Selling may be your job. You might have fallen into a sales role because you needed work, or perhaps the allure of making more money attracted you to sales. Others were pushed into a sales role by a manager or a leader. Few salespeople chose the role because they wanted to pursue the craft. There are many people who have the skills and mindset to sell, but they avoid it because of the mostly outdated stereotype of the pushy, self-oriented salesperson.
If you would read an article on a site called thesalesblog.com, I assume you care more about the craft of selling than the average salesperson, who isn’t interested in mastering sales.
How Selling Exposes Your Weaknesses
More than other roles, selling requires character and skills. It also reveals a person’s weaknesses. To succeed in sales, you must gain your prospective clients’ trust while also creating value for them using only a conversation.
A salesperson with one of the following weaknesses is likely to fail:
- Lack of self-discipline: This is the first and most common way to fail in sales. A salesperson who lacks the discipline to make their prospecting calls or follow up with their clients will lose deals and struggle to find success.
- Self-orientation: Some salespeople are self-oriented, projecting that a deal is more about getting what they want instead of ensuring the client succeeds. Buyers have plenty of options and will have no problem finding a salesperson who is other-oriented.
- Negative attitude: As soon as a salesperson complains about “rejection,” I worry about them. Selling will test your resolve and your intestinal fortitude. Hearing a client say no is not a personal rejection.
The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need identifies 17 character traits and skills that are critical to your success in sales. You would do well to study these traits and skills.
The Challenge of Mastery in Sales
Selling used to be more transactional than it is now. It was easier to master sales by being an expert on your company and your products and services. Your clients wanted to learn about a salesperson’s company and their offerings. Now, your prospective clients can find all this information on your website.
To master modern sales, you must create value for your clients within the sales conversation. This conversation is the largest variable when winning your client’s business, yet few salespeople focus on creating value for buyers and decision-makers.
It takes a long time to transform an industry. Salespeople who remember what they did decades ago are faithful to those techniques and approaches. Sales methodologies will change as sales leaders and sales managers leave the workforce. Meanwhile, you still need to master your craft.
How to Pursue Mastery in Sales
Selling can be unforgiving. It punishes you when you get things wrong, especially in a first meeting, which serves as your audition with the prospective client. Let’s look at the steps you might take to master your craft.
- Master the sales conversation: When you use value creation strategies effectively, your client will respond positively.
- Create information disparity: You need to use your knowledge and experience to ensure that you know more than your clients. When you have new and important information about the decision they are facing, you become more valuable to them.
- Lead your clients: Your clients have a tremendous burden when pursuing the better results they need. To master modern sales, you must facilitate the buyer’s journey and help them make a good decision.
- Implement a consultative approach: One way you create value for your client is by giving them strong counsel and advice and recommendations that will help them. This also helps you by causing the buyer to prefer you over other salespeople.
- Build relationships: As software eats the world and leaders become obsessed with efficiency, professional selling is regressing to become more transactional. As sales managers continue to believe that more is more, you create an extreme, sustainable advantage by being human and realizing that more is often less.
- Smooth rough edges: You must continue to improve yourself. You should always be reading something that can help you improve or taking a course that will allow you to master some trait or skill. Almost anything you study can help improve your results in sales.
Chasing Mastery in Sales
This article is for action-takers, people who believe selling is their craft and that self-improvement will lead to better results. Most salespeople will continue to do what they have always done, hoping for better results, not recognizing they must change.
If this is your craft and your profession, devote an hour a week reading, studying, training, or being coached by your sales manager or asking a high performer to answer your questions. You may also ask to join them on a call to better understand how they create value for their clients.
What is most important for mastery is making the behavioral changes that will improve your sales effectiveness. Occasionally, you will hear a salesperson say they have been selling for 20 years. Much of the time, that means the salesperson has had the same sales year 20 times. Chasing mastery in sales will allow you to improve every year.