Successful selling is about 95% your attitude toward yourself. Not so much about your attitude toward your prospect, your attitude toward your product or service, or your attitude toward your boss and peers.
If you have ever worked in sales, thought about working in sales, or even considered the possibility, I am sure that you have heard that attitude is everything. Those may not be the precise words used, but the word attitude is nearly always front and center when discussing or dealing with salespeople. Am I right? There have been countless books written on the subject of attitude and the importance of attitude in selling. But attitude isn’t simply about running around with a smile on your face while masking uncertainties, insecurities, or even fears about what you are selling, who you are selling to, or even doubts about yourself.
As I discuss in my article Baby Steps, each small step is easier to confront and learn than thinking of selling your product or service as a whole. The Baby Steps article discusses the technical aspect of learning each step to a successful sales close, and the importance of each step to the whole.
But attitude precedes that, doesn’t it? Absolutely, yes. However, the two aspects work hand-in-hand. A successful salesperson has to be able to see himself or herself actually closing the sale in advance of meeting with the prospect. The successful salesperson thinks and feels through the end result while applying each step to its logical conclusion, before moving on to the next step.
That’s what a good selling attitude is – a foregone conclusion. And that’s what I mean by your attitude toward yourself. Can you see yourself closing the sale?
Let’s take a look at how we get to that point, the pitfalls, and how to maintain it.
An individual’s ability to think and feel from the end result is something that is sometimes difficult to detect in an interview. You can’t ask it directly because the answer is often skewed by the applicants desire to tell you what he or she thinks that you want to hear. The interviewer detects this characteristic as well as possible and moves the salesperson from recruit to trainee. The trainer then teaches the step-by-step approach and cultivates the concept of thinking and feeling from the end result with each step of training. When training is complete you should see the expectant enthusiasm within the new salespeople.
New direct salespeople should be given four to five leads/appointments before significant retraining. They need to become a little comfortable with executing the selling plan before the sales manager or team leader rides along as an observer. During this initial four or five appointment learning curve in the real world, some salespeople will usually close sales and others won’t. Individual follow-up critiques should be performed as necessary and a group sales meeting should be held within a week. The comradery the salespeople gained during training will begin to feed on itself as they join together for the first time since their trial by fire began.
There is obviously more to it than the two paragraphs above, but this abbreviated version should give you an idea of how training in the selling system helps cultivate the necessary attitude for direct selling. This is the start of how we get our salespeople to the point of thinking from the end while applying the steps at the beginning.
The pitfalls could be any number of things, so I’ll give a few examples that frustrate salespeople and will help define the general category.
While salespeople are not necessarily the most important aspect of the selling system, they almost always need to think they are in order to perform at the top of their skill level. It is both an element of attitude and a responsibility that is shouldered, e.g. without sales, nothing else in the organization progresses. Anything that frustrates this concept of attitude/responsibility must be avoided.
For example, after sale customer service must help make the customer feel like the most important customer that the company has (think Amazon, but not necessarily how easy you can get a refund from Amazon). The people that set the appointments must be courteous while at the same time doing everything possible to insure that the importance of the appointment is impressed on the prospect, to help insure that the prospect is available when the salesperson arrives. The people that deliver and/or install the product, or provide the service, must look and act the part of this same model of professionalism. And finally, when something does go wrong, the urgency to mediate the issue must become the top priority for those involved, and the remedy must be fair and swift.
Everything about the selling system must lead to this same result. As I detail in my article Average Is Not Acceptable:
Belief is your number one enemy… or your closest friend. A selling system marked by excellence is not words on pieces of paper, training manuals, cool-looking samples, or the right kind of leads. It is a powerful, workable system combined with the beliefs and attitudes of everyone involved.Brad Barton
Lastly, maintaining this attitude of excellence is the responsibility of everyone involved in the selling system. Sales management must nurture the attitude of excellence among the sales people. Customer service must excel at treating every prospect and customer as though they are the most important. Administrative staff must be accurate, cordial, and interested in the expedient delivery of the product or service. Credit department staff must provide financing products that give the organization a competitive advantage. Installation, delivery, and/or service staff must be professional, competent, and personable. All of these things, and more, remove frustration from salespeople and assist the growth of the company.
You get the idea.
Maintaining the attitude of excellence throughout the selling system is a process. It is either constantly improving or constantly deteriorating, and that is why I say that it is the responsibility of everyone involved. The better one becomes at the vigilance required, the easier it is to think from the end product or delivery forward to the aspect one is responsible for. And that’s why it’s a process. There is almost always something that can be improved upon, or made to function better in some way.
This article specifically deals with direct selling and direct selling systems (direct selling sales funnels). If you found your way here while looking for web-based sales funnels please click here for the hands-down, definitive web-based sales funnel solution.