When we talk about sales we think of the entire process of someone becoming persuaded to do what the salesman/woman wants them to do. Contrary to popular belief selling is only a segment of “the sale”.
The sale starts with the most important segment, which is prospecting. I’m sure you’ve heard the sales acronym A.B.C. (Always Be Closing) made popular by Alex Baldwin in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. The truth is you need to always be PROSPECTING.
If you are in a harvesting sales position you always have to keep a full pipeline of potential customers because you never know who is hunting what you are harvesting and when that customer is going to make a change. If you are a hunter a full pipeline is vital to your success. With no leads, you have no prospects, with no prospects you have no new clients, with no new clients you have no job.
If you’ve been in sales for much time at all you’ve had times when you were on top of the world and felt untouchable, and then it all crumbled around you and you were crushed. So what happened? Every time you close a sale you just lost your best prospect. Often times sales professionals look for all the reasons why they aren’t selling anymore, why they are missing targets. The majority of the time, the reason a salesperson is missing their quotas and targets is that they worked so hard to turn prospects into customers that they neglected to replace the prospects.
Prospecting takes many forms, often times the most popular form is cold calling. Cold calling can be in person or over the phone, but either way, it’s making contact with people who were not expecting you. Cold calling is the aspect of sales that most salespeople do not like and therefore neglect.
I can’t tell you how many salespeople I’ve been on ridealongs with, and as we got into the field they got that sinking feeling in their gut because they were dreading the call. As we park they begin to check emails, voicemails, write notes, do anything besides go into the business or house. This happens because of our fear of rejection. Fear feeds on time, the longer we procrastinate, the stronger the fear gets to the point that it paralyzes us. In order to overcome the cold feet that a salesperson is feeling they need to starve the fear. If fear feeds on time, eliminating it starves it. So what does that mean? That means when you feel the fear start to come over you, GO NOW! Don’t wait, don’t think, don’t prepare, just move. You’ll see that it wasn’t nearly as bad as all the scenario’s you played out in your head. Once you knock that fear out, you can knock it out easier at the next place.
Look, if you want to be successful, and want to have a fulfilling career in sales you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Nobody likes awkward silences or stares, but a great salesman/woman doesn’t show that they are uncomfortable. If you struggle with cold calling I suggest you begin working on your public speaking skills. The more comfortable you become with speaking in front of others the more comfortable you will become with being uncomfortable. A great way to practice public speaking is to join ToastMasters. Right away you can begin speaking, studying others, and learning to read nonverbal skills. Overcoming objections is a part of the entire sale, but great sales professionals do not use canned lines, they listen to what the prospect is saying and help them to understand how your product can change their business, life, finances, or whatever your product does.
Whatever you are selling you should believe that it has the ability to change a person’s life for the better. That might be a tangible product that makes business run more smoothly or adds to their bottom line, or that might be an intangible item that helps someone lose weight or change their direction in life. Either way, you have to believe your product can help them, and you have to be willing to use the product yourself. If those two things are not true for you then you are selling the wrong product and you will never be able to have true success because you won’t be able to sell with conviction.
Represent yourself, represent your product, represent the lives you are changing, and be proud that you are the face of change for the prospect you are talking to. Your job is to help them understand why they need what you have, and that you genuinely want to help them, and that your product can/will do that. As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you’ll just help other people get what they want.”
Get out there, hit the calls, fill your pipeline, and live a prosperous life of helping others that you deserve!