Most people aren’t born to sell. We’re not raised to sell either. Growing up we’re taught modesty. Moreover, most of us do not wish to sell. We learned medicine, law, accounting, plumbing, teaching, etc. Then we go out into the work force and realize that every job is selling. If you’re a customer service representative you’re selling a brand image. If you’re a teacher you’re selling your students on learning and the administration that you’re a good teacher. If you’re a doctor you still need to find patients somehow.
In my recent business endeavor, I’ve found the generation of clients to be difficult. Just getting the telephone to ring can be challenging. Then there’s the matter of closing the deal. I’ve learned that it’s important to have the proper attitude. As the saying goes, if you don’t believe in your own product (or yourself), then nobody else will.
That’s not to say that everyone should try and become something their not. I’m not a hard seller and I’m not that smooth. My sales pitch is one of honesty. But at the same time, I can’t undercut my business or my skills. That kind of modesty can destroy opportunities. At the same time, some people are turned off by salesmanship that seems too polished.
When You’ve Sealed the Deal, Shut Up
This is something that comes up in a lot of books on sales. Once you’ve got the deal, shut up and get out of their before you mess it up. It’s natural to want to shore up details, but perhaps that can wait until later.
Seek Help From Others
I recently had a business request a “sales proposal.” As I didn’t go to business school I wasn’t even sure what he meant. I told him I would get him a sales proposal within a few days and then called around to get some forms. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel–particularly when you’re version of the wheel may not even be round.
Think Before You Speak
When a person is nervous, it’s only natural that they might say something they’ll regret. Nerves increase word volume, verbosity, etc. Nerves can get in the way of a sale.
From my reading, it seems that enthusiasm is almost always a good quality. Whether you’re selling yourself at a job interview or trying to sell a prospect on your business, enthusiasm is a natural seller. There’s a limit of course, but I always err on the side of being too enthusiastic provided it’s natural.
Take Something From It
If you don’t get the sale maybe you still keep the person as a contact and try and help them when you can. Maybe it becomes an even bigger sale later on. Maybe you offer to sell something smaller and work your way up from there.
Only Sell What You Can Deliver
Some people will say anything to seal a deal, but they are the ones who are going to find themselves miserable when they can’t perform. As they say, you can only fool the public for so long. It’s important to get the deal but also get the price you’re worth, the work load you can handle, and to set the parameters early on in the relationship.
The above are some of the common themes (and a few personal anecdotes) I’ve noticed while reading more than a few books on sales. What would you add?