottom of the list, but it is probably the most important of all! When someone asks you for help, you are not doing THEM a favor by offering your assistance. You are simply doing what you are being paid to do. It is your obligation to help them to the best of your ability. Trust me! People are always watching, whether it be your boss who happens to pass by at exactly the right moment, your co-workers, or even the owner of the company! You never know, so always put service first. And if you can't get a particular item or service for that client, then at least explain why in the most friendly way possible. Then make them another offer for comparable product or service. Remember, they could always decide to go somewhere else, so make a conscious effort to keep them coming back to YOU....

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