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The “Think Differently” Sales Tip
Sales drive revenues and revenues drive companies. Companies, then, are only as good as their sales people. In a society that has become increasingly immune to typical sales pitches, competition for consumer dollars has reached a fever pitch. Consumers are inundated daily with various versions of sales propositions: email, cold calls, fliers and brochures, special offers, Internet banners and offers, you name it. How can you expect to compete in this environment?
One simple but effective method: Fire your sales people. Most sales personnel stink anyway. This action doesn’t reflect their character as people, but rather their ability to increase company revenues. And most sales people (even if they are nice people) do a horrible job at this. Think about it: When was the last time you went shopping, or out to your favourite restaurant, and encountered a terrific sales person? If you have trouble recalling, you’re not alone.
As consumers, we are immune to bad service, as long as the product is adequate. We put up with annoying sales people who are pushy and impersonal because we want the outfit. We rationalize away bad service at our favourite restaurant because the food was good (when the waiter finally got the order correct!). We don’t think twice when we encounter a lazy sales person who really doesn’t enjoy his or her job. It doesn’t have to be like this. If you truly want to improve sales within your company, fire your current sales people, and then hire true sales people. How do you know the difference?
- People that are “true” sales people value relationships first and sales second. They are cordial, pleasant, and well-meaning.
- People that are “true” sales people seek to satisfy the customer, not their boss. There is a huge difference!
- People that are “true” sales people are internally motivated rather than motivated by sales rewards or incentives.
- People that are “true” sales people are easily found in crowds. They are naturally gregarious, and most likely bring out the best in you during your interactions with them.
So, what do you do if firing your sales people is not an option? At the very least, improve your current hiring policy. No amount of company training can make up for the fact that an individual is not cut out to be in sales. Another idea: work to reassign those in your sales force whose skills are better utilized elsewhere. My recommendation is to evaluate your current sales staff in regards to their people skills. You’ll find that many of your sales people would be better placed within your company – behind a cubicle.
Leif Smith, Psy.D., President of Personal Best Consulting, LLC, has worked with athletes and coaches from The University of Iowa, The Ohio State University, and the College of Wooster. He specializes in improving performance and production, and has also worked with corporations such as America Online. Subscribe to the free monthly email newsletter, "Personal Bests: Techniques for Living an Extraordinary Life" when visiting his Web site at www.personalbestconsulting.com.
Published in Networking Today, April 2004.
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