Debayan Ganguly (Dev Ayan) is an MBA with 2 years of experience in B2B sales. He likes to write and spread his learnings through blogs.
Who is a sales person?
The definition of a salesperson is not restricted to just the people in the sales team making rounds of their clients pitching products, making sales. It goes beyond that. A salesperson is someone who offers value to someone and, in return, receives some benefits.
Let me explain it this way:
You are a student in the final year of college and are looking for a job. You give an interview, take about yourself, promise to be a valuable employee of the company and get the job.
Now, what did you do there? You provided the value of your service as an employee and benefited from the salary or career growth.
Let's go a level deeper. You are a teacher. Imparting knowledge to your students is your job. Now imagine you are teaching a bunch of unruly class. The students want only one thing - to create a ruckus. Being an extremely talented teacher, you decide to tell them a funny story about your childhood. You now have their attention.
So what do you do? You traded the value of nostalgic entertainment for their attention. Congratulations! You have done sales. You are now a successful salesperson.
Read more to find out the qualities needed in a salesperson.
Be a Good Listener
Listening is the most fundamental part of any conversation. When I started in sales, being an introvert, I hesitated to set foot in the profile. I began reading a lot, began talking to experts, and tried initiating conversations once in a while.
During these times, I learned that an essential part of any communication is 'listening'. You need to be a good listener first to be able to be an effective communicator.
In sales, too, you need to be a good listener first. You need to understand your customers' problems and curate your offerings accordingly. You need to ask a lot of questions to them to understand their pain points best and where exactly they need assistance, and how best you can help them.
I used to ask many questions and compare what's there in our offer basket to help them. They will pay attention only when you have what they need. Once I went to sell one thing, it so happened that I ended up selling another product from another vertical.
So the better listener and better empath you are, the better you will have a relationship with your client.
Listening helped me pitching products accordingly. I didn't have to talk a lot about all our services. I just needed to focus on the essential areas. This saved me a lot of time and their time, and I was able to have a brief, meaningful conversation without any pointless beating around the bush.
Learn to Jump the Gun
Most of the sales process begins with a cold call. You have a list of the potential clients curated by the employees who worked before you or your seniors. You start cold calling them, give a catchy intro, grab their attention, and go on pitching about your product. If you grab their attention in the first 10 seconds, you have them for the next 10 minutes, provided you have a good product.
Now the bottleneck in this process is the hesitation in making the call. As an introvert who had never started any conversation before, I found it very daunting to call people. I had always considered respecting people's privacy. But I realised some things in me needed a change.
I learnt to get over my hesitation by breaking down the calling process into little steps. First, dial the number. Second, wait for the person to pick up. Third, pitch. I repeated this step for every call. And I kept doing this one call at a time till the time I was used to making calls.
Another time when I used to travel for a meeting, mostly my clients used to be industrial clients located in an industrial area. I made a note of all the industries in the vicinity, and after I was done meeting, I used to visit those companies without an appointment. Often, I couldn't cross the threshold of security guards, but there were a few times when I was allowed in, the people of the company gave me an audience.
So in sales, you will have a minimal conversion rate. That shouldn't stop you from taking a bold step now and then.
The world is divided on whether possessiveness is suitable for a relationship or not. As far as Sales goes, it is proven to be good.
As a salesperson, it is your responsibility to build a relationship with your clients. The more clients you have, it becomes imperative to have a good relationship with everyone. It would be best if you never let go of your valuable customers. They are your pride possessions.
It may so happen that your competitors may have a better product at a cheaper rate, and you fear your client may choose their product above yours. So will you let your customers go? Certainly not.
Now how can you retain them?
Because you are not into production, the product is not in your hands. You can put forth a query to improve the product. But there's no guarantee of it being heeded to.
Instead, you can tell your clients about how much you value them, how you have been listening to their issues and solving their problems for a long time. If the relationship is good enough, your client will stay with you by virtue of your good reputation.
If the client is relatively new, try giving discounts. This method is the cheapest and easiest way to retain your customer, but not the best way. Your company may see you in poor light after the revenue from you reduces. So the best thing is not to reduce it too much.
The other thing you can do here is providing some other product, try cross-selling a product that your competitor will not be having. By doing this, you will ensure the trust of your customer. You will be able to establish yourself as a worthy player in the industry. Another thing you can do is provide market insights and other relevant info to establish yourself as a mini-though leader.
What not to do? Never, I repeat, NEVER bad mouth your competitor. Your customer can understand that you are desperate and have no better options. You will portray a poor picture of you and the company you represent.
Have a Thick Skin
If you are into sales, you might as well say goodbye to your ego, and at times self-respect. It happened many times with me, and I will be honest; initially, it was challenging to accept the responses I received.
I remember cold-calling one of my potential clients one day during the first week of my job. He was the first person I called. After picking up, I realised the person on the other side wasn't having a great day. He was at his worst behaviour and began abusing me for doing my job. And the language he used was a shocker.
I immediately blocked his number and deleted his details from the database. That day didn't go well, and to this day, I remember how shocked I was.
That episode was one of the many ones that followed in my career. I got an appointment from a client, and I travelled to his place, changing public transport thrice, skipping breakfast, and what did I find upon reaching there? The person hasn't reached the office. I had to wait for hours to be able to meet them.
Initially, this behaviour bothered me—a lot. But I learnt over time that if I pay any heed to them, my job will suffer. So I focussed on ignoring them. I stopped minding when someone made me wait for hours after giving an appointment. There were some excellent clients as well. They invited me to a meeting and were cordial throughout the time. Some even offered me lunch.
So yes, there are bad days in sales, there are worse days, and then there are some good days that make you feel satisfied for choosing this career. The joy of signing a client feels lovely. Knowing that you have won over the trust of the opposite person is worth all the lows you had to pass through to reach here.
Market Intelligence precedes Your Intelligence
Data is the coal of the 21st century, and in your field, data need not be restricted to large excel sheets occupying your D drive. You need to take some subjective information about the market you are in that can only be assimilated by the human brain.
As a salesperson, you need to be aware of the events unfolding in your industry. You need to make connections so strong that you are always on top of the information.
You need to know what your competitor is doing, their marketing strategy, their way of dealing with clients, whom they are meeting, their prices, everything.
To establish such a robust intel circuit, you need to spend a considerable amount of time in the market. To ensure no one forgets you, you need to:
1. Stay in touch with all your potentials whether or not they have become your clients.
2. Try to politely ask what other offers they have got from other companies in your domain.
3. Keep talking about the latest development in the market. Be updated with the changing policies and change your communication statement accordingly. You will know if your competitors have done the same or not from the clients themselves.
These Market Informations leads to Market Intelligence that will give shape to your marketing strategy and sales strategy.
So you have read about the essential traits that you need to have for having an edge over others in sales. All the above points are easy to implement but needs a lot of patience and dedication
Even in your personal lives whenever you are trying to make any transaction, you can have these traits to make that deal possible. You need to be shameless while promoting yourself in that job interview, you need to deviate from the syllabus to have an undying attantion from your students.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Dev Ayan