In my lifetime, I have met extraordinarily talented people who can sell ice to an Eskimo…sand to a beach…a cage to a lion – you get the picture. I marveled at their levels of success and always wondered – how? After what I considered to be failed attempts in the past, I concluded early in my professional life that sales were just not for me.
Like many others, I declared that sales were for a “special breed” of people with the gift of gab – who literally charm the dollars from anyone’s pocket. I lifted my hat to them but I was pretty sure I could not do it. That is of course before I began to undergo a necessary mind shift in the art of living – that is selling.
I have observed sales people who are close to me – my mother, a seasoned insurance agent; close friends who are realtors; entrepreneurs; freelancers; and even in an interesting way, fellow evangelists, and I have realized a few things. Firstly, few of them have seen moderate levels of success and the majority definitely appeared to be less than successful most of the time. Only a handful seemed to be excellent at closing deals, collecting money, and keeping clients. When remuneration depends on such factors, it is no wonder one is easily discouraged from this line of work.
I also believed that to be a compelling sales person was synonymous with being a good con artist. In my ignorance, I thought if I wasn’t a con, then sales would inevitably be the least rewarding and most frustrating area of work I could do. Until I became aware of a few bad habits that I identified with which separates less successful salespersons from excellent ones.
Here are some primary points I noted:
1. They doubt themselves – I have heard friends express views such as – “I’m not good at selling”, “I hate asking people for things”, and so on. With these sentiments, one is bound to fail at sales. I was told by a mentor that there are two things every sales person must know –
• Their message and •Themselves.
“I HATE SELLING!”
– Lament of an expert sales person who doesn’t know it yet
Effectively, selling yourself is dependent on how you view yourself. If your view of self is negative, this will absolutely be communicated to your target audience. Before presenting a concept, you must rst present yourself. We have to remember we are valuable and what we offer is worth having.
2. They possess a weak work ethic – This covers a wide range of issues from time management to structuring your days ef ciently, ensuring that you are deliberately setting and meeting targets. While very important, no-one covers them all, but successful sales people are strategic about their success and put systems in place to help them win.
PS. No successful person was content to wait for success, they fought for it.
3. They did not believe their message – Another major challenge is in not believing what you are saying. Sometimes, it is not that we do not want to believe our message but that we have not absorbed it enough to communicate con dently. Representing a product or brand for which you are not a true supporter requires being disingenuous and allows others to perceive you as a con artist.
4. They take rejection personally – Yes, we are human. Becoming discouraged after being dismissed or rejected is perfectly natural. But it cannot end there. We must identify what drives us at our core and allow that to stir and motivate us intrinsically regardless of any curve balls thrown our way. We must be clear that any response to our message, whether positive or negative, has no bearing on our self- worth or ability to sell but is simply another person exercising their free will to choose. It is not personal.
As I continue my journey through eyes anew – as a sales expert in the making – my aim is to share my lessons along the way. The value of my life story is my biggest sales pitch of all and as long as I am alive, I will sell it like an expert!
Stephanie Hazle is a Communication Specialist based in Jamaica. She currently heads Business Development at Think Grow Lead Training Masters, the leading sales training company in the Caribbean. Contact details:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 876-885-8520.