Alas, just knowing of the cure does not mean salespeople will take it. Why won’t they take it you might ask? The answer is simple. Preparation requires effort and most salespeople are lazy. They avoid hard work, like the plague. I know this to be true because I am a salesperson. I eat, drink and sleep in the world of sales. I work with salespeople every day and I know how they think. They believe they can weather the storm of lost sales if they just hang in there and maintain the status quo. After all, taking medication would be a sure sign of weakness. Well, guess what? Preparation is the only way to overcome sluggish and inferior sales results.
Here are five doses of preparation every salesperson should be taking on a regular daily basis.
1. Begin each day early and well planned. It is amazing how much can be accomplished when you begin the day early. Just the act of arising early will give you a clear advantage over your competition. Daily planning is the key to preparation. Because it takes effort, most people avoid planning. The effort and time associated with daily planning will be returned a hundred fold.
2. Know your competition. You will never win if you don’t know whom you are competing against. If you are going to play the game, why not put forth just a bid more effort and play to win. The difference in effort between winning and losing can be very small, but the difference in the rewards can be huge. Spend the time and effort to know your competition.
3. Build relationships of belief, like and trust. All things being equal, people will buy from someone with whom they have a relationship. Don’t become so focused on telling your story that you don’t spend the time to build a relationship with your prospect. It takes time and effort to form a friendship, but your sales will increase dramatically. When you care enough to invest in building a relationship, the prospect will care enough to purchase from you.
4. Assess your customers and prospects needs. Every salesperson has a choice in dealing with a customer or prospect. You can get right to the point and tell them what you have to offer in hopes that they might buy, or you can solve their problems, at which point they will want to buy.
5. Provide specific solutions to specific needs. Remember, if there is no need there is no sale. Even when there is a need, if the prospect doesn’t connect the dots between his/her needs and your products, there won’t be a sale. Professional salespeople take the time and put forth the effort to draw a very clear picture of their product solving the prospect’s problem. They don’t leave anything to chance. They specifically link problems with solutions to create the sale. Success takes preparation, but so does everything that is worthwhile. That is what my father told me, so it must be true!