I’ve worked in sales for as long as I can remember. My father was not a flashy CEO, but he always had (and still has) a great entrepreneurial spirit and a special gift for sales. He has a gift of drawing you in with his charisma and genuine belief that makes it simple to trust him. I like to believe that I’ve inherited a pinch of this gift!
One important lesson that he taught me early on is that our words and attitude can define our fate. You may ask, how is that? I remember having a conversation with him after losing a key account to a client, I was complaining and very upset because I felt that I had invested so much time in them, and in the end, my efforts had been in vain.
To my surprise, he said that that was great!
He explained: what we see as a loss, most of the time, is in reality a new opportunity. So instead of saying, ‘I lost a client,’ I should say, ‘I haven’t won that client yet.’
This made me reevaluate the situation and really understand what value-added sales are.
There are so many reasons a client decides to pass on your offer.
- The timing was off
- The structure of the offering was wrong
- The product/service did not solve their problem
It may not be the right time, maybe the deal that I was offering to them was not so good after all or maybe they just got a better price.
I understood at that moment that I wasn’t finished yet.
I love my job because I get to build long relationships with clients and help provide value. I spent more time understanding their expectations and digging into their problems. This gave me even more perspective and confidence in our ability to service them.
No surprise, this worked, and I could close an annual contract with them. I had finally understood their needs, and that experience helped me when dealing with all my customers.
‘NO’ in this industry does not last forever, and it gives you the opportunity to improve.
- Be a good listener: understand your customers’ needs
- Be consistent: don’t leave them hanging. Provide updates even when you don’t have them. Let them know you care.
- Be flexible: adapt when you have to
- Be transparent: honesty will take you further and reward you with the right people.
- Be the master of your emotions: don’t allow yourself to be the victim. Transform your emotions into something positive.
- Be your best encourager: Remember that this is not personal, and believe in your abilities.
- Be bold! Take chances! If you already have a NO, what else can you do to turn it around? You have nothing to lose.
I hope my humble contribution can help my fellow salespeople out there not to be discouraged by difficult and often long sale cycles. We have hundreds of opportunities to be better and to get better at what we do every day, and it’s proven that small actions can lead to great things.
I will close with a saying what motivates and drives me every day.
Insist, persist, resist and never give up!
P.S: Thanks Dad!