It all started when you made a killing at your school’s bake sale. You were 11 years old and you sold more cupcakes than any other kid. Your mom and teachers told you you were a natural, that you could sell air conditioning to Eskimos. Later, you were praised by you supervisor at Target for outselling your part time colleagues in the electronics department. That convinced you to pursue a sales career. But are you really cut out to be a salesperson? Do you have what it takes to succeed as a sales professional in today’s tough selling arena? In short, are you ready for the major leagues? Some thoughts to help you decide.
Are you Ready to Compete?
Selling cupcakes at school or speakers at Target was relatively easy. The sale was largely driven by price, and customers were ready and primed to purchase. In the big leagues, things are a bit more competitive. Top sales pros hungry to make a sale and beat your quota will be vying to take you down. Customers, skeptical of salespeople and of spending their hard-earned money on what usually amounts to a big ticket sale—car, home, solar panels, insurance—will demand to be “sold.” This will take more than the 40-hour week. You’ll have to spend lots of weeknights and weekends to leave the competition behind. In Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High, Jeff Thull, leading-edge strategist and sales advisor, suggests that to succeed in today’s big ticket sales arena, you’ll need to help customers make the best choice among closely competing solutions. Thull insists that the sales strategies, processes, and skills used in the early-1950s to mid- 90s are no longer valid today. Today’s salesperson must act as a consultant and learn to manage a prospect's key buying decisions.
Are you a Believer or a Seller?
“To succeed in sales, you must continually believe in what you're selling.” New salespeople, and sometimes even experienced reps will spout this common rule of salesmanship. Turns out, it can limit your true sales potential. So says Dave Kahle, consultant, sales trainer and author of Question Your Way to Sales Success . He notes that the “belief in product” sales position is detrimental because it elevates the product and the salesperson’s opinion of the product to the position of final influencer of sales behavior. In other words, your opinion of the product rises to a higher importance than your customer’s needs.
Are You Ready for Inside Sales?
The number of salespeople in the U.S. is expected to drop from 20 million today to 8 million by 2020. By then, 85 percent of buyer-seller interactions will take place online through social media and video. Big-ticket B2B buyers will be increasingly sold by what’s become known as high-velocity sales tools, spearheaded by pre-call research efforts, sales intelligence and e-signatures. Josiane Feigon, CEO of TeleSmart and author of Smart Selling provides a clue as to what to expect in inside sales in this video.
Are you equipped to succeed in sales? In inside sales? If not, you need to tool up to compete and win.
Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net