A salesman and a professional sportsperson have many things in common. Keeping all the clichéd sports’ metaphors aside, both the player and the salesman thrive on performance, face tremendous competition for quality execution and every game is a pressure situation too big a hurdle that has to be crossed to achieve further glory.
But being a sales person, I can’t help but think that a salesman can triumph any top player in terms of attitude. I have to make sure that I give a six on every ball delivered by inbound marketing to generate more leads, thus, higher ROI. To prove this, take an example of cricket world cup that happens every 4 years and not every month. But in sales, every month is a world cup and last month’s glory is wiped from history in a matter of a day and from 1st of every month you start from zero.
Here are some of my qualities or my tips that I have adopted to get good results:
Expect the best and prepare for the worst
A good sales man is an eternal optimist. While calling a customer or entering the conference room for a new meeting with client, one must always have this positive attitude that the meeting will end in big closure only as then you’ll bring out your best while convincing a client.
But at the same time, even best efforts sometimes do not provide the desired results as sales does not come with properly defined equations of loss and profit. There would be rejections, and even your best pitch to the client might go waste when deal falls apart. Always prepare for this scenario in advance – have a plan B, driving sales without leads, then follow it up with another 100 sub plans to overcome the worst possibilities.
Don’t keep all your mangoes in one basket
Sales is usually a race to finish against time, as results and targets have to be achieved in 30 days. A good salesman creates a deep funnel through the number of customers contacted and various products are pitched to them over a period of time for best results. Also, a proper coordination with marketing team, can help them to identify the right prospect and sell more.
A sales person should categorize his prospects:
A customer who acknowledges his requirement and agrees to pay.
A customer who understands that requirement is there for the solution but it’s not urgent enough to take action right away.
A customer who is in research phase where he is evaluating possibilities and other vendors.
Competition with other similar organizations like yours is also a hurdle, so it is always a good move to plan early because it is inevitable that some of your prospective customers will go to other vendors and may not deal with you.
Although there is no clear science out there, but I usually follow this ratio. Every 200 customers I pitch my solution to, 100 will be my prospects, 10 will say yes to buy, 5 will close within a month and this is how I maintain my funnel.
Sow and reap at the same time
I always say that what we close today is a result of the efforts done 90 days before. Every product’s sales cycle is different and it takes time to create prospects and then get sale from them.
But a salesperson should always religiously keep on building his network, keep on interacting with customers, keep reminding them that you are there in the market, ready for them.
The bigger your network, the more is the number of your possible buyers- maybe not today but in near future they will give you results.
Be creative and hard working
“Sales person is creative.” Contrary to the popular belief that being creative is a patent right of marketing guys and sales person are those stupid people who by default joined sales because they hadn’t had the intelligence to do anything else, is by far the most wrong assumption.
A sales guy must be smart to present the product as per the different demands of customers. For that, they must gather core knowledge about all the products they are selling. From the product knowledge itself, the creativity stems.
They must be creative enough to gain attention of the customer in a meeting. Pitching a solution to a customer is an art seldom appreciated, but it combines creativity, flattery, deep knowledge of solution, aggressiveness, flexibility to change the arguments, understanding what the customer wants – all merged into one single pitch and the successful outcome of the deal depends on how well you interplay these attributes.
Cultivate relationships by collaborating
“If Newton, the great scientist, had to give a 4th law and that too on sales, he would have probably said, “The amount of sales closure you can do is directly proportional to the relationship you can create with your buyers.” Creative, huh?
Do not ever underestimate the power of collaboration and networking. A sales community is homogenous in nature as countless organizations send their troops in the market every single day with a new marketing strategy, to beat this maddening competition and to reach out to the end customers. But eventually winning a deal is the byproduct of trust you can build with your customer.
Lastly, be resourceful with your collaboration, see opportunity everywhere, start prospecting customers everywhere, use whatever resources you have and make the best of it. Your mindset should be aggressive and targeted and you should “Always Be Closing”- my winning mantra 🙂
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Suchit Sharma, Business Development Manager, is the rainmaker at ZNetLive. An MBA in sales & marketing, he looks after corporate sales and develops business plans following extensive market research and analysis. He nurtures existing client accounts and devises best solutions for new customers. His favorite past time is playing badminton and reading books of Indian authors, Irish fiction and other classics.