Five Tips I Can’t Teach You When It Comes to Selling More Printing
There are fundamental lessons to sales. These are the basics — the building blocks — if you will. Follow them and you will find some level of success in sales. As a sales trainer and coach, I can walk you through them:
Make a high-value, well researched sales call to the right target market by applying a sales process with diligence.
Seventy-five percent of sales success comes down to knowing who to talk to, what to say in order to gain an appointment, and a step-by-step plan to get there. Appointments are to sales what wearing a bathing suit and walking down a diving board are to swimming.
I can teach you those basics. I can show you how to peruse a company website and find a way to finish the sentence, “The purpose of my call is ... ” with something powerful. I can talk to you about the kinds of companies you should be calling on and whom within those companies make up your sales sweet spot. I can show you a simple prospecting process that involves weekly sales activities.
But, it ends there.
Standing at the end of the diving board, it’s up to you to take the next step. Dive, jump, or bellyflop. Some things you must do, or have, on your own and they are key to reaching the pinnacle of sales. If you have them, great. If not, you’ll need a workaround. But, like I tell my kids all the time, “There is always a way.” This is true of the following list … except for one.
You are who you are. Introvert. Extrovert. Somewhere in between. You are hardwired from the beginning. Along the way, as you grow up, you can emulate and imitate what you see around you. A conversation with someone particularly engaging at a party, for example, might make you want to learn to be a better listener. In this way, you can modify, shape, and shift what’s already existing. But, the raw material will not change.
Fortunately, every personality type on the salesperson end has a match on the buying end. You might think of the best of the best as being engaging and outgoing. They likely have shiny white teeth, drive expensive cars, and are in perpetually good moods. If you fit none of those categories, take heart. Regardless of how you are wound, your market both exists and awaits. Plus, know that not everyone connects with that stereotypical sales rep. Who do they connect with? Maybe … you! Go find out.
Persistence is the single most important sales characteristic. One hundred percent of the time, when I ask an outgoing coaching client to reveal his or her “secret to success,” I hear some version of, “Make the calls. Make the calls. Make the calls.” Nine out of 10 first time prospecting calls go without a follow-up call. Nine out of 10 second prospecting calls also go without follow-up.
It doesn’t take a lot of math to figure out that diligence, in even the simplest form — say, making just two calls to the same prospect — puts you in the 1% category.
Fortunately, while you can’t be taught diligence, you can be held accountable. Whether it’s a manager or an accountability buddy, making a commitment to sales activity on an ongoing basis, and then being held to it, is a simple solution to this unteachable and critical element of sales.
You cannot be made to “want it.” Drive is different from diligence. Drive is motivation. Drive is 100% internal. A manager might be able to carrot/stick his or her way in an attempt to generate certain sales behaviors, but only you can make the wheels turn.
Fortunately, drive comes in many forms. Fear, for example, can be a wonderful source of motivation. My own fear of failure got me out of bed and on the phones for years. I was terrified of the thought of moving back home with my tail between my legs. That feeling was far greater than the fear I had of trying to convince someone to buy print from me. Later, when success came, I had to rethink my source of motivation. What got me there wouldn’t automatically and necessarily get me to the next level.
You are at a restaurant and someone who might be an owner or manager comes by to check on your meal. You think, “Great customer service.” The day after Thanksgiving, a flier comes in the mail for a weight loss clinic. They are having a special. You are fit, so you throw it out. At a dinner party, you overhear a guest commenting on how good business is, but all you want is the salt and pepper he seems to be hoarding. Opportunities are all around you, but you can’t be taught to find them through simple curiosity.
Fortunately, there are three words that can make up for a lack of curiosity: “Tell me more.” When someone else is speaking, we are likely to share a story of our own. That’s natural.
What’s unnatural is to ask someone to expand on their comments. We’d rather hear our own voice than someone else’s. “Tell me more” is all it takes to go from boring others to exposing the possibilities. To the owner/manager: “How’s business? What do you do to get people in the doors?” Regarding the flier, “It makes sense a weight loss clinic would promote right now. I wonder who else in the area might be in this same field.” As you wait for the salt and pepper guy, say, “So great to hear you are busy, tell me more about your business.”
The first time my daughter sat on my motorcycle, she nodded her head and smiled. Emma fell in love. My other two wanted nothing to do with it from the get-go. Emma and I have ridden all throughout New England, from Miami through the Florida Keys, and out to the Grand Canyon together. While I can help her be a better rider, I can’t teach the love of riding itself.
This is also true for sales. A passion for the job does not need to be bone-deep, but you do need to love what you do in order for it to be considered a good career choice for the long haul.
There are three components to a good voicemail message. The “price” objection can be overcome. We know why customers leave and what can be done to stop it from occurring. There are books, seminars, and videos to help learn the blocking and tackling of sales. These five components to success make up the difference between good and great.
You needn’t worry about being a prototypical sales rep. Your market exists regardless of your make-up. Accountability is a phone call away. If you don’t have drive, buy something you can’t afford. Believe me, it will find you in a hurry. Stop talking. Get curious. Start listening.
As for passion, ask yourself: “Do you love what you do?” If the answer is anything else but, “Yes!” quit and go find something else to do. There is no workaround for that one.
Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.