How To Be A Good Salesman
It is hard to find a more successful salesman and sales manager than Wayne Lewandowski. Wayne was a client that I spent many a Monday morning 6 AM meeting talking about how he was maneuvering through the waters for greater effectiveness as a leader. While we met at 6 his day started some time before with his exercise regimen.
I asked Wayne to write a guest blog on the How to Become a Successful Salesman. Wayne’s words should be like fine honey or gold to the person seeking to advance their career in sales.
What Is A Salesman? Misnomer: Sales is All About Entertaining
The outside view of a professional sales career usually brings images of entertaining, golf, and lots of fun. Sure, is there some of that? Absolutely! But, the reality is this is a tough job, and it’s not for everybody. If that’s the case, what are some of the habits or key activities that make up a great salesperson?
Sales is a daily effort of habits. I would break this down into four “C”s – Consistency, Competence, Communication, and Counsel. Let me explain:
As mentioned, daily habits are key to a successful sales career. Daily, you need to prioritize your activities. These actions are balanced between building new pipeline, moving transactions through the sales cycle, and closing business. The balance of these are determined based on where you will land in quarter, as well as future quarters. Improper focus on one action could have either short term, or long-term effects to your longevity in a sales profession.
Being able to talk with conviction, and competence in your product or service is critical. Most companies are going to provide initial training, and in many cases, on-going updates, but there is more to consider. You need to know your products, but also those of your competitors, how you differentiate, and the value positioning to your addressable space. This implies a very specific understanding of your customer as well. Don’t be a B player, and ask the prospect what is keeping them up at night, when you should have some idea from your due diligence and understanding of that specific sector!
Sure, this seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how often people miss this one. Proper communication is not just in how you “pitch” your product, but how you engage with your customers as well as internally. Cadence to follow up and the combination of phone/in person/email/text will differ based on the prospect, as well as the relationship you have established. Internally understanding how your management expects updates and progress reports is critical. Selling internally to garner support is almost as important as how you address the needs of your customer!
Sales is not an individual sport. This is a revelation at times for folks who have done this for many years. Take the example of a major shift in market or immersion in a new industry as a couple examples. Leveraging the sage advice of others to build networks, competency, and buy in to your go to market plan is a wise strategy. Are you new to a sales career? Then consider being a mentee to get the advice and jump start your career. Or are you a legendary sales professional, then become a mentor. Because I am sure someone was there for you to help you along the way, pay it forward!