Decades ago, Albert Gray, an insurance salesman and industry trainer, wrote that the common denominator of success, the secret of anyone who has ever achieved success, is that they have the habit of doing the things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. He goes on to ask, “Do successful people like to do those things more than unsuccessful people?” And his answer was: No – successful salespeople have a purpose and the achievement of that purpose is more important than the discomfort of doing those things.
What are those things that Gray was referring to? I’ve listed some that are key for professional sellers:
- Become an expert in your field. Read books, take courses, and learn from other experts.
- Learn soft skills that will open doors and keep them open. Learn to:
- speak clearly and concisely
- listen actively
- manage your time
- set goals
- write well
- take personal responsibility
Invest in professional development programs that help you enhance these skills. A coach can help.
- Set goals and review them daily. Build your “To Do List” as steps to achieve those goals.
- Prospect for new business every day. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and if they aren’t obvious, dig for them.
- Make connections through networking events, social media, phone calls and emails. Use any means available to get to know good prospects or those who can refer you to good prospects. Use a CRM like Salesforce to track your contacts and related tasks. They offer more tips here on upgrading your sales routine.
- Be disciplined. Consciously build success habits.
- Always do what you say you’re going to do
- Always be on time
- Always finish what you start
- Always be polite and treat everyone with dignity and respect
- Always put your prospect’s needs ahead of your own
- Grow your confidence. Customers like to do business with confident (but not arrogant) salespeople.
- Develop positive expectancy. Go into a meeting expecting to make a good first impression, to get a positive response, and to develop a friendly relationship. Expect to move the relationship to the next level.
- Present a solution only after you have a clear understanding of the problem.
- Watch for buying signals and when you can see the prospect is ready to buy, ask for the order. Most sales meetings end without an ask.
- Ask for referrals and expect to get them once you have established yourself as an expert who can help those being referred.
- Track your important activities daily to measure your progress and build success habits.
Print this list, put it next to your work area and read it daily as a reminder of what successful people do to achieve success on an ongoing basis.