What I have observed and experienced in my sales career is that the young professionals aren’t getting the experience necessary to excel. Performing the Sales job is a lot of hard work that involves taking the responsibility of spearheading the organization in the market place, identifying and executing strategies to achieve targets and fulfill the organizational goals. Sales Team is considered to be the privileged of the lot, ‘The Black eyed and blue eyed babies’, but often the Black eye goes un-noticed. We all know what we are supposed to do in Sales and the Numbers do the talking. The best of the education can get you a glamorous job in Sales but I feel the new generation of Sales professionals overall, lack experience. Many of the young people I find in Sales today fail miserably because they just haven’t “lived it” and eventually they’re not staying in Sales long enough. Sales - The only way to get it is to ‘Live it’.
HOW TO LIVE IT?
Being Passionate Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and learn from them. Gaining experience is the most important part of the process. Never take rejection personally. Learn from it. Always ask “why” whenever losing a good piece of business. You may not get an answer and sometimes you may not like the answer you get, but “asking” is what real pros do; it makes you better and more confident next time around.
Understanding the Sales Process
Sales process needs to be well defined. Following are certain valuable “How to’s” that may help…
How to qualify the sales leads (Suspects) as prospects
How to pursue the opportunity / sales proposition with the prospects
How to negotiate
How to track delivery of what is promised to the client (once the contract is signed)
How to service the client
Formal Sales training is just fine, but it’s mostly hit-and-miss with fair to poor implementation during the days and weeks that follow the formal training.
Buddy system, One-to-One, More Need Specific coaching, Mentoring, Interactive real life case simulation
Moment of Truth
You should be proactive in your sales calls and must possess a phenomenal memory (if not then let technology do that bit for you). Never let go an opportunity to send a seasons greetings/wishing your client/remembering appointments etc. These are Moments of truth, either you score or you loose but a moment lost to make your presence felt is lost forever – be street smart!!Also remember that ‘You are on Stage’ and you have to be at your best always.
Master Time Management
We talk a lot about Time Management. Do we understand what it is?
Well we think that if we spend 8 hours at work then we are committing 8 hours to work. But I think what is more important is how much quality time we spend at the work place. Daily your time is spent making proactive Sales calls, taking out a prospect on lunch, sending and responding to prospect e-mails and phone calls etc. There won’t be time left for Internet surfing, I-pods, personal phone calls. The biggest non productive time spent is generally unnecessary joint sales call or unofficial visits with co-workers. Sales people are generally out of office so they can easily get away with this. My advice would be Don’t cheat, be honest to yourself.
Know your Product
To get more business you need to know your product and know it very well. Understand more of your business financial aspects. This helps new Sales pros to sell smarter and to appear better informed.
Know your Competition
It is important to know what are your strengths, what the market is like and even more interesting thing is to know the pulse of your competitor. The better you know your competition, the better you can sell against it. Start by conducting your own personal SWOT test on the market handled and the presence of competition followed by the market share. This would give a clear picture of the way ahead.
Remember ‘Success comes in Cans and Failure in Can’ts’.
Sales in this Gen Y
Is the sheen of the Sales Profession eroding gradually?
Today more clients are moving to the Internet and over to the new websites that are powered by latest technology with metasearch capability to search for offers, availability, packages and fares. Are we heading for a day when the Sales pro will be replaced by Internet shopping and 100% outsourcing to the powerful, successful 3rd party lead suppliers? There are companies already performing the back office jobs for the leading airlines very successfully. We also have companies specializing in offering Sales and Marketing services across industry verticals, for example; for hotels, cruise, and car rental companies. It is not very far when 3rd party companies would take control of the airline/GDS sales, and marketing as well. After all this is the trend.
Who wants to deal with inexperienced rookies anymore?
Sales professionals today have limited access to the best clients. The rule of thumb applicable here is that ‘80% of the business is generated from 20% of the customers’. Today the 3rd party service providers are so influential that they inadvertently “block out” less experienced Sales professionals.
Is the sales profession at risk of becoming extinct?
My personal opinion, I believe there will always be a need for product savvy, service-oriented Sales professionals contributing towards the growth of the organization. Now it is high time for this community to stand up for their pride before they are not required at all.