Do you "sell to live" or "live to sell?" I have been training sales people for approximately 25 years and have found a common trait in the highest performers ... they "live to sell." They love prospecting for new business opportunities. They love disqualifying suspects and qualifying prospects. They love being in the role of "closer." Their sales quota is a benchmark that they regularly exceed, because just hitting quota makes them average in their mind. In a stack ranking of other sales people in their company, you will always find them at the top. They don't hide from the fact that they sell by putting words like "account manager" or territory manager" on their business cards. They have turned the buyer-seller relationship into a game. A game with rules that they create!
All games have rules and here are some of the rules that I have created for my game:
1. Nothing is personal! I don't take anything that happens in a sales call personally. I realize that remaining detached from the outcome is the key to winning. My opponent's goal is to make it personal to trigger my ownership of the result.
2. I can predict my outcome! The game can be won if I understand the endgame. The four results of a sales call are: YES, we will do business; NO, we won't do business; CLEAR FUTURE, we need to gather more information to make an informed decision; or a LESSON, I made mistakes I will not repeat.
3. I need to analyze my opponent's game and tailor mine to gain an advantage! I will win the game if I have a committed strategy. By committing to my strategy, I can see the big picture and tailor my tactics to fit the experience.
4. I must remain cool under pressure and not crack as time progresses! My opponent's goal is to make me want the sale more than they do. They will create tantalizing scenarios over time that make me take ownership of the result. I must resist the urge to "bite" on those moves.
5. I must have strong beliefs in my abilities as a professional salesperson! Executing my selling methodology and keeping my beliefs strong are wonderful assets in controlling the outcome. My behavior must stay strong even if I am faced with self-doubt.
Players in the sales game must have certain characteristics and attributes in order to win. High performing sales people have a winning attitude and strengthen it every day by working on their self worth. They don't rely on external motivation, rather they have a strong body, mind and spirit connection that gives them confidence. The sales game is a very competitive arena and high performers look forward to matching their talent against their competition as well as their prospects. They continuously look for ways to learn and apply new skills in order to gain any advantage they can over other players. A final attribute common to all superior players in the sales game; is the way they handle their ego. They don't use the traditional overbearing sales bravado, common to stereotypical salespeople, to impress their prospects.
Penalties are assessed in the sales game when salespeople break the rules. Becoming a professional visitor is the number one penalty assessed. Another penalty is assessed when a sales person uses "lowest price" to close business. The result of the low-price game is a shrinking bottom line. A final penalty is assessed when a sales person relies solely on features and benefits to close business.
The sales game is won when sales people act professionally and treat selling as a profession, not as way to get their social needs met. I hope you are committed to winning the sales game. Go conquer your worlds!
• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. firstname.lastname@example.org. Text "salestip" to 35893 to receive Bill's biweekly newsletter.