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Like many entrepreneurs and sales professionals, I’ve been selling since I was a teenager.
Over the years, I’ve hawked worms, newspapers, pins, chocolate bars and books door to door, knives and lamps on street corners, vitamins and herbs in retail and online, and, eventually, advertising, as well as coaching services and training to companies.
I think I’ve been pretty good at it. I love to sell because if I can get a transaction right, I’m matching a product or service with someone who’s pleased to make a well-timed, suitable purchase.
While not everyone feels comfortable in sales, a career in sales can be very rewarding. Not only can you make a great living and provide for your family, the execution of successful sale can bring a sense of personal accomplishment and increased self-confidence.
So what are the keys to being successful in sales?
Treat others the way you would like to be treated
There’s a sense of satisfaction when you develop a relationship with your customers by dealing honestly with them. In this way, we garner respect and people trust us.
When there’s trust in a sales relationship, closing the sale is just a natural progression of respecting others and treating them just as we wish to be treated.
Unfortunately, sales people have acquired a bad rap because of the odd disrespectful and inconsiderate sales individual.
Know why you’re selling
Without well-informed motivation, sales can be a struggle.
My probabilities of success were best achieved when I clearly understood why I was in sales. Perhaps it was a goal I had set for myself for the use of the money. Many times, I had to sell goods or services to cover my expenses and keep a roof over my head and that of my family.
Having clarity about what you want is paramount to being successful in sales.
Plan or fail
Many sales professionals fail because they don’t plan, or if they do plan, they don’t follow through on their plans. Making sales and hitting targets relies on having a plan and understanding the key tasks that determine success.
Successful sales people should know the exact profit on an average sale and the necessary number of sales needed to hit their targets. This will determine the amount of activity necessary for success. If you think you need to make 100 calls a week to hit your targets, that means you will have to do a minimum of 20 calls a day.
Blocking time as well as being prepared and organized are keys to successful sales.
A career in sales can be fun and rewarding, but it takes a positive mindset and the ability to enjoy challenges and create solutions.
When we understand our reasons for selling, have a plan for success, and are ready and willing to treat others the way we would like to be treated, our sales career will take off.
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc. Have a sales story to tell? Email firstname.lastname@example.org