Successful salesmanship is a skill that is honed and practiced. There really is no such thing as a “born salesman.” There are people who are more comfortable with talking to others, but sales skills are not embedded in anyone’s DNA. That “Great Salesman” who sold you your car or your TV or your watch did not become successful through osmosis. However, there is no secret to becoming a successful sales professional. In fact, the steps are rather clear and simple. The challenge is practicing them, and conquering your fear of rejection.
Probably, the biggest challenge facing a sales professional is how to deal with rejection. No one in sales is perfect. In fact, we get told no a LOT more often than we are told yes. That’s a reality. Keep in mind, that if you are a sales professional, and conduct yourself professionally, your prospect is saying no to the product you are offering. NEVER TAKE IT PERSONALLY. A classic adage and comparison is the great hall of famer Babe Ruth held (and holds) many batting records: Most home runs, most hits, etc. He also holds another rather interesting record: The highest amount of times to be struck out. There is no professional baseball player who has a lifetime batting average of 1.000. In fact, No one even has a .500 record. The greatest players averaged one hit out of three attempts. In other words, they failed 2 out of 3 times. So, don’t let rejection stop you.
Sales is a numbers game. It always has been. The simple truth is: The more people you can talk to, the more people you will close. I define “close” as the actual action on the part of the salesman to physically ask for the sale/money. The more times you close, the better your chances are for a sale. If you are afraid to ask for the sale, you will NEVER get one.
A very important factor to keep in mind is that, as the salesman you must always ASSUME THE SALE. Let’s face it, if YOU can’t get excited about the product you’re selling, why should your prospect be interested? If you don’t wholeheartedly believe that what you are offering is the BEST thing since sliced bread, your prospect is sure as heck not going to think so either. Enthusiasm is contagious, so pass it on to your customer. On the flip side of that, so is apathy, and no one takes action when in that state of mind.
Never be afraid to talk to people, if for no other reason than to keep your people and conversation skills sharp. I make it a personal habit to always engage in some small talk with cashiers, waiters/waitresses, fellow customers, etc. Even if it’s for a minute or less, being able to strike up a conversation with a stranger, and make them feel comfortable with talking to you, is a powerful asset when you are in a sales presentation. You don’t have to be actively mining for new prospects when you do this, but then again, you never know where a certain conversation may lead.
Lastly, always be a a very good LISTENER. Everyone likes to talk. The truth be known: if you become known as one who will listen and hear what other people say to you, you will not only be known as a very good conversationalist, but people will actually ENJOY talking with and being with you. You really don’t have to be the one who says the most in order to be the one who controls the conversation. Asking a question, and then really listening to what the other person answers, keeps you in control and also builds on your manners and popularity. A golden rule to remember in sales is: People buy from people they like and trust.
See you at the top.