By Sami Rose – Consultant –JS3 Recruitment
Let’s be honest, most people hate Sales people. Even sales people hate being sold to. It’s also widely acknowledged that most people never planned on a career in sales (any more than they planned a career in Recruitment). Strangely, in the UK it is not seen as a profession, it’s something that you do if you aren’t much good at anything else whereas in the USA it is much more accepted as a chosen career. Everyone sells something at one time or another, even if it is an old mobile phone on eBay, most people get a little buzz when they complete a deal! If it’s your career though, that little buzz needs to be a much bigger buzz.
Sales will always be a cut throat industry. Assuming your product or service is fit for purpose, to be successful you have to be the best at what you do and that means continually developing yourself. It isn’t just about price. You need to sell value. Even with the best skills, you won’t close a deal every time. Personal experience has shown me that even when I have thought a deal was signed and sealed, for a completely unexpected reason that could not have been predicted, things can change overnight and all of a sudden your deal has fallen flat on its arse.
So what separates the good from the bad, and what do I think the key differences are between the best sales professionals and those that are happy to be mediocre?
- Natural Talent – This topic is certainly a controversial one, but it’s a conversation almost everyone has been a part of. For example “this ones a natural”, and it normally boils down to their ability to build rapport, keep a customer talking, whilst finding out all the information they need to complete a deal. Unfortunately some of the most gifted sales people have a tendency to be lazy and so natural talent on its own is simply not enough.
- Training – I am a huge believer that there is no such thing as too much training. For me training is an opportunity to learn from those who have already made a success out of their chosen career, and normally have pretty interesting theories on where the future of sales will lie. Those who purely rely on their natural talent but don’t continue to develop themselves and stay in tune with a changing market will get left behind.
- Personality – Personality is huge in sales! Everything is made so much easier when you have the ability to build great relationships quickly, no matter who you are dealing with. People buy people is as relevant today as it has ever been.
- Work hard, Sales is not a 9 – 5 job – Even with the points above taken care of, you still have to work smart and work hard. Go the extra mile and don’t just abandon potential money because it got a little bit difficult. If this was easy we would all be millionaires. Your duties in Sales shouldn’t finish as soon as the clock hits 5:00pm and its time to go home. If a lead comes in don’t leave it until the morning but try and establish contact straight away, because if you haven’t done it you can be certain that your competitor has. PS. That doesn’t mean you should call a lead at 2am (unless they asked you to). A simple email will suffice.