If you are in sales – STOP SELLING!
If a conflict seems to be a statement, you may want to subscribe to this advice.
If you are a sales person, you are in one of the most difficult professions. It is said that less than 1% of the population is required to be successful with sales. This is not a good chance. But many of us are attracted to the sales arena. We are the modern-day gladiators who face, survive and often thrive on daily challenges. We like to help people; we enjoy the competitive nature and recognition that is successful with what we do.
So how can some men and women get on top, while so many others only dream of success?
Many of the top sellers I know were fortunate to have had a mentor somewhere who shared golden advice. Many years ago, one day, my local sales manager made a statement that offended me. It also changed my life.
He said, “Clayton, you’re a great sales person, but you can be a wonderful sales person.” As one of the top sellers in the region, my ego was bruised. I got angry that he would say something like that. I considered myself a dedicated student in sales, I was on many sales courses and my results were very good.
His statement rolls around in my head for the balance of the day and that night. I had to understand his thinking. The next morning I gave up, not quite sure what I would hear and went to his office the day before to ask him what he meant by his comments.
He asked me to sit down and started to tell me how happy he was that I was on his team, explaining that he believed it was his role to get the most out of people. I told him that I feel a little offended, I consider myself better than good with sales. He reassured me, but if I wanted to become a good salesperson, I had to listen carefully for advice. I still remember when it was yesterday, at 9am on a Friday morning, he said two words that stunned me: “Stop selling.” I was stunned, stop selling? He further explained: ‘Your job is to sell nothing. It is your job to help your customer make an informed purchasing decision. “
Well, he had to repeat the statement twice before the light bulb came on for me. Of course he was absolutely right. I had to move from a gladiator who is ready to fight, to become a reliable adviser. My responsibility was to bring subject knowledge to the table and help the potential buyer understand the pros and cons of their decision. It’s their money, it’s their decision. Have I done everything in my power to help them make informed?
Over the years I have shared this with many “good” sales people. I smile as I watch their reaction as I suggest that they can improve their sales if they stop selling. If you practice this philosophy today, I commend you. If you want to take it forward, I wish you a lot of personal success.