Travelling to clients in London on a daily basis recently has got me thinking again about how these big projects come together. Seeing the preparations and groundwork that goes on on these sites is a great visual reminder about the strong foundations you must have in place to build anything tall and strong.
And, of course, sales is exactly the same. If you want to build (and maintain) a strong performance on a consistent basis then you need to have done all the groundwork and given yourself the strongest possible foundation for success. This ties in nicely to a request for some more “sales fundamentals” from a subscriber to my Saturday Sales email newsletter.
So here are 9 attributes that I think your business or your sales practice should have in place to put you in the best possible position for success. Are you:
This really is vital If people don’t see you and your business as trustworthy then you will be constantly fighting an uphill battle. Trust can be built from the smallest building blocks – do you always do what you say you will? Do you get back with answers when you say you will?
When people aren’t reliable, it puts doubts in the mind of the prospect. You need to make people know that they can count on you. A poor reputation for reliability is difficult to shrug off. Skoda has grown to be an excellent brand, but for decades they were plagued by their prior reputation for poor engineering.
Often overlooked by salespeople. Do you have a tendency to cross your arms? Do you look down at your feet? Most of us are naturally reserved, but the most successful salespeople will make sure that they always seem approachable, open and friendly.
Don’t confuse this with arrogance. There’s a definite line here that you mustn’t cross. However, most prospects will feed off the energy that an assured and confident salesperson has. It helps with building trust in you and what you’re selling.
Another key foundation overlooked by far too many salespeople. You should be the world’s leading expert in your product or service. I’m serious! This is an area where business owners and inventors often have the edge over brought in salespeople. If you have been brought in to sell a product or service by someone else, make sure they give you an absolutely thorough training in the product.
It’s a fact of life – friendly people are nicer to be with! So make sure that you always greet your prospects with a warm smile and ask them how they are. Be interested in them, their family, their business.
Ok, this one is controversial. I know that looks shouldn’t matter, and in an ideal world, they wouldn’t. Sadly for both of us, we don’t live in the ideal world! Humans do judge a book by its cover. I’m not advocating old-fashioned business dress, though – a simple, clean, smart and coordinated look is all you need, and that can be done without having to wear a three-piece.
Never underestimate the power of referrals. Verbal, written, via LinkedIn, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone else has tried you, and likes what they found. Don’t have any of those? Get some. Ask existing or past clients (even from previous workplaces) to write you a referral about you.
Again, don’t cross the line here. No one deals very well with people that are bouncing off the walls. However, you should be genuinely “into” what you’re selling. Your product or service should make you excited.
So there we are. 9 foundations that will help you build a strong sales practice or business that will be easier to build. I have yet to find a single highly successful business person or salesperson who doesn’t have these characteristics, they really are that important.
Which of these foundations do you think you struggle with the most? Are there any that you would add to the list? Have you had any encounters with salespeople who were missing any of these, and how did that make you feel about them?
If you’d like to discuss how I could help you build a strong sales foundation, you can always contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I also love getting your feedback on these blogs, as well as suggestions for future topics here, in the Sales Email and on my YouTube channel. You can find me on the social networks – Facebook (or is that now FACEBOOK?!), Twitter, LinkedIn – just search for “jameswhitesales”.
Have a great week!