Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lesson #12: Sales Is Good for Business

When I was a freshman in college my educational inspiration came from the late Harvard professor, Dr. Timothy Leary - who following his own advice, “turn on, tune in, drop out” did exactly that in the name of finding the true meaning of life. I had my own version of this philosophy. It consisted of driving up to Mount Tamalpais in my little red sports car to get above the thick fog, hanging with a group of old Italians at the CafĂ© Trieste in North Beach where English was a foreign language or throwing a crab net over Muni Pier to see if I was smart enough to enjoy Crab Louie that night. At least the beer and chips felt good on a sunny afternoon. It was more educational than falling asleep in a classroom.

It was on one of these excursion days that I tagged along with my friend, Lincoln, who was in the market for a newer version of his car. He was interested in selling his ’61 Chevrolet Corvair and buying a ‘64 Corvair. We use to joke with Lincoln about his choice in a car that Ralph Nader once called the most dangerous car ever build in his investigative book, “Unsafe At Any Speed” (1965).

We ended up at a Chevy dealer on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco where he found the vehicle in the used car lot. The sales person told Lincoln to leave his car on the premise so that he wouldn’t get a parking ticket in the event his test drive went longer than the minutes on the parking meter. That made sense so we cruised around, doing the test drive, but after about 10 minutes, Lincoln decided there was a problem with the car and chose against buying it. As we re-entered the dealer’s lot, Lincoln didn’t see his car nor could he find the sales person. He asked several employees where his car was and they all acted as if Lincoln hadn’t taken a bath in two weeks.

The Old Trick
After several minutes of hunting around the lot, there in the back row of the service garage, Lincoln found his Corvair behind three other vehicles. He asked one of the mechanics to please get his car out of there. The mechanic mumbled something and walked away. Now what?

Finally, the sales person reappeared, a big smile on his face. Lincoln told him he wanted to continue looking at other dealers and could he get his car back.
“Look,” said the salesman, “Your car’s on its last legs, and that Corvair you just drove is one of those rare ones with a supercharger. You’re lucky you found it. I’ve got people dying for this car but I’ll make you a great deal right now, and we’ll take your old one in trade.”
Lincoln wasn’t impressed. But the sales person wasn’t going to budge. He waved his manager over to join us. Oh no! – the dreaded manager “say-hi-to-my-customer” tactic! Here we were held hostage by a used car commando unit and no way out! The sales manager was so focused on Lincoln that he didn’t even notice me. This guy was a regular Captain Crunch. You know, the imposing pressure-laden, fast talking salesman who won’t take no for an answer. He was practically spitting into Lincoln’s face with every loud punctuation. So here was my poor friend being pressured into buying a car, having his car shoved literally into the corner and seemingly without an option other than to buy the car in order to get out alive!

Was this how successful sales people needed to behave in order to get things done?  It was kind of funny but it was time to blow this taco stand. So, I stepped forward, “Hi Fernando,” I said to the sales manager. Yep, I knew him. In fact, he was my next door neighbor! I can’t tell you the expression on his face but it went dead silent like a deep freeze just swooshed in from the North Pole. He acted as if he’d just been caught by his mother selling narcotics to homeless orphans. In about five minutes, we got back in that ’61 clunker and drove off. I didn’t see much of Fernando after that.

My memories of that episode left a deep scarred image of sales people for a long time. From that point on, I thought of sales as a slimy, corrupt evil that no decent person would ever stoop so low for. To be an outhouse cleaner would be more respectable.

Then, I became an entrepreneur
It comes to you pretty quickly when you realize that you’ve got to sell something in order to keep your business alive. The question was, how do you do it without feeling as if it’s utterly gooey to go home every day and rinse off that stinky slim with a hot shower. But if you’ve followed everything so far in our Urban FIRE process, you should be saving on your hot water bill. Sales should always be enjoyable and profitable! It must be about helping your clients find their solution. As the great sales trainer, Tom Hopkins, once said, “Sales makes the world go round.”

And here’s a reality check: we’re selling all the time – maybe, just calling it something else. It’s been that way for most of our lives. Think about it. When you wanted something or you wanted a situation to go your way, didn’t you have to persuade someone or a group to agree with you – even if all you had to do was persuade yourself?  How about when you were in high school and you were infatuated with someone? If you wanted that person to notice you, didn’t you have to make a memorable impression? Or when you were trying to get your baby to eat, weren’t you doing a sales job on those carrots? How about when you needed to get that promotion at work or convince your mother that the new boyfriend wasn’t a drugged-out gangsta just because he sported a skull and bones tattoo on his forehead?

Selling is natural if it’s a business you love because it’s an integrated part of your life. Loving something means you’re passionate about it and you want to tell the whole world about your love! But when we refer to our expression for love in the context of “sales,”  it gets disassociated from our Top Ten List. Instead, we correlate sales to facing constant rejection. And ouch! Rejection is something we try to avoid because its other name is “failure.”
In the case for your new company, sales needs to be a planned activity based on your Marketing Strategy. It needs to be constant and prioritized meaning that in most cases, the bulk of your initial work will be in marketing and sales. If you do it right, you’ll spend less time hunting for sales and more time filling orders. That’s because you’ll have a cadre of happy customers who will be helping to spread the word about the goodness of your company. At this point, you’re improving your product, your marketing and your delivery to your customers because now, you’ve got a fantastic reputation to uphold!
Sales needs to be measured (like how much money did I bring in this week in comparison to my costs?) so that you’re giving yourself constant feedback on what works and what doesn’t – one of the five principles of deliberate practice. It must be proactive not reactive, and represent your principles and high qualities whether you stand face-to-face with your client or the way it resonates on your website.

Simple and Personal Goes A Long Way
Back in about 1990, I was in Las Vegas for a technology convention when I first heard Tom Hopkins speak about his passion for the sales profession. In fact, he was so passionate that he had a 20-volume video course available at the incredibly low price of $1999 or something like that. But wait! There was more! Since I bought the set that day, I was entitled to an autographed copy of his newest book and nine additional books at no extra charge! I was so loaded down with sales materials that I decided to ship it all back home rather than lug 20 pounds of extra luggage. But having gone through the materials, I realized that what Hopkins had to say could have taken one sentence: “Sales needs to be a simple, personal relationship with you focusing your attention on meeting your customer’s needs.”  Of course, there’s a bit more than that but that pretty much covers the essence. If you’ll recall the research conducted by Forester Research in the Marketing section on successful business websites, the conclusion was the same.

This situation reminded me of the opening paragraph of the famous psychology book entitled “The Road Less Traveled,” by M. Scott Peck. It begins with three words: “Life is difficult.”  He goes on to write, “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Wow! Isn’t that an enlightening revelation! For entrepreneurs, it should be up there with the Platinum Rule. This is one of those memorable quotes that should be plastered on your refrigerator door maybe paraphrase like: “Life is difficult . . . and what else is new?” The rest of Peck’s book draws evidence to this opening statement. But as one of my friends said, “Once you’ve read that opening paragraph, that’s pretty much it.” In the same way, it might be a good thing to get sales training to learn some fundamentals like me going through the Hopkins videos but, if you’re your own boss, your best time spent is just getting out there and focusing on your potential customer’s needs and desires. The more you do this, the easier it gets to do two things: 1. coming up with solutions that are compatible with your customer’s requirements and 2. narrowing your customer profile to fit into your niche. 
If you’ve gained the courage through our Urban FIRE I progressive process of 1.  being true to who you are, 2. resolve to build your library of knowledge, 3. absorbed greater wisdom from those around you and 4. set up your marketing plan, this Sales section should flow like water over smooth granite.

The Formal Method
I’ll be honest with you: my way of selling wasn’t based on any sales theories or research. It was based on watching and listening to great sales professionals. Contrary to what one might conjure up, such as a shifty-eyed shark, what I discovered was that great sales people were compassionate listeners who were neither boastful or obnoxious. They didn’t necessarily have the “gift of gab” as we tend to stereotype sales people. They spoke extremely well – not because they were born with verbal brilliance but because they loved what they were selling, practiced their sales delivery and believed in what they were saying.
You might recall some of those individuals we spoke of in the Leadership section. Wouldn’t being in the presence of any of those individuals have made a rewarding experience where you felt there was honesty, value and sincerity? Well, some of the best sales people were also great leaders because they understood that fulfilling a need required an understanding of the problem, then working with their clients to come up with the solution. They always worked to “understand before being understood” and created a “win-win” partnership where everyone finished with a smile. It was the 7 Habits in real life.
So that I’m not remised in providing the formal sales process, here’s my take on how you would organize your thoughts and actions in an organized manner to fortify your sales effort. In sales, there are two things you have to focus on: strategy and tactics (assuming your marketing and company strategies are in place).

Your Sales Strategy is the planning of your sales activities. Picture yourself as the manager of a baseball team. Will your strategy be to score runs with sluggers who can wallop those homeruns or scrappy, speedy hitters who can outrun a groundball for a base hit. Will you try to score more runs than the other team or will you rely on a dominant pitching staff that gives up few runs. Will your final score be 10-6 or 2-1? It’s the difference in strategizing with the glitzy Broadway budget of the New York Yankees or the frugal Broadway (yes, our Broadway) of the Oakland Athletics. Your Sales Strategy takes into account your budget, your resources and plans out how to maximize what you have! How will you reach out to your clients; how will you distinguish your company from the competition; what resources are available to you to win business? How will you implement your guerrilla marketing strategies into your sales campaigns? Most importantly, your Sales Strategy complements the culture you’ve established both internally and externally of your company’s way of doing business.

Your Sales Tactics refers to the day-to-day methods you use to carry out your Sales Strategy. As in baseball, your sales tactics refers to carrying out your game plan. You’ve changed the culture of your players by motivating them to play as a cohesive team rather than relying on one or two superstars. Your team can’t afford the homerun hitters so you’ve opted for the less glamorous, scrappy hitters who’ll bunt, hit for the sacrifice fly, steal bases and produce runs based on forcing the opposing team to handle the ball more, thus, increasing the odds of making mistakes. Your pitching staff has been trained to keep the ball down low so that the power hitters won’t be able to hit homers. This makes you competitive because your creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to utilize what you have makes up for the lack of high priced superstars. Thus, your sales tactics is the scrappy methods by which you’ll carry out your sales strategy. This would include your particular sales process, how you prospect for new clients, and how you stay in contact with existing clients. There’s plenty where the main ingredients are your brains, imagination and your hustle.

Far Above the Maddening Crowd
By establishing a Sales Strategy, you will be way ahead of what most new small businesses do to organize their income potential. You begin to rise into the atmosphere of established small businesses with their own marketing and sales departments. Their advantage, of course, is they have the budgets to retain fulltime employees to focus on and carry out their sales strategy. Your advantage is that it’s your company and you can do just about whatever you want. The sky’s the limit and your imagination is endless. As Albert Einstein once quipped, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The critical factor is to organize your efforts and establish a Plan of Action that you implement into your company’s short list of daily Must-Do Activities.

It’s worth repeating: your Sales Strategy should focus on two objectives: your customers’ needs and the solutions you’ve come up with for your customers. To start with, follow this three step process:
  1. Meet with your clients and potential clients regularly (phone, email, person-to-person) and ask them about their needs and concerns. Tell them your company engages the clients in building solutions (because the more your client gets empowered, the more they will feel connected to you as a partner, not as a vendor.) Lastly, ask them what their final expectations would look like. Then, with that expectation in mind, exceed it.
  2. Work with your vendors and other external experts to help you devise solutions built for your clients. Just make sure you’re representing your client’s concerns and ideas so that externals experts are not running away with their own profitable solutions.  
  3. Get better educated about your clients’ industries through their associations and contact their managers to increase your knowledge. It may end up including solutions that already exist.

In the most ideal situation, the sales strategy takes on a synergistic relationship of all three areas and you’re able to provide the best solutions for your clients. This is important so let me repeat that: your best sales solution comes from your understanding of: the client, the solutions available to you and the factors of your client’s industry.

This is one of the best el cheapo Sales Strategies you’re going to find but it’s also one that you should follow even as your business gets well established. Make it into a system where you’ve written out a planned procedure for each time you meet with a new potential client. If you conclude that the client meets your target market and it’s worth your effort to pursue a relationship, then be proactive and use your system! And by documenting your procedure, you’re also laying the groundwork for expanding your business so that others can work within your system.

But remember that you must key in on your target market and the profile of your ideal customer. None of this will matter if you go after every Tom, Dick and Harry without first qualifying them to what your niche market is. And of course, the best way to do this is by focusing all your attention on each individual client who comes along and asking them questions about their business and what they’re looking for in a business relationship. Is it speedy deliveries, cheap prices, expertise in a particular area or consulting services? You can then gauge whether your business is set up to accommodate their needs.

Later, as you mature, you’ll want to cut ties with your bad clients and focus on clients who have been loyal, easy to work with and fit your niche profile. A bad client might mean a business that doesn’t fit your niche, one that requires more time than the monetary gains, and/or one that is always trying to get their prices reduced. By trimming your unprofitable clients, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your relationships with your good clients and increase your revenues. This will also narrow your client demographics through the knowledge you’ve gained in fine-tuning your niche market. You’ve now established a better profile for future clients and further focused your marketing; thus, putting your money where it will do the most good.

The Best Surefire Strategy for Getting New Clients
"I built my original real estate sales business from nothing to being a 98% referral business within three years by keeping in touch with my clients.” – Tom Hopkins

Without a doubt, referrals are your number one source of business or at least, it should be because it requires the least amount of guess work and has the highest rate of success. In surveys I’ve seen, referrals work out to a 60 percent success rate (that’s business from six out of ten referrals!) while cold calling is less than 10 percent plus you have to deal with your share of nasty rejections. When you think about it, referrals are the least expensive sales tactic because it requires less advertising, time spent looking for prospects and shortens the sales cycle (the time it takes when you first start working with a client to when the sales transaction is made).

Here again, you must establish a system that becomes automatic and second nature to you and your staff. Of course, referrals depend on your ability to satisfy your customer’s needs and even going beyond their expectations. And however successful your solutions are, the vast majority of people do business with you because you and the client connected on a personal level, and trust was established. So that your best referrals will come from those who have a real affection for you as an individual who happens to deliver the best solutions for their business. Always keep that in mind: constant improvements of your solutions and a constant nurturing of your relationship. If you get too comfy with the relationship and neglect it thinking they’ll automatically come back to you each time, you might find yourself as the odd person out because someone else will fill the void. Gee, sounds like a marriage, doesn’t it?

Let’s face it: your first clients will most likely be people you already know; maybe family members, close friends, former business associates and clients you’ve worked with in the past. So your first set of referrals will be from those who know you personally and can vouch for your honesty, your concern for the work, your passion and the ease of doing business with you. (Also, think in terms of building your network with your classmates, the participants from your Strategy Session and businesses you meet at the Ignite Expo.)
Once you’ve established your reputation with a few clients, then go back and ask for referrals, not after one transaction but perhaps after three or four and a couple of months. Then get in the habit of asking for referrals from all your clients. The worst they can do is say, “no.” But I doubt that because if you perform and they keep coming back, that says a lot about what they think about you. Now, it’s a matter of getting your client to verbalize that on your behalf. I can’t remember once when someone refused to write me a referral or introduce me to another client when I asked for it. And always remember to thank them for the referral. Perhaps a thank-you card, a phone call or a small gift to show your appreciation. (We all want to be acknowledged and it encourages more referrals in the future!) And why not expose yourself to an even greater extent by participating in LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites as we discussed in Marketing.
It’s Got to Be a System So that It’ll Grow Organically
So establish that Referral System and use it regularly! Establish a tickler file that sets up benchmarks for when you’ll be asking for a referral: how you’ll compensate for referrals and at what intervals you’ll be asking for more referrals. As you can imagine, after a while, the Referral System becomes self perpetuating as your clients become a part of the system. Invariably, they automatically begin referring clients to you as if its’ bragging rights. When it becomes a part of your no-brainer sales system, you will control one of the greatest income generators for your company!

Here are some methods of formulating a winning Referral System, all of which deal with working closely with your existing clients:
  • Provide clear demographics of the type of clients you’re looking for. Remember: in their well meaning, your clients may refer your worst nightmares because you didn’t provide a good profile.
  • Provide that unexpected great service to your clients and they will always return the favor.
  • Provide a rewards program such as a discount on their service, a gift, a lunch out.
  • Always follow up any referrals with a thank you letter, card or a phone call to let them you appreciate the effort they’ve made on your behalf.
  • Select clients as referral agents only if they’ll rave about you starting with your Top Ten.
  • Asking for referrals too early in your relationship could actually harm your relationship because your client may feel that you’re trying to take advantage of them. That’s a turn-off.
  • Always established a goal for your Referral System: how many in a month; quarterly, annually.

If you’ve completed a cost analysis on your Referral System, you’ll note that it’s cost you very little money. How cool is that! Remember, it’s not how much money you throw at it, it’s how you plan and execute your Sales Strategy and implement your Sales Tactics.

You Might Not Remember The Alamo But Never Forget The Platinum Rule
I can’t stress that in business, it’s all about people and gaining their trust. Whether it’s part of your Referral System, your Sales Strategy or your Sales Tactics, you must go into your relationships with clients using the Platinum Rule. “And what is the Platinum Rule?” you ask. Well, we’ve all heard of the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” It is one of the oldest rules from which our Constitution is based as well as the concepts behind international human rights.

In sales and business relations, the Platinum Rule goes one step further: “Treat others as they want to be treated.” This doesn’t mean kiss their butts and act like a wimpy “yes” man. It means respect your clients and provide them with what they need. It says “let me first understand what my client wants and then I’ll do the best I can in order to give it to them.” The results will be rewarding.

In the book, “Groundswell,” the authors speak about the trends business people need to be aware of when dealing with the new technology of marketing. Yet, much of what they speak of sounds a great deal like the Platinum Rule although they call it a three-stage process for gaining your customer’s trust. The stages include: listening, talking with your clients and energizing them. Energizing is getting your clients enthused enough to refer business your way. So, the more things change, the more they . . .

The guy who came up with the Platinum Rule is Tony Allesandra, PhD in Marketing and a well known sales and marketing consultant. You might say the Platinum Rule has the elements of the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” in it. But in this case, it has everything to do with establishing a strong, loyal, interactive client base. As we experienced the Medicine Wheel in dealing with people we work with, Dr. Allesandra studied clients in a similar manner and gave them different names. You’ll note; however, that the characteristics sound a bit identical!

Dr. Allesandra’s concepts of the Platinum Rule came about over a 30-year period of research and analysis, but the main idea of the Platinum Rule is understanding others and helping you to understand the best ways to work with them. He categorizes four different personality types: Director, Socializer, Relator, and Thinker. The following is an excerpt from his work.

Directors are driven by two governing needs: to control and achieve. Directors are goal-oriented go-getters who are most comfortable when they are in charge of people and situations. They want to accomplish many things now so they focus on no-nonsense approaches to bottom-line results. Directors seek expedience and are not afraid to bend the rules. They figure it is easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Directors accept challenges, take authority and plunge head first into solving problems. They are fast-paced, task-oriented and work quickly and impressively by themselves which means they become annoyed with delays. Directors are driven and dominating which can make them stubborn, impatient and insensitive to others. Directors are so focused that they forget to take the time to smell the roses.

Socializers are friendly, enthusiastic, “party animals” who like to be where the action is. They thrive on the admiration, acknowledgement and complements that come with being in the lime light. The Socializer’s primary strengths are enthusiasm, charm, persuasiveness and warmth. They are idea people and dreamers who excel at getting others excited about their vision. They are eternal optimists with an abundance of charisma. These qualities help them influence people and build alliances to accomplish their goals. Socializers do have their weaknesses: impatience, an aversion to being alone and a short attention span. Socializers are risk takers who base many of their decisions on intuition which is not inherently bad. Socializers are not inclined to verify information. They are more likely to assume someone else will do it.

Thinkers are analytical, persistent, systematic people who enjoy problem-solving. Thinkers are detail-oriented, which makes them more concerned with content than style. Thinkers are task-oriented people who enjoy perfecting processes and working toward tangible results. They’re always in control of their emotions and may become uncomfortable around people who are very outgoing such as Socializers. Thinkers have high expectations of themselves and others which can make them over-critical. Their tendency towards perfectionism-taken to an extreme can cause “paralysis by over-analysis.” Thinkers are slow and deliberate decision-makers. They do research, make comparisons, determine risks, calculate margins of error and then take action. Thinkers become irritated by surprises and glitches, hence their cautious decision-making. Thinkers are also skeptical, so they like to see promises in writing.

Relaters are warm and nurturing individuals. They are the most people-oriented of the four styles. Relaters are excellent listeners, devoted friends and loyal employees. Their relaxed disposition makes them approachable and warm. They develop strong networks of people who are willing to be mutually supportive and reliable.  Relaters are excellent team players. Relaters are risk-aversive. In fact, Relaters may tolerate unpleasant environments rather than risk change. They like the status quo and become distressed when disruptions are severe. When faced with change, they think it through, plan, and accept it into their world. Relaters more than the other types strive to maintain personal composure, stability and balance. In the office, Relaters are courteous, friendly, and willing to share responsibilities. They are good planners, persistent workers and good with follow through. Relaters go along with others even when they do not agree because they do not want to rock the boat.
Relating to the Four Types in Business
Directors are very time sensitive so never waste their time. Be organized and get to the point. Give them bottom line information and options with probabilities of success if relevant. Give them written details to read at their leisure. Directors are goal-oriented so appeal to their sense of accomplishment. Stroke their egos by supporting their ideas and acknowledge their power and prestige. Let Directors call the shots. If you disagree, argue with facts and feelings. In groups allow them to have their say because they are not the type who will take a back seat to others. With Directors in general, be efficient and competent.

Socializers thrive on personal recognition so pour it on sincerely. Support their ideas, goals, opinions and dreams. Try not to argue with their pie-in-the-sky visions; show a little enthusiasm and encourage their creativity. Socializers are social butterflies so be ready to flutter around with them. A strong presence, stimulating and entertaining conversation, jokes and liveliness will win them over. They are people-oriented, so give them time to socialize. Avoid rushing into tasks. With Socializers be interested in them.

Relaters are slow decision-makers for several reasons: 1. their need for security; 2. their need to avoid risk and 3. their desire to include others in the decision-making process. Relaters are relationship-oriented, want warm and fuzzy relationships, so take things slow, earn their trust, support their feelings and show sincere interest. Talk in terms of feelings not facts which is the opposite of the strategy for Thinkers. Relaters don’t want to ruffle feathers. They want to be assured that everyone will approve of them and their decisions. Give them time to solicit co-workers opinions. Never back a Relater into a corner. It is far more effective to apply warmth to get their chicken out of its egg than to crack the shell with a hammer. With Relaters, be non-threatening and sincere.

Thinkers are time-disciplined, so be sensitive to their time. They need details, so give them data. Support Thinkers in their organized, thoughtful approach to problem-solving. Be systematic, logical, well-prepared and exact with them. Give them time to make decisions and work independently. Allow them to talk in detail. In work groups, do not expect Thinkers to be leaders or outspoken contributors, but do rely on them to conduct research, crunch numbers and perform detailed foot work for the group. If appropriate, set guidelines and exact deadlines. Thinkers like to be complimented on their brain power, so recognize their contributions accordingly. With Thinkers, be thorough, well prepared, detail oriented and business like.

The Bottom Line in Understanding Personalities In Relation to the Platinum Rule
Understanding people is a vital – if not the most vital – component of your business success. Given that we are all different, our clients will react in different ways to how we approach the relationship. By understanding these four personality types, it gives us a better way to serve our clients and build a long term relationship. There is no value and even a negative turn of events when you try to build a relationship solely on your set of standards, values and comfort level. As Dr. Allessandra concludes: “The Platinum rule provides powerful life skills that will serve you well in all your relationships: business, friends, family, spouse and children. Improved relationships create infinite possibilities. Sometimes I think of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” One of the verses could be: “Imagine there’s no conflict, it’s easy if you try.”

What About You? Are You Ready to Sell?
There’s nothing that says you have to be an extrovert to excel at sales. The key ingredients are your passion for what you’re selling, and your ability to hear your client’s needs. Having been around hundreds of sales people I can clue you in to what I’ve observed as the best characteristics for an effective, compassionate sales person.
  1. Integrity is a critical factor, perhaps the most important one for sales, because your business must build itself on clients who are committed to you in the long term. When a client is happy about a sale, you’ve established a trust factor that only comes from the integrity you’ve shown during the sales cycle. And this trust will continue to bring that client back to you.

  1. Commitment to your company’s sales strategy and tactics. This requires patience and the ability to multi-task several clients at the same time. It is your commitment to take action and initiate new prospects and build your referral system. Sometimes a sale may take months to complete and it is your commitment to see that process to its conclusion is critical which will gain integrity to your company’s overall image.

  1. Passion you have for what you do and the product/service you’re selling. You can’t fake passion and your customers will get it right away. You’ll make it easier on your clients to select your business when your passion comes out. This doesn’t mean ranting and raving but it does mean showing your expertise, thoroughness and commitment to your business. That’s what clients what from their vendors – standing 100 percent behind their product/service!

  1. Creativity means bringing solutions to your clients that shows insight and a unique vision to your work. Anyone can leave behind business cards and a few trinkets! Think differently and make your company standout. It does take more work in the beginning but what you’re actually doing is creating a sales system that can be repeated and constantly improved upon. The more you practice your creativity, the better you’ll get.

  1. Tenacity to stay the course, having the courage to go on even after a series of failed sales attempts because you believe in what you’re doing even if not exactly right yet. Failed attempts means you either have a confusing message or your clients don’t need what you have. These insights should help you right the wrong and move forward. Tenacity in sales is essential because in the majority of sales cycle, the customer needs to be convinced that you are the right solution.

  1. System-oriented so that there is a logical and planned method to how you conduct your sales strategy and tactics. This requires you to set up a system that provides a guide for you to follow:
    • Establishing a method of searching for clients
    • The process of understanding your client’s needs
    • Research methods for both the client and the solutions
    • Establishing presentations that are relevant and on point
    • Assuring your company is in control of the sales process
    • A process that goes through the process and asks for the sale
    • Follow-up process to assure the client’s satisfaction

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