by Susan Walsh, President and CEO, Sales-Link Inc.
I’m in the business of helping companies re-engineer the way their sales are conducted. I find that sales is a daunting challenge to so many businesses. In theory, sales is a very simple process. You have a product, or service, and there is a customer. The job is to introduce the product, or service, to the customer, and to procure the sale.
So where does this simple process break down? The answer is actually in the question. Many companies have incredibly passionate and invested owners who understand their product or service, whether it be programming services, preclinical drug development, laboratory assays, patient recruitment, or pathology tissue analysis. But the passion of one person cannot always be transferred to the other. The process of educating and motivating the sales person is an important one. Process must be broken down into steps, and the sales person must understand the value of the product, or service, that’s being offered thoroughly. That is the first big challenge for senior management.
Next, knowing how to package your messaging, and how to deliver it with zest and enthusiasm, requires having a full understanding of how the product, or service, will work for the consumer. Whatever it is that makes what you are selling helpful, or desirable, to potential customers, is ultimately what will sell it, so it’s the most important ingredient of your message. Teach your team how to present the message in a way that the customer can see (1) your differentiation and (2) that you understand their problems. Knowing why someone would be interested in the product, or how the service will bring solutions to problems, is the second challenge. Creating a compelling message that addresses how your product, or service, works within your customer’s day to day operation, is what will catch their attention, and will make you stand out. It’s not easy, but keeping your head clear, and your body nourished, will give you the stamina necessary for endurance in your sales job.
This article wouldn’t be complete, if I didn’t mention persistence. Sales is a numbers game, where the more chances you get to give the message, the higher the probability of landing a sale. Don’t waste time contemplating how many “no’s” you get, focus rather on how many “yes’s” you haven’t reached yet. But that takes energy, determination, and a willingness to leave the ego behind.
Digging deep on a continuous basis, requires perseverance, and a strong desire to put in a good, hard-working day, throughout the work week. Blood, sweat, and tears are all part of a young sales person’s experience. Having good mentors, camaraderie, and a supportive network of family and friends, are all necessary ingredients for a healthy sales environment. If you see your sales team is working hard, tell them you know it’s challenging, but you believe they are the right people to make it happen. Constantly check in, and always encourage them to have a great day. Talk about exercising, and about spending time with family. Encourage good, healthy living
So how does a salesperson stay focused, current, persistent, and in line with process, day after day, without getting burned out? We must do all the things I’ve discussed here, but we must also create balance in our lives. Without leading a healthy lifestyle, it’s impossible to keep up the pace, maintain the energy, and sustain the positive attitude required to reach out to new contacts over and over, call after call.
I admit that it’s not easy to take the time to juice in the morning, instead of sucking down a quick cup of coffee. Or to hook up the dogs and go for a brisk walk. instead of collapsing on the couch after a particularly exhausting day. Or to make the time to shop and cook a healthy meal instead of dialing for pizza delivery.
But I have learned (dare I say “the hard way”?) that fresh fruits and vegetables are my best friends, and my Juicer is my most prized possession. Staying healthy in body and mind is the first step in the recipe for success in just about any field, but it is vital to success in sales. I challenge you to incorporate fresh juices and vegetables into your daily diet for a week, to experience how your energy level soars. I’m confident that you will see and feel the difference it makes in your well-being!
Here’s a quick juice for you to try. 1 cucumber, 4 large kale leaves, 2 sticks of celery, 1 green apple, 1 lemon. POW!. (Tip: consuming a handful of nuts, or a half of an avocado, along with your fresh juice will boost it’s staying power!)
March has been declared National Nutrition Month!
Celebrate by buying a juicer!