Secrets of Sales Success

Drew Stevens Ph.D.
May 9, 2014 — 1,829 views  
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When I conduct my sales seminars, I offer the keys to sales success to seminar participants. You are receiving them here for the first time in print. After a review of my own self-development over 25 years of successfully selling products, I have concluded that the art of selling comes down to five very special and very important terms. They are:

Preparation
Planning
Purpose
Passion
Persistence

I have consulted and led a myriad of sales forces over the years, and I believe the preceding five traits to be essential characteristics of all successful sales professionals. Even the failed fictional salesman Willie Loman, of Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” had passion and persistence. In order to achieve, you too must have those characteristics – and more!

Preparation
The most important part of any sales professional’s job is to prepare for each and every sales call. The successful sales professional will always know who he or she is calling, as well as why they are calling and how they will sell the product or service.

Sales professionals are much like a general on the battlefield, an athletic coach at a game, or a chess player at a tournament: they are always thinking ahead, strategizing to determine their next move. You might say sales professionals are like a nurse in an elementary school before the fall and winter seasons hit. The nurse knows that students will get ill from the spread of germs, so she conveys information about how to avoid getting sick to the students prior to the start of flu and cold season. Salespeople do the same.

Successful salespeople are always prepared. They understand the client, the industry, the company, and the specific pain the client is dealing with. Prepared sales professionals also know how to get information should there be a question or something that stumps them.  Put simply, sales professionals are problem solvers, much like a physician trying to understand the reason for an illness. Sales professionals know how to ask the correct and pointed questions to understand the issue and move immediately to problem identification and resolution. And if a sales professional gets stumped for an answer, they know where to go to get it. It should be a very rare occasion when a prepared sales professional does not know where to turn  to get an answer.

Planning
Planning is one of the most important parts of sales preparation. From answering a telephone to making a call to understanding the client and the industry, planning is the single most important part of selling. If you do not know who you are speaking to and what you will say,  then how can you have a conversation?

Selling without planning is much like going on a blind date. You do know that the person is male or female and that they want to meet you and communicate with you, but that is all. One cannot be a problem solver if you do not understand to whom you are speaking and how you can help meet their needs.

There are several planning resources that are musts for sales professionals because they can  take you from good to great in a short time.  Specifically, there are three resources that cost little or no money and should help you better understand your clients’ issues and how you can aid them.  They are the annual report, news, and company and industry information.

Certainly in today's fast-paced, information-crazed environment, there is little time to access increasing amounts of information. However, clients want sales professionals who understand their business and competitive concerns and can use that knowledge to help them. Clients want trust, service, and relationships. Take the time to learn their business, and your efforts will be rewarded.

Purpose
Never call a client without a purpose. You must have an intention for each and every conversation, call, proposal, and action you take. Not to say that all is calculated, but you must have a reason for why you are doing what you are doing.

Purpose helps you to answer three vtial and dynamic questions:
Who is the client?
What do they need?
Why me?
 
Your ability to reply to these questions will assist you with understanding what you bring to the table and how you can help the client replace their current pain with the pleasure provided by your services.

Your purpose gives you direction, like a compass that helps you to drive to the shortest destination in the least amount of time.

Passion
I love selling, and I am not afraid to admit it. I love the challenge of trying to meet people’s needs, and I love helping people to resolve their issues. I love selling.

You also need to love selling. You need to love what you do and how you do it. You need to eat, sleep, drink, and talk selling – it must be in your blood! The secret to successful sales professionals is that they absolutely, unequivocally love what they do.

Successful sales professionals love challenges, are exceptional in overcoming adversity, and love the product or service that they represent. They are never shy or reserved, and you can sense their spirit and their passion when they speak. In fact, I heard a South African phrase the other day: Enbutu, meaning from the spirit. Successful sales professionals have an aura of spirit, of love, of passion, of commitment in everything and anything that they do. The more you can create Enbutu in your sales presentations and your sales day, the more helpful you can be to your client.

Persistence
Lastly, successful sales professionals are persistent. They love, need, and yearn for a challenge. Successful sales professionals never say quit or uncle, and they never stop answering questions, resolving issues, and finding customers.

Successful sales professionals are constantly seeking new business and looking for ways to find new clients. It is the successful sales professional who is always looking for answers and finding ways to resolve client issues.

Additionally, sales professionals that succeed never take “no” for an answer. Those with the power of adversity are not stubborn but are capable of seeking the needle in a haystack with such dogged persistence that they stand head and shoulders above anyone else. The successful sales person is someone who is still willing to go the distance even when fatigued or stumped, creating value, vision, and viability for the prospective client who is yearning for a resolution.

© Drew Stevens 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Drew Stevens PhD assists organizations sell more in less time through high level sales and customer service information sessions and consulting. Drew is the author of 4 books including Split Second Selling and Split Second Customer Service. Drew Stevens has been interviewed frequently in the media and his clients include American International Group, AT&T, Hilton Hotels, The Federal Reserve Bank and Reliv International, The New York Times, Mercy Health Plans, Quicken Loans, and over 200 leading organizations. Drew is also the owner of the Split Second Sales Institute which assists productivity for international sales leaders. For more information please visit www.gettingtothefinishline.com --  or call 877-391-6821.


Drew Stevens Ph.D.

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