Wednesday 31 January 2018

Sold is Not a Four Letter Word. Open Doors to Sales Success!

Written by Robyn T Braley

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

Sales is the fuel that drives the engine of business. No sales, no revenue. No revenue ... well, you know the ending and it's not pretty.

What? Me? Sell?
In a sour economy, some are forced to start their own business when all other job searches have failed. Whatever your new business will be, sales will play a major role.
Some companies challenge their entire staff to think 'sales.' Their goal is to motivate staff to be aware of possible opportunities and feed leads to the sales team.
Developing a sales culture where none existed or being forced to sell to feed your family can put pressure on those who have never sold. So, you stress about it! 
“But I’ve never sold anything,” you exclaim. “I don’t have the personality!” 

Most, but not all, sales pros fear starving!

I am here to calm your fears. Selling is not something to be avoided. 

But, to achieve your goals, you may need to break through self-imposed mental or other perceived barriers like skin colour, age, gender, language, education or physical disabilities. 

'Sold' does not have to seem like a four-letter word because you believe you will never know the exhilaration that comes the first time you use it after you close your first sale. SOLD!

Breaking Rules to Break Through Barriers

The wonderful thing about selling is that for every accepted rule there is a sales champion who broke it. The word, 'I can't', is not in their vocabulary. 

You often hear the term ‘born salesperson.’ The description is only partly true. 

The common stereotype of a born salesperson is the person who is loud, boisterous and pushy. They think they are the life of the party.

I know highly successful sales professionals who are always the quietest ones in the room. They listen to what is being said, interpret body language and observe their interactions with guests. 

Then, they engage in conversations in a quiet, authentic way.

One of my clients comes from a part of our country where accents are so strong and grammar so mangled they appear to speak in a different language. 

He is a multi-million dollar sales champion. I have joked that his customers buy so he will stop talking. 

In my city, a high-performance real estate agent is confined to a wheelchair. He is also very involved in the community.

My friend, Alvin Law, is a world-class speaker, author and media personality. Alvin has no arms. He sells himself as a keynote speaker to meeting planners and conference organizers around the world.

Each year he co-hosts telethons that raise millions for charity. He motivates thousands of donors to give what they can!

He uses his story to inspire people to change their attitude from 'I can't' to ‘I can.’ He ‘sells’ the idea to others that they can break through their barriers and achieve what they believe is impossible to achieve. After all, that is what he did and continues to do every day!
He really doesn't have to sell his book. After hearing him speak, the book sells itself.

The point of my story is this. When you have no choice other than to sell, you may be forced to overcome the lack of certain tools in your toolbox by enhancing the ones you have. You will discover certain barriers exist more in your mind than in reality. 

Bible Sales Champ

Remember the story about the door-to-door bible salesman who stuttered? He sold thousands 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. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Rastafarians and people of no defined faith bought his product.

With apologies to anyone reading this who stutter or sell Bibles, the point is, you can be successful in sales if you have the will to overcome, or in some cases, take advantage of your weaknesses.

Skin Color

In my city, diversity plays a key role in our economy. There are sales professionals, business owners and customers representing hundreds of ethnic origins and countries around the world.

There are those who have earned high degrees and sell highly sophisticated products in the medical, energy, financial and high-tech industries. There are others who are recent immigrants who work at low-level jobs until they can save enough to start a small business.

My family doctor is a Muslim from Pakistan. My wife's doctor is his wife who is also from Pakistan. Doctors can't advertise in our country. They sold us on their capabilities the day they diagnosed medical issues and saved both of our lives.

Earlier this week I took a cab driven by a man from India. He can't wait until he can start a business and resume practicing the trade he learned there.

Last night I was running late for a committee meeting. I stopped by a neighbourhood restaurant and store owned by a Lebanese family.

I wanted something that wasn't messy and I could eat while I drove. I picked a fresh apple. As I paid for it the owner asked a couple of questions and then asked if I had tried his meat pies. He proceeded to give me 3 pies as samples.

After trying them, I am sold! I will drop by later today to buy a bunch.


I haven’t mentioned education. I know a multi-million-dollar sales champion who flunked out of high school. He sold everything – printing, land, vehicles, music and much more. If there ever was a born salesperson, Ray was that person.

I also know some with university degrees who tried but couldn’t sell. I attended sales training seminars with them. They studied and refined their skills but only achieved moderate success. Eventually, they left the sales profession.

However, you must know your product and that may require formal education. I would hesitate to buy a bridge from a self-taught engineer.

If you are selling high technology instrumentation, heart defibrillators, 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.

Overcoming mental barriers may require doing the unconventional.
What powers your inner engine? 

The Inner Drive

There is one thing that every sales champion has in common. It is an inner drive to overcome whatever barriers stand in their way.

Your inner drive will motivate you to make the first call and then the next. It will drive you to call again and again in spite of cold rejections until you hear,

"Yes, let's schedule a meeting!"

Top Eight Sales Tips

The inner drive will get you through the door but learned skills will take you the rest of the way to success. Systems and protocols will bring consistency and predictability to everyday practice.

Selling 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, the routine can also allow bad habits to creep in. Growth in sales requires consistent adjustments and growth as a professional.

  1. Adopt a methodology for selling. I use the counsellor selling approach. Ask questions, identify needs, then meet them
  2. Develop a prospecting strategy. Include online searches, drive-bys, networking, referrals, directories, and more
  3. Make customer service a core element 
  4. Use a customer management system (CMS). As your lists grow, disorganization will become your worst enemy
  5. Develop an arsenal of brand tools including engaging presentation material, quality website, social media program, membership in industry associations, networking, listing in directories
  6. Keep your social media accounts up-to-date
  7. Plan time for learning through webinars, books, conferences, professional magazines
  8. Plan for personal, family and community time. It’s called balanced living. Success is hollow with no one to share it with

The end

Robyn T. Braley is a brand specialist, writer, and speaker. He is a media commentator and co-owns UniMark Creative which designs websites, produces videos, provides media services and graphic design. He speaks about improving personal communications and various aspects of branding.

Contact Robyn


Connect on LinkedIn

Twitter: @RobynTBraley 

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