By Tim Rooney
Over the last 10 years, I have trained and coached many hundreds of sales people – here are some of the surprising things I’ve learned:
1. We all sell but ...!
Its clichéd to say "We all sell " - that having been said - most people are absolutely uncomfortable in their “selling role”.
2. Head Trash
Selling technique[s] & processes are critical for success in sales but often they are a waste of time.
You first need to "get your mind right" and rid yourself of the “head trash” that “selling is a dirty word”. Sales people need to see themselves not as inferior or superior to their prospects. They need to strive to have "Equal Business Stature" or as I like to say - "Have stance not arrogance".
3. Poor sales are most often not a lack of sales ability so much as lack of differentiation
This is one the most challenging problems in today's highly competitive markets. In most cases, it's virtually impossible to have a truly unique point of differentiation. That s why I like the two "differentiators" offered by these two companies - Avis and SAS. Avis 's long time slogan "We maybe # 2 - but we try harder" is brilliant in its simplicity. In the case of Scandinavian Airlines, when SAS was at the height of its success - it's former CEO Jan Carlson, was asked - what differentiates SAS ? ...& he said; "We don't aim to be 1000% better at any one thing - but 1% better at a1000 little things".
Research shows that customers want the following things from a service provider:
- Ease of doing business - Expertise - Speed & - Intimacy
Most companies have at least one these four requirements - few can say they deliver on all four.
4. You’re never too old or too young for success in sales
• When I was running a start up building products company, the best sales person, by a long way and consistently over a five year period was in his late 50's when I hired him.
• Your success in acquiring new skills is more dependent on having a little intellectual humility and being open to change.
• We also need to recognize we all have "blind spots" and sometimes despite lots of experience "we don't know what we don't know".
5. Poor management and leadership are often the biggest problem for poor sales - not the sales people
Symptomatic of failings in this area include the following:
• Poor hiring practices, a failure to build a sales culture, a lack of investment in both time and money developing their sales people and no systematic and fair way to hold their sales people accountable.
• If your basic business model is flawed - don't blame the sales people. Warren Buffett said - if he had to choose between a weak CEO and a great company - rather than the other way around - he would pick the weak CEO.
Stay Tuned for Part Two Next Week!