A 2007 Associated Press poll (http://surveys.ap.org/data/Ipsos…) found that 27% (that’s 1 in 4) Americans did not read a single book in a year. This was down from previous years and shows a disturbing trend. What’s the difference between an illiterate and the salesperson who does not read Sales books? Answer: Nothing. If you are not reading you are basically Sales illiterate. On the other hand, The WISE salespro “seeks” knowledge, they pursue it, acquire it and absorb it in two ways:
1) They make a decision to fill their minds with WISE information. Books, Podcasts, Videos and other forms of media that are WISE (stay away from the junk…Proverbial Saying 15:14) The salespro feeds on knowledge. Investing in knowledge is essential to your success, AND
2) always be open to hear from the WISE. The best advice ever is to have ears open for knowledge (Proverbial Saying 18:15). He didn’t say the “eyes”, he didn’t say “nose” and he certainly didn’t say mouth. He said “EARS”. There is a choice, you have to make a choice to always be ready to learn by listening.
Make two important decisions starting today.
First, actively pursue knowledge, and feed on knowledge with ears that discern between wisdom and folly.
Second, choose to put yourself in situations and surround yourself with wise people and instruction.
If you don’t…you’ll “pay”…if you INVEST in yourself and your Sales Wisdom you’ll get a great ROI!
While there are shortcuts to getting SALES WISDOM the primary source of wisdom requires your investment of effort and time. We have over-complicated sales success with promises of quick returns. Sales success begins with effort and time and there are very few short-cuts despite what the books and speakers may promise.
In Malcolm Gladwells book Outliers; the story of success Gladwell speaks in Chapter 2 about the research that shows a correlation between time invested in your job/passion and the achievement of success. The time invested related to time “performing” the essence of your job/passion and as the title of chapter 2, The 10,000-hour Rule suggests, success seems to come after you have “performed” the essence of your job/passion in excess of 10,000 hours. It does not take long to realize this is going to be hard work.
But the payoff for that investment of effort and time is a guarantee of Loving life and prosperity.
In order to have CONFIDENCE to succeed in sales you have to be SALES WISE. The World English Dictionary defines wisdom as; the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. With SALES WISDOM comes confidence and the ability to succeed!
Let’s translate this definition into the definition of sales wisdom. Sales Wisdom is the ability to THINK and ACT utilizing the KNOWLEDGE of selling, sales EXPERIENCE, an UNDERSTANDING of sales, sales COMMON SENSE and sales INSIGHT. When you think if it that way, who would not want sales wisdom? Thinking, Acting, Knowledgeable, Experienced, Understanding, full of Common Sense and Insight.
There are a number of ways to get wisdom and each require effort and time.
Sales “professionals” are self-motivated. They are self-starters. They are 100% accountable for their results. While sales professionals solicit the wisdom and knowledge of others, including their superiors if they have them, they approach their role as if they are self-employed. I like to call it YOU, INC. The day you step into sales you become an entrepreneur, a self-employed individual who has no boss, no overseer and no ruler. You have started a company and that company is called YOU, INC.
Take a quick look this Top 10 List of characteristics of the successful Entrepreneur, that self-employed individual who approaches their role as if they have no commander, no overseer no ruler. While these are characteristics of the Entrepreneur they are also characteristics of the sales professional. Check to see where you fit with these 10 characteristics and make a commitment to YOU, INC.
The sales professional is “self employed.” Regardless of if you work for a company you must approach your role in sales as if you are self-employed.
One of the proverbial sayings I love (PS 6:6-8) references the fact that while the ant has no “overseer, ruler or commander” the ant still works hard and does the right thing.
Whenever there is a discussion of the ant it usually involves a reference to their strength and their work ethic. Even though they are small they wield incredible power relative to their size.
Ants are also known for their intense labor. While these strong, hard working ants plan ahead and work to the schedule of the seasons they do it without a commander, overseer or ruler. This is wise counsel for the sales professional. While you may be an employee of your company you should approach your sales position as if you are self-employed, with no commander, overseer or ruler.
Oddly enough, most products/services are developed to solve a problem or a need. Having worked several years for a company that has always been the leader in research-based product development I believe I know how this switch from “solving problems” to “FB&A pushing” takes place. Indulge me for one minute in what I see happen all the time:
Step 1 – Someone in your company (oftentimes the salesforce) identifies a problem/need in the marketplace.
Step 2 – A “problem statement” is created, if even on the back of a napkin, and the focus on the solution begins. NOTE: Typically, when your solution was developed it was targeted at solving a problem…hence the word “solution”
Step 3 – time passes as the solution is created(sometimes weeks/months but oftentimes a year…or even longer if the solution requires a lot of engineering/programming, etc.
Step 4 – the energy shifts to all the FB&A’s of the new solution and excitement grows with every new FB&A. “this is going to be great, it’s can do this and that…customers are going to love it!” Thought of the original problem it was meant to address diminishes as excitement grows about all the things the solution does.
Step 5 – Marketing is brought in at the eleventh hour and asked to put together some tools to market and help the salesteam sell the new solution…and the focus is on the amazing FB&A’s (“it does this and that, and your customers are going to LOVE IT!”).
Step 6 – The salesteam is trained on the new solution, with the new marketing and sales materials…that are all focused on FB&A’s.
Step 7 – The salespeople go out and begin to “talk” about the amazing FB&A’s of their new solution and the customer feels like you are trying to sell them.
Why are we trained this way? Take a look at your marketing materials. Most brochures and marketing materials are focused on the FB&A of your product/service. Very little is focused around the problems the product/service was meant to resolve and even less is put in the format of a question to get the customer thinking about their need for the product/service.