Thursday 10 December 2015

Born to Sell; What Makes a Sales Champion

Written by Robyn T Braley

When the economy dips, it’s time to dig down deep and evaluate every area of your business. What works really well? What isn’t working well? 

What areas just get by because they have been ignored for years? 

Selling is the fuel that drives the engine of business. No sales, no revenue. No revenue ... well, you know the ending and its not pretty. 

Fuel for Champions

I started writing a single post with tips for honing sales skills. As I got into it, the article became longer and longer and evolved into 10 story ideas. Each is meant to be a quick read by people who’s livelihood depends on sales success.

If you are a sales or fund raising professional, the posts will help you review the fundamentals. If you are a Bootstrapper who is starting a new business with few resources, they will introduce you to basic sales knowledge and strategies. 

Finally, if your life is indirectly impacted by sales – which is everyone – these posts will help you understand sales and sales professionals

My Unimark Creative clients, those who have heard me speak or follow me on Twitter and read Brandit posts know that I promote balanced marketing strategies. My approach mixes traditional with online and social media marketing. That also applies to sales.

I have sold articles, generated media interviews (Click here), found new clients for Unimark (Click here) and been booked for speaking gigs (Click here) using mixed platforms. 

Nix the Same Old Same Old

Sales practices can easily become routine which isn't always bad. When doing the same old thing in the same old way forms good habits, that’s a good thing. 

However, routine can also allow bad habits to creep in. You no longer do the fundamental things that built your career or grew your company to where it is today. Worse, you have not kept up-to-date with new marketing tools and strategies.

Dan Barker, President, Desa Glass
I was recently talking with my long time client and friend Dan Barker, the President of Desa Glass in Calgary. He shared a story about Desa's company founder, Rusty Saraceni. 

Every morning at the end of their team meetings he would say, “Do something, even if it is wrong.” Click here for Desa.

What wisdom! In other words, he gave his team permission to try new things knowing that successes would outweigh failures. He encouraged them not to be afraid to try different ways to find sales success and help grow the company.

If you are in sales, rejection is part of your daily experience. But, you also know that starting the process that will lead to a sale requires taking action. 

You must take the first step. You make the first call or send the first email even if it proves to be a wrong number or you get a bounce back. Then you do it again using the next prospects contact information.

Why Sales, Why Now

We live in uncertain times. The Canadian loonie has dipped below the value of Canadian Tire money. The price of oil has dropped harder than a frozen road apple hockey puck in minus 40 weather. Terrorists are doing the unthinkable to create unspeakable terror! 

Political change has challenged Canadians, Americans, Europeans and people around the world to consider new ways to solve old problems.

Getting back to the basics and paying attention-to-detail is how we will survive and work our way back to stable, stronger economies.  

10 Posts Packed with Practical Sales Tips

Born to Sell; What Makes Sales Champion (you are reading it).
10 Tips for Staying Motivated in Extremely Demotivating Times 
Why Your Personal Brand Matters! What are you really selling?

Coming Soon...
Finding Prospects – Think differently
Sales Model – Counselor selling - the process
Closing the sale – What does that really mean?
Customer service – Path to repeat business 
Networking – Business functions, community events, Funerals
Social media – 5 Social media platforms that support sales
Sales management – CMS Systems

      Business is Driven by Sales

      Wherever you are reading this, look around. Everything you see is made of products that someone sold to someone else.

      Raw material was sold to a fabricator. The resulting components were sold to a manufacturer. The finished product was sold to a wholesaler who in turn sold it to a retailer who sold it to you. 

      SOLD! is not a 4 letter word.

      Sales skills are used whenever one person is trying to persuade others to;

      • Buy something
      • Give something
      • Make a decision 
      • Change their way of thinking

      Born Salespersons

      If you have been downsized and have given up trying to find a new job, you can move to a new area that may have better prospects. If that is not an option, out of desperation, 
      you may have chosen to start your own business. If you have few resources, you will become a Bootstrapper.

      Sales may be the part of the package you have not considered. Whatever your product or service, you now have to sell it. 

      “But I’ve never sold anything,” you exclaim. “I don’t have the personality for sales!”

      In sales, belief in your abilities to achieve the unachievable stimulates innovation, creativity and imagination. Setting high expectations allows you to see beyond what others see as your limitations.

      There are personality traits that champion sales people tend to have. 

      1. Driven by challenges
      2. Approach problem solving with creative thinking 
      3. Think like an entrepreneur
      4. Strong communicator
      5. Analyse human behavior and body language
      6. Seek information - new trends, new practices, new market forces
      7. Self-motivated
      8. Self-confident
      9. Self-disciplined
      10. Goal driven 
      11. Celebrate achievement
      What I haven’t included is a requirement for a particular level of education. I have known multi-million dollar sales champions who flunked out of high school and others with university degrees who couldn’t sell.

      Obviously, you must be fully knowledgeable about the product you are selling whatever the level of your formal education. 
      For example, I wouldn't buy a bridge built by a self-taught engineer. 

      If you are selling highly technical instrumentation, heart defibulaters, pharmaceuticals or parts for a space shuttle, you probably need an engineering or bio-science degree to fully understand the complexities of the product you are selling.
      Champion Bible Salesman

      Breaking Rules – Bible Sales Champion

      The wonderful thing about the sales profession is that for every rule there is a champion who broke it. You often hear the term born salesperson. The term is only partly true. 

      You may need to find ways to overcome a lack of sales skills by enhancing the ones you have. Remember the story about the bible salesman who stuttered? He sold hundreds of bibles going door-to-door.

      When the home-owner opened the door he would say, 

      “Mmmymmy nan-na name izzzz Smi-smi-smi-smith. Wo-wo-would you like t-t-t-to b-b-b-buuyy this fine b-b-bi-ble? If –iffff yu-yu-you llllike, I ccccaan r-r-r-read it to-t-to you!” That was the point when he always made the sale.
      With apologies to anyone reading this who stutters or sells Bibles, the point is, you can be successful in sales if you have the will to overcome your weaknesses.

      A former student of mine lives with schizophrenia. Her life experience has made her an expert. 

      Elizabeth has developed and sold innovative ideas for helping others understand mental health issues. She has written a book and given keynote addresses at conferences in the USA and various cities in Canada.

      What's your PMA?

      You Can Do it; Harness Your Abilities

      The challenge is to view a disability as a different ability. The will to overcome a disability cannot be transplanted from a sales champion or implanted through invitro fertilization. 

      You must have the will to succeed. The medical term is PMA – positive mental attitude level.

      If your family or the families of your employees depend on your sales success for survival, you will find a way. If you think you can you will. If you think you can’t, it probably just ain’t going to happen.

      What do You Think?

      Do you have a sales story? Do you know someone who overcame a disability to become a great business or sales person? Please comment below. 

      Robyn T. Braley is a writer, speaker and occasional media guest. He is the President of UniMark Creative which does website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design. He speaks at business conferences and also blogs about branding. 


            Twitter: @robyntbraley 


      Further Reading; Canadian Association Sales Professionals

      Relevant Articles by Robyn T. Braley

      Why Your Personal Brand Matters! What You Need to Know

      10 Tips for Staying Motivated in Extremely Demotivating Times

      Thinking As If There is no Box; 10 Marketing Tips for Tough Times

      10 Tips For Bootstrapping With Broken Laces

      How to Grow Your Brand in Uncertain Times

      Why Goal Setting Is Important for Small Businesses

      Why LinkedIn is a Pillar for B2B Relationship Building; 11 Content Tips

      How to Write Effective Emails for eNews Campaigns

      Going Up! The Selling Starts With a Powerful Elevator Speech

      Tips for Getting the Best Possible Photos for Your Business

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