To my surprise, the sales profession can teach us life lessons, as unusual as this may sound. Not until years later did I realize it was fortuitous to be in the environment. The teachings begin in the sales office and then expand out to our clientele, networks, and private matters.
The one ‘make it or break it qualifier’ for sales success is in our communications. Recently, I adapted the verbiage, ‘communicate to attract success.’ But let’s examine the life lessons we can learn by being in the sales profession. The only variable is whether we are willing to adapt and possibly change our habits.
Communications in the Sales Arena
Being the witness to degrading another person and scoffing at their ideas is a no-win situation; being the one is a horrific experience. Upon hearing unusual ideas, stop to ask how the person came to the thought before responding. Quite often, it is the unique thought that will address issues and potentially resolve some of them. Additionally, the unusual thinking can be an excellent addition to providing clientele with a more robust solution.
The bonus for the company is that the welcoming of ideas leads to a more inclusive team environment. It becomes more likely that employees will remain longer, and the effort positively impacts the bottom line for the company.
Communications Among Social Networks
Instead of making pronouncements of our talent and attempting to solve issues upfront, it is far better first to understand what our prospective clients do. The better approach in the initial conversation is to:
- Before a discovery meeting, read the person’s profile.
- Attempt to discover not only what a prospect does but their underlying goals.
- Uncover why the person agreed to spend time for a meeting.
- Ask questions to uncover potential areas where you may be of help.
- Should the other party be a leader in their field, seek out possible collaborative efforts.
Building Relationships with Prospective Clients
Attempting to build relationships with prospective clients is the area we will do well to pay keen attention to and increase our likelihood of success. Salespeople do best by adapting the principle of inclusive ideas in the sales arena and applying it to everyone they meet. Sadly, people still adhere to the ‘totem pole syndrome’ when approaching larger companies, and it’s unfortunate because totem poles do not exist as everyone has decision-making capabilities.
The seemingly lowest level employees can quickly decide whether to help you advance through the system or stop your initial attempt and those following, should you choose to try again. It is the practice of being friendly with everyone on a professional level that will gradually help improve the relationships we attempt to build in our personal life.
Build Relationships with Personal Social Connections
By taking corporate lessons and applying them to our outside encounters can increase opportunities both of a business and private nature. During the conversations, as with business, always check that the values and priorities of others align with yours. Doing so leads up to trust, which is essential in any endeavor.
“Trust is the soul of sales and all else that we do.”
Trust Begins with Punctuality
When another does not show up on time for a meeting or provide the documentation we await, trust diminishes, as does the possibility of doing business.
We could set alarms on our phones for every piece of work we promise, every meeting, and every phone call. However, the continual alarm ringing and frustration with interruptions will detract from productive work.
Efficiencies begin with updating our CRM or to-dos by doing the following:
- Review the day ahead early in the morning and confirm all is doable.
- Confirm and take care of all obligations on the list.
- Set the phone alarm ten minutes before each meeting for timely attendance.
- Update the system before ending the workday.
Timeliness in every aspect is a huge factor from the client’s perspective. Your punctuality encourages client loyalty.
Apply Sales Principles to Personal Matters
Preparation of many kinds can consume our private time, especially regarding family and financial well-being. Attentiveness to necessary documentation and legal matters will keep us in good stead.
It is a relief to know that we are on track with all of our ‘must do’s and goals that bring comfort and encourage a smile. The smile relaxes us and encourages friendly conversations with others. Accordingly, other doors of opportunity begin to open.
The next step is to consider how we may contribute to society in general or benefit an organization that aligns with our philosophy. By putting all these steps together, we can fulfill both our passion and purpose, the essence of the Smooth Sale!