I have spoke to hundreds of sales people in the small business sales industry over the last few years and
I have found that every one of these sales people was held back from their full potential because of one of these three things. Either they lacked the knowledge to sell, they lacked the motivation to apply that knowledge or they were simply scared of what might happen in the field. Here are some tips to help you overcome these devastating weaknesses in order to increase your sales and income.
#1 – Knowledge – This one always surprises me. You would think that a person who has decided to dedicate their full time effort to the sales profession would have read dozens of books, listened to audio programs and gone to training seminars and yet I find that
the vast majority of sales professionals spend less than a few hours each month investing in their knowledge of sales. If this describes you, it is time to re-engage and increase your knowledge. I believe that sales skills can be learned and must be earned, so turn off the radio and turn on the audio programs! Read or re-read Tom Hopkins book on “Mastering the Art of Sales” and Brian Tracy’s book, “Mastering the Art of Closing” and
you will see an immediate impact on your income.
#2 – Motivation – Knowing how to sell and selling are two very different things. This is especially true with an independent sales position. If you are just feeling flat out lazy as we all feel from time to time, here are a couple tips.
Let accountability be your friend. Too often sales people leave jobs because they “don’t want to have a boss” and although this independent spirit can be a good thing, it can also lead to a belief that you don’t need any structure or accountability to succeed and that is not true. Everyone needs someone that they respect who is holding them accountable so seek out a person who will hold you accountable to your goals. A mentor and a written schedule will go a long way towards improving your motivation.
Treat yourself like a 5 year old. I know this sounds a little strange but I can’t tell you how many times I got through my day by making myself a promise to take an hour off and eat an ice cream cone while listening to an interesting book after I walked into 20 businesses. Give yourself rewards but place conditions on them and get your friends and family involved to provide accountability and encouragement. Have something you look forward to each day that is contingent on performance criteria like prospecting numbers.
Pay yourself by the hour. If you have a little bit of money and you are having a difficult time getting your spouse or family to support and encourage you to get out in the field, stop paying yourself commission and instead, pay yourself $20 per hour you spend in the field and use a time tracker on your phone to record your hours. Every week, show your spouse your schedule from that week and the resulting check from your business account to the personal account. Each month, you can give yourself a sales bonus of any extra money left after the $20 per hour for field time.
Set morning appointments with business owners. I always tried to have at least two morning appointments every day. This made me get out in the field. It is so effective to simply put something in your schedule that ensures you have to get out of bed, get dressed and talk to a prospect. The first two prospecting visits are always the most difficult.
#3 – Courage – Many times we have the knowledge and we are passionate about what we are doing, but we find ourselves scared to walk into a business and talk to someone. This is almost always because of our expectations and self worth. So, let me address both of these important issues.
Imagine you are on the roof of a building 40 stories up and 30 feet away is another roof top that is also 40 stories up. Stretching across this 30 feet is a solid steel beam that is 6″ deep and 12″ across. Your task is to walk from one building to the other with a 40 story drop beneath you. How do you feel about this task?
Now imagine the same steel beam sitting on the ground in an open field. It is 12″ wide, 6″ deep and sitting on the ground and your task is to walk across it. How do you feel about this task now? These two tasks are exactly the same, the only difference is the risk. If you fail at the first task, you will die. If you fail at the second task, you will step off the beam into an open field and get right back on it to complete the task. Your odds of failing are the same in both cases it is the consequences of failing that have changed.
In the same way, sales professionals play up in their mind what “might” happen at a prospecting visit. They think about how much they need the commission. They think about how their family is depending on them and how they promised their spouse that they would make at least one sale this week. They think about how they need to buy some things for their kids and save up some money for vacation. Before you know it, their entire life and self worth is on the line before they walk into a business and if this prospect says no, they might as well quit and do something else! What happened to this simple prospecting call? They elevated it to 40 stories up.
The most effective way to gain courage is to lower your expectations. When you walk into a business, don’t think about yourself at all. Think about the prospect and how you can help them. Think about how much you would enjoy talking to this business owner and learning about their business. Realize that if they don’t want to talk with you, it is their loss not yours because you will simply move on the next prospect but they will miss an opportunity to improve their business.
I hope these short little tips help you overcome the 3 weaknesses of sales professionals in every industry!
Have a great day in the field,
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