But if we’re not careful, we can blow the sale and waste all that work before we’ve even had a chance to explain what we’re selling.
Focusing on “How”
When you start out in sales, you tend to think a lot about what you’re selling and not much about how you’re selling it. New salespeople memorize product literature and spend most of their time thinking that they’re going to blow their prospect away with how awesome the product is.
And their sales managers don’t step in to do anything about it. No one sits them down to say “Your prospect doesn’t know you from Adam and now they’ve got this person charging up to them shouting about sprockets and widgets.”
No one tells them they need to be thinking about how they answer the phone, how they follow up with prospects or how they follow through with their promises. So they completely ignore how they’re coming across to a potential client.
It’s one of the big reasons the sales profession has such high turnover – we have to figure how to sell mostly on our own and if you can’t do that quickly, it’s going to be hard to pay the bills.
For those of us who have been in the trenches for a while it’s also easy to become too comfortable. We forget these lessons and fall into un-productive patterns.
But no matter what the experience level, one thing remains the same – no matter how great your product is, people are not going to buy from you if they don’t like how you’re selling it.
Most of us need help
Trying to analyze how you’re selling or how you’re perceived by others is really hard to do from inside your own head. So if you want to get great or stay great, you have to have someone you can get feedback from.
If you’re in a competitive environment, you may not be comfortable asking a peer for help, but it might make more sense to hire a coach or get involved in a professional group where you can find the mentorship and honest feedback you need.
It may mean you need to be that coach for the salespeople working for you. Whether they listen or not is another issue, but you’d be a poor leader if you didn’t occasionally have everyone take a step back and figure out not only what they’re doing, but how they’re doing it.