I have been doing sales training thing for over three decades, and I still laugh that I get paid to consult in such an incredible industry. Over that period of time, I have easily trained over 700,000 salespeople and am still amazed each day at what I encounter and how simple this profession can be.
Most salespeople again and again want to be referred to as professionals but have never read a book (it’s said that over 90 percent of the sales people in the U.S. have never bought a book on sales) or attended a seminar on sales that was at least half a day long. The actual learning curve when it comes to the science of selling is almost zero.
With that said, the really important skills needed to sell are already baked into us as kids. We have these qualities as children, but we tend to lose them as we grow up. For instance, an average six-year-old will ask almost 300 questions a day, while the average college student only asks about 30 per day.
- are full of energy
- have great desire
- are honest
- are enthusiastic
- are relentless
- do not know the word “no”
- have no fears
- are sincere
- are determined
- are fun
- want to play – all the time
- ask tons of questions
Bottom line: Kids are natural learners, and they go from the gut. They are playful and, above all, naturally curious. They are not trying to “sell to” or “con” the other person. They just want them to think on the same terms they do and typically want things “right now,” which is a wonderful sense of urgency.
Imagine being able to take these straightforward qualities and temper them a bit for an adult who can think before they react, slow down and really care about the other person or the customer!
People always ask me the skills or qualities of the “best of the best” salespeople or the salespeople who are at the top of their game.
Answer: Empathy and Desire
Kids have those skills in their own childlike manner. The premier salespeople really do care about the customer. They will not oversell them or even contemplate selling them something they do not need. In addition, the top salespeople have a sense of urgency, which means making additional sales calls to existing customers or even new business sales calls.
It really is not all that complicated, but it does take instruction to learn and practice these skills so they are not just subconscious (like for kids) but proactive and using clear thought, as adults.
There is so much more to cover, but this is a good starting point. Sales trainers like myself have at least 18 hours of information to provide in a live seminar, and reading this article only covers about 18 minutes.
So, what should your game plan be?
- Read at least one sales book per year by a top-notch sales trainer.
- Go to at least one sales training seminar per year through your local chamber of commerce or professional association.
- Go online and read articles on sales from the leaders in the industry, such as Jeffrey Gitomer, Brian Tracey, Tom Hopkins, and many, many others.
- Just keep learning your profession, which is sales.
I have always said that I would not go to a self-taught doctor, so why would anyone work with a self-taught salesperson?
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service and the author of numerous business books, including two national bestsellers, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” His newest book on sales is “Ultimate Sales Book.”