It’s Time To Change The Way We Perceive Sales
It is time we changed our stories and perceptions about sales.
We can do that in two ways.
First, we can change the perception of what motivates a sales professional, and second, we can change the perception of what we consider a successful sales visit.
Let’s talk first about motivation.
If I asked you what motivates your sales staff the most, you would likely tell me that it is all about the race for the highest commission, and the biggest year-end bonus.
While other professionals are deemed to have a variety of different reasons for doing the work they do, when it comes to sales, we assume that it is only for the money that someone would take up this work to make a living.
I have always had a feeling that the true sales professional gets more out of their days than money, and that is why I recently enjoyed reading Lisa Earle McLeod’s book Selling With a Noble Purpose – How to drive revenue and do work that makes you proud.
True sales professionals have a finely-honed skillset and artistry to the sales process, but this book reminded me that a commitment to sales can come as a higher calling.
No true sales professional will ignore the pressure of meeting their targets and earning their bonus, but the best one also believe passionately that the product they are selling will make a positive difference in the lives of those who purchase it.
Knowing that what you offer people can simplify their lives, and perhaps even save them as in the case of pharmaceutical representatives or safety equipment purveyors is an essential motive to sales professionals, yet it often overlooked.
According to Earle McLeod, leaders who take the time to put their products into the context of how they help others can ignite their sales department in a way that a focus on promising big bonuses cannot.
The bottom line is that everyone wants to do work that matters, and to be paid for doing what they see has purpose is the goal to which we all strive.
Coaching your staff to get out and sell because it is vitally important to put your product into the hands of people whose lives will be enhanced because of it is an essential message as well.
Once we acknowledge the higher calling aspect of the selling profession, how can we change the parameters of what constitutes a successful sales call?
Right now, in most organizations they are very small. A sale means the call was successful; a rejection means it wasn’t. We don’t allow for a lot of grey area in the exchange.
The reality is that a sales professional learns something significant from every call, and that in itself is successful. Rejection is tough enough to take from the customer; the experience should not be repeated when the salesperson returns to the corporate headquarters without a sale.
Instead of asking first about whether a contract was signed, try asking “what did you learn from this sales call?” Knowing what doesn’t work in some circumstances is just as important as knowing what does, since sales is becoming more and more a highly personalized experience.
Did the person walk into a difficult situation because insufficient customer research was done in advance? Did the product fail in comparison to a competitive product? How well is the sales person being prepped on the industry clients he or she is trying to reach?
Knowing what was learned, and then figuring out if there is a trend in the type of preparation that leads to the success of the sale is vital in a world of increasing customization.
Try changing these two things with your sales force this year and watch what happens.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
]24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
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