Could you be doing (much) better?
We work with hundreds of sales people across many industry and company types and what we see everywhere, is sales people that have a much higher opinion of their own sales skill than what we observe.
That's right, sales people everywhere think they are pretty skilled but when we test their conversation skill more that 80% display poor skills and very few test well.
Most sales people fail at the most basic activities; they fail to say the right thing in the right way to prospective and current customers. Its that simple, they routinely say the wrong things in the email, telephone and face-to-face conversations!
Wouldn't you like to say the right thing in the right way? What would that do for your sales career?
Why not browse our public sales development courses and see how to fix this problem? There are free modules you can trial and who knows, maybe your boss will let you expense the course cost? They are very reasonably priced.
Your Personal Sales Journey
Despite what we said in the previous section, are for sales people!
It's a tough job and almost everyone that finds themselves selling got there by accident and hardly any sales people get enough training.
For me, that was certainly the case. Back in 1996, I was working in England in the oil and gas industry as a petrophysicist, that's someone who understands the physics of hydrocarbons in rocks.
My career and identity to that point was defined by my technical knowledge but when I was asked to take on a sales role and move to Norway, I was torn. I loved to travel but didn't want to sell - I didn't see selling as an honourable profession. However, the lure of travel and an assurance that the role would be 'good for my career' had me flying to Norway with my eight-month pregnant wife and our two year old son.
In my first year of selling I 'won' a very significant deal. It was the first multi-year multi-country contract for my company's new software platform. I was a hero but now I know that I was extremely fortunate. I happened to meet a customer that was a consummate mobiliser. My customer 'coach' was the person who really closed the deal. My second piece of good fortune was working for a company that believed in training and trained me in sales.
Like most sales people, I was happy to mistake personal skill for luck and I went on to manage sales teams throughout Europe and by 2002 was managing a sales team in Russia when it was time to come home to Australia after seventeen years of international travel.
We chose to live in Melbourne, a city where I had almost no contacts and as it turns out, almost no prospects of oil and gas employment. After a few months I was getting concerned that I may never find work.
So I rearranged my resume to focus on sales experience and got a BD role in telecommunications equipment supply selling 3G mobile network equipment. I like to joke that, I was well qualified for the role apart from having no experience in telecommunications, my company's products and services or my major telecoms customer! Looking back, I'm pretty sure it was the stories I told about my sales successes that got me that job.
Having successfully changed industry once, I saw no reason to stop there and I went on to run sales teams in facilities services and industrial sales not to mention a couple of forays back into oil and gas and telecommunications with different companies.
Every industry, every company and every sales team is a class room and in twenty years of sales and sales leadership across five industries I'm always learning and looking for repeatable success factors. And that is why we have created our sales development platform - so you can learn from our mistakes without having to make them yourself!
Mike Adams, Melbourne November 2016
A Roadmap for your Sales Journey
Here is our advice
- Take all the training opportunities you can
- Be a student of sales! Read books and blog articles but read them with a critical mind, there's plenty of conflicting advice - much of it self-serving. For example, beware the guru who sells social media sales training and preaches that 'cold calling is dead'. Don't be taken in. You'll find a list of recommended books here.
- Carefully observe top performing sales people in your company. Ask if you can join them on calls, or sit next to them when they are telephoning - its highly instructive!
- Seek out new challenges, every territory, every role change, every company is an opportunity to learn
So, I wish you good luck and good skill!