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Sales is a fantastic vehicle for personal development. It involves confronting your fears, stretching your comfort zone, and expanding your thinking. It takes courage to do things you find uncomfortable. Learning to sell requires courage!
Courage is also known as bravery. It is the ability to face fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It is called ‘physical courage’ while facing physical challenges such as pain and hardship and ‘moral courage’ while enduring shame and discouragement.
Selling is a life skill, in my opinion. I say that because in order to get good at selling you need to work on more than just sales techniques. Selling is a people business and that means you need to learn more about people. Things such as psychology, how to develop relationships and trust, how to present yourself, how to persuade on a win-win basis. Some people have a lot of these skills when they start out in sales. We tend to think of these as born sales people. Other people like myself have to work on these skills when they get into sales.
‘Where is your credibility?’ is one of the core questions I ask when I am helping people to generate more referrals from networking. If you do not have enough credibility then you are unlikely to get people giving you good quality referrals even if they know like and trust you.
The most important decision you will ever make in sales is deciding to become a student and learn the craft.
When I was a trainee accountant I would show up at the classes because it was part of my job. I hoped one day to be a qualified accountant but I was just going through the motions. I was not taking my learning seriously and the consequence was that I was likely to end up like many part qualified accountants who get so far in their career and then get stuck in tedious jobs with mediocre salaries.
I have just finished a coaching call with a sales manager who had implemented a simple technique I had learnt from a top door-to-door salesman. The sales manager used the technique to increase the number of cold calls made by a couple of his team members. He said that by using this technique they doubled the number of calls made and both people felt great in the process. Previously they had found cold calling a bit of a chore to put it mildly!
There are some people who try and get all their learning for free. They listen to free podcasts, they sign up to any free reports going and come along to free talks or workshops. I have come across some people who have spent £100 travelling to a free seminar but would not pay £100 for a seminar on their doorstep!
Wanting to expand knowledge and understanding is an admirable quality. A mark of top sales professionals is that they never stop looking for new insights to make selling easier and more productive. That is why most of the sales books are purchased by sales people who are already successful.
This is at direct odds with people I regularly meet who are very clever people who have read a few books and think that they know it all!
Everything comes with a price tag. The best things in life may be for free but even they come with a price attached. Although money may not be involved, there is still a price. For example, you may need to give something up or do something that you are reluctant to do.
I have not yet come across a successful business where the owner has been resistant to sales. You do not have to enjoy sales but one way or another every business needs a sales pipeline. The more we resist sales, the more prospects will respect our wishes and stay away!
I was talking to a business owner recently who has been struggling with sales for quite a while. The struggle has been with herself which is bizarre as she has displayed to me on many occasions that she has the potential to be very good at sales. Yet it is clear that she has a general dislike for sales people. This dislike is holding her back just like it once held me back. It was only when I realised that not all sales people behaved like they were selling double glazing that I made significant progress!
How realistic are your goals? If you diligently follow the SMART formula for setting goals then your goals are just not big enough!! That is the conclusion that Accidental Salesman® interviewee David Hyner of Stretch Development came to after interviewing over 100 top achievers who are all creating amazing levels of success. In this recording I interview David on the 5 step model which he developed by boiling down all the wisdom generated from his research into an easy to follow process he calls ‘The Massive Goal Principle’.