Tuesday, August 18

Giving Sales a Good Name

by Eric Pratt

I’ve seen the look before, in fact I see the look on their face almost every time I walk in the door to make a sales call. The “Oh great, what does this guy want” look. You probably know the look too. You probably have that look on your face every time a sales person walks in your door.

I don’t blame you either, I’d probably feel the same way if I was bombed with phone calls and cold calls all day long every day for years with little or nothing to show for it. How many times has someone promised you the world and then delivered nothing? Are they going to disappear into thin air with not as much as a thank you note for your time?

The problem is that almost everyone thinks they can sell. The problem is that almost everyone is trying to solve their own problems, not yours. The problem is that there are just too few honest, reputable sales persons in the business environment today. So why even take the calls? Why even waste your time when you have too much on your plate as it is?

The answer is hope and opportunity. You need solutions. You need a better way to do things. You need products, and services, and people you can rely on. There is so much information, technology, and services available that someone can inevitably help you work faster, smarter, and more efficiently. What if the next guy that walks through the door had the solution you’re looking for? What if you shut him down without even knowing he was the one you were looking for?

Please don’t lose hope. There really are a few companies out there that want to help. There really are a few sales reps out there that will actually follow up and deliver on their promises. The chance to win the sales call lottery really does exist.

I’ve sold a lot of things in my short career. I’ve sold everything from beer, wine, and soda to sunglasses, lighters, and toys. I’ve sold for good companies and I’ve sold for a couple of really poor companies with even worse products. I learned more about how to sell from my colleagues and supervisors than most of them probably realize. I’ve learned a lot from the best of them but I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot more from the worst of them. I’ve learned that selling really isn’t all that hard if you stick to a few basic principles.

First principle, be honest. Too many sales people lie, cheat, and steal their way through their day. They feel like they need to embellish, exaggerate, and flat out make stuff up to succeed. That’s usually not the case; they just aren’t very good at their job. If that is true, they’re selling the wrong product and need to get a new job.

Second principle, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Pretty simple in concept but practiced far too rarely as most of you know. Sales people over commit and under deliver. That’s why you can’t stand the thought of talking to another rep that walks through your door. That’s where the look comes from right?

Final principle, work hard. Most of their short falls come from just being lazy. They’re too lazy to pick up the phone. They’re too lazy to prepare properly for their meetings. They’re too lazy to follow up afterwards. How many times have you actually sat with a rep that had a good product that were truly interested in buying but they just completely dropped the ball? More than once I would guess.

It’s just not that hard to set yourself apart in the sales world. The bar has been set pretty low. All you really have to do is be honest, follow through on your promises, and do the work that revolves around the call. Working for a good company with a good offering never hurts either, it certainly makes your life easier and helps you resist the temptation to sacrifice your principles for a sale.

All of this is why the look on your face when I walk through the door doesn’t bother me. I understand your frustration and skepticism, I feel your pain. This is also why I don’t let it stop me, why I smile and introduce myself regardless of your attitude. I’m here to help. I’m here to restore your faith in the sales process. I’m here with a great product and I’m going to do a great job. You’re going to love my company’s product and you’re going to respect the way I do my job. You’re about to be my next client, you just don’t know it yet. Give me a chance and I’ll prove it.

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