I’ve met a lot of salespeople during my career–whether it was working with vendors who were pitching media products to me while I worked at an advertising agency or working closely with my colleagues on the magazine sales team at Johnson Publishing Company, there were several distinguishable characteristics that they all shared. My experience with them taught me many lessons and tools that I am able to utilize today as a small business owner. Below are the top three things I learned:
Understand your audience.
Successful salespeople make an effort to know whom they will be speaking with, prior to new business meetings. Whenever I attended meetings with my colleagues, we researched the company, the brands they represented, and their activity in the marketplace. Having an understanding of our audience led to better conversations, which led to the prospective clients realizing our genuine interest.
Business Tip 1
No matter the industry you are in, always show up prepared. Do your research. Understand your target audience. You may not be attending business meetings, but you may be speaking to prospective clients via a blog, social media, and/or you may be creating a special experience for them in your physical establishment. Essentially, leverage moments where you interact with prospective clients, as opportunities to engage with them through meaningful content and/or presentations and environments that appeal to their senses.
No is more common than yes.
In sales, it is common to have a prospective client tell you no and that they aren’t interested in your product. There could be several reasons; they don’t have the budget, it’s not the best time, or it isn’t the right product for them. A good salesperson will take note of the reason for the no and continue on to the next client–without the loss of any enthusiasm.
Business Tip 2
Hearing no should be your motivation to push yourself even harder in your next business pitch. If you are confident in your sales pitch, product, and/or service, continue on. If you feel like your sales pitch, product, and/or service may need some more work, invest more time into them.
Relationships are key.
Good salespeople have an amazing ability to build strong relationships with clients. Often, clients want to feel a personal connection to those people who are receiving their money for the purchase of a product or service. With so many options available, sometimes a positive relationship may help a client choose you instead of another vendor. When clients trust you, they are more likely to give you their business.
Business Tip 3
Find a way to connect with your clients. Engage in friendly and appropriate conversation with them about topics other than business. Share info on who you are. Remember important dates and find a way to support their personal successes or achievements. Some vendors give gifts or offer free or discounted services for birthdays. As you build relationships, be authentic in your approach.
While there are many more lessons that could be shared, the last note would be that salespeople are resilient, personable, and brand ambassadors who have learned the art of closing the deal. As small business professionals, these traits are also important as you pursue success in your career.
Wishing you all the best, business rock stars!
Do you have tips you’ve learned from working or interacting with sales professionals? Tweet them to me @bestrategicPR with #SmallBiz #LessonsLearned.
Photo Credit: #WOCinTech Chat