We all are salesmen. How? Well, we all sell something everyday for our own livelihood. A teacher sells his/her intellectual ideas to his students. A doctor sells his prescription to his patients. A lawyer sells his legal tactics in the court of law to defend his clients. A politician delivers his speech to public to get votes for his victory! So our question is, “Who can avoid selling?” Well, the answer you get is already pointed out at the very outset of my writing. Everybody sells. We all sell. That’s why Robert Stevenson said, “Anyone who sells a product, service or an idea is a ‘Salesman'”. Moreover, Thomas J. Watson, the Chairman and CEO of IBM very nicely said, “Life itself is a matter of salesmanship”. There are so many techniques and tactics to become an excellent salesman. Today we’re discussing 5 most effective things to consider for an excellent salesmanship:
(1) Love with all time positive attitude:
Many people in sales might get startled to see this heading as one of the 5 suggested course of actions for an excellent salesmanship. But I based on my experience find it number one useful thing for the growth of sales. This love is the ‘love’ for the job of salesmanship. We’ve to believe truly and passionately inside our mind that we can sell. We’ve to believe in our job as a salesman. We’ve to love the company, the product, the service or the idea we’re planning to sell. We’ve to love sales as profession. That’s how Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet succeeded in their beautiful life. We’ve to love people we come in contact with. Even if any of our prospect or customer says, ‘NO’, we’ve to consider this ‘No’ as ‘Next Option’ or as ‘Next Opportunity’. We should always have love for our profession, products, people and process. This will make us feel happy and steady for our success. Single happiness brings more happiness in life. If we want to be successful we’ve to remain happy mentally. This spirit of happiness comes out of love for everything. There is a saying, “Only happiness is the key to success”. And happiness comes out of love for everything and everybody!
When we’re in a state of joy and happiness, we can have all time positive attitude in our mind and ultimately in our body language. Once we’ve unwavering faith in our mind and action, our body behaves scientifically for everything positive. We come in contact with people, resources, connections, materials and everything we need to reach the target of our sales. Our attitude decides our altitude. We’re positive thus the whole world around us is positive. It’s our attitude that gradually creates our perception about our target and vision. Feeling the happiness after the successful sales right now irrespective of quantity or volume brings more inspiration and motivation in our behavior. Positive attitude with passionate love for profession, product, people and process is the only key to make things happen in the beautiful life of a salesman! Love sparks our mind, body and soul for happiness and success in life.
(2) Effective planning with effective time management:
Once we love our profession, product, people and process, we must make an effective planning. For an excellent salesman it starts with ‘target’. Statistically, if a salesman plans to visit 150 prospects, he/she can speak to 50 decision makers. If he tries to see them face to face, he can make 12 appointments. Out of 12 appointments, he can meet 10 persons for presentation about the products or services he sells. Under the circumstances an average salesman can close 2 sales. A good salesman can close 3 to 4 sales. Finally, an excellent salesman can sell 5 to 6 sales. Interestingly, this statistic is based on information available in the developed countries. Now imagine how more creatively and effectively we should plan our sales target considering strike, labor unrest and other challenges we have in Bangladesh as a developing country! Therefore, we should always make a SMART(S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Achievable, R=Relevant, T=Time bound) Plan. We must begin with the end in mind. The more we think of the end, the more we feel energetic about our sales target.
‘We must go to sleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose.’ It means that every salesman must plan well in advance to reach his target. In order to do that every salesman must have a daily ‘to-do list’ for the next seven days in advance. It helps a salesman a lot to manage his time more effectively and productively. An excellent salesman must understand two Ps-Pulse and Priority. He should understand the pulse of his prospect or customer and accordingly he should prioritize his next plan of action. Effective time management is seriously an issue for him. We should remember that we’ve 86,400 seconds daily to use it productively. We must plan our actions in writing. We must maintain a diary or any gadget such as MS-Excel, Out look or notepad in our mobile or i-pod to keep track of our planning and action. We should evaluate our planning monthly to see the progress and the failures. This periodic and strategic evaluation gives us much better sense of direction for the next time approach to the market intervention. So we paint our target with all different colors of our dream for our mental and physical preparation to keep us always alert for sales.
(3) Effective Communication Skills:
At this stage we’re ready to be in touch with our target group keeping the sales target in our mind. How would you do that, especially-effectively? The answer is-‘By dint of effective communication skills.’ Effective communication is the communication which works or brings results according to pre-defined objective or target. As a matter of fact, result-oriented communication is called ‘effective communication’. Effective communication needs two most important things- number one understanding about the essentials of communication process such as the responsibilities of a sender and a receiver etc. because sharing takes place mainly between two parties; and number two-the proficiency of the language we will be using for communication. The effectiveness of our communication skill depends on how proficiently we use our language, how correctly we choose communication channels and finally how we maintain proper feedback. Certainly, our use of emotion as a human being with ourselves and with the people we communicate plays a very important role to make our communication effective. There is no term such as ‘perfect’ in terms of measuring the success rate of communication skills. Experts believe that only a benchmark such as ‘Excellence’ can be used to measure the outcome of each communication we make. In order to maximize the success rate of our communication effort we’ve to consciously avoid the barriers to effective communication such as bad mood, inactive listening, failure to understand other’s need, failure to explore alternatives, failure to maintain feedback such as not asking the right person the right question at the right time, not summarizing a conversation or a meeting at the end, not reconfirming the information about any action plan etc.
We must take care of our body language along with our appearance. When we look good, we feel good and the people looking at us feel good and great. We should maintain proper eye-contact, hand shake and greetings when we meet our prospect or customer. Natural and regular SMILE (See MiraclesIn Life Everyday!) on our face is the key to build rapport with customers. We must always exchange business cards with the prospect we come in contact. If the prospect doesn’t have any business card at the time of contact, we must keep record of his details such as cell number, address and e-mail ID etc. Showing proper manner and etiquette to customers creates positive image and paves the way to build rapport with them. Saying ‘thank you’ and wishing them on their special occasions such as birthday, marriage day etc. or congratulating on their achievement and success makes them feel special and it comes back for sales growth. We can take note of these small issues at the time our interactions from time to time with them to make things happen greatly later on! Communication in sales becomes effective when some common elements become emotionally touched such as helping a customer with any information, showing sympathy and empathy for his timely need and so on. We also should incorporate the cultural, religious and societal aspect in this regard.
4. Persistence with visualization:
Sales career is a business of rejection. Losing a customer or a big sale can be downright depressing. But, even in the worst of times, success is often right around the corner. Rather than give up, the top-performing salespeople concentrate on all the reasons they can succeed. And they find a way to win.Statistically it proves that 80% of the sales are made after the 5th call and that 80% of the people quit before the 5th call. It means if we quit just after the 4th call, we create the smooth ground for our competitors! Do we want our prospect to be a customer of our competitors or we want to extend our list of customers?
This is the stage where we should focus on our target. We should remain persistent in our continuous efforts to convince our prospects or customers. A very powerful tool is visualization. It means we create a movie in our mind through our imagination where we see things happening positively and pro-actively for an effective sale. We keep playing the movie in the screen of our mind on and on to internalize the whole process effectively and positively. We must always feel like ‘we go, see and win the deal.’ We can also feel the pleasure in advance about the positive outcome of our sales. This continuous visualization gives us advanced level of confidence and strength to face the reality of the whole process. We’ve to control our thought very carefully. It starts with our words of mouth. Our words influence our thought process. Our thought process controls our action. Our action leads our character. And finally our character either takes us to the next level of our success or failure. We must believe in our words, thoughts and actions. This combined force can only help us to reach our sales target. We’ve to be persistent in our belief by saying to ourselves, “Yes, Yes, Yes… We can, We can and We can”. So regular visualization of the outcome of our action can get us settled psychologically and help us commercially a lot in the long run!
5. Customer in Focus (Follow One Course till Success):
Which one is more difficult-getting a new customer or retaining an old customer? We’ve a proof that it costs 6 to 10 times more to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one! 20% of customers represent 80% of business. It means that the 20% is considered to be the strategic partner of business. If we fail to take care of our existing customers, our competitors will take care of them. Consequently, we’ll lose business and our competitors will have growth in business. It means unless we focus on our customer care before or after the sales, sooner or later we struggle with our existence of our business in the market. We’ve to understand their need and want to materialize our business. Quality service must be considered to be a responsibility with liability. We must remember that people buy value for money. More often people buy from the heart rather than the head.
Thus, a successful sale is always a by-product of a fast track rapport with customers! We must know our customers in such a manner so that they become one of our family members! The more we know about our customers the more opportunity we have to convert the relationship in to business. We can easily use KYC(Know Your Customer!) as a tool with as many information as possible such as a customer’s likings and dislikings about food, dress, life style, brand and so on, location, education (if applicable!), date of birth including his family members, marriage anniversary, blood group, his doctors and what not!”
A sale is a pro-active process where transformation of enthusiasm takes place from the seller to the buyer. Building a rapport for a long lasting relationship is the most important aspect of an effective sales process. Once we create the chain and equation of emotional relationship, other aspects of sales fall in to place. From there we just have to nurture the relationship. This relationship becomes advocateship through which we can get more prospects, customers and clients from our existing customers with the passage of time for our business growth.
Selling is an art. “The music of the soul is the music of salesmanship” said Herbert Mercuse, a German Philosopher. Thus, a salesman is an artist. Hardly any prescribed course of action can be effective for him or her unless he has his own mindset to take the ownership of his target. A salesman is a businessman, because when he moves from one company to another or moves his selling from one product to another he moves with his fleet of customers or clients. In conjunction with these 5 most important things discussed above a salesman can have his excellence if he takes proper care of other essential traits of an excellent salesman such as updated knowledge about the products, his own company and other competitors in the market, market trends and forecast, effective negotiation skills, creative problem solving skills, leadership in sales team work and so on. Burning desire to succeed in sales career can open up many other creative options for an excellent salesmanship.