Every salesperson has a big dream of exceeding sales goals, making lots of commissions or incentives, and getting the recognition among peers and executives in their organizations. The problem is when the idea of sales comes up, many of us re-live the experience of the last time we went into the car dealership. We experienced the pressure tactics of the salesperson, the constant back and forth that the salesperson goes through in going to the manager’s office to try and negotiate a deal you can’t refuse. It feels like the salesperson is selling you a car, not helping you buy one. It sounds like a subtle difference, but the emotional experience is drastically different between these two.
In my view, selling is a profession, just like being a CPA, an attorney, or a doctor. However, there’s no school, test, or designation to become a salesperson. We’ve been somewhat scarred by the sum of all the experiences we’ve had of someone trying to sell us something versus help us with a problem. Because I’ve sold professional and banking services for about 4 decades, you maybe could say that I have a PhD from the school of hard knocks in sales. If I had to simplify what I’ve learned over the years, it could be summed up in 3 critical mindsets to help people solve problems:
1. Customer-centric mindset: Salespeople who are customer-centric are focused on understanding and meeting the needs of their customers. They can build rapport and trust, and are skilled at listening and asking questions. Customer-centric salespeople are also able to tailor their sales pitch to each individual customer, and they are always looking for ways to add value.
2. Solution-oriented mindset: Salespeople with a solution-oriented mindset can identify and understand the problems that their customers are facing. They are then able to present their products or services as the best solution to those problems. Solution-oriented salespeople are also able to think creatively and come up with new and innovative ways to meet the needs of their customers.
3. Persistent mindset: Sales can be a challenging profession, and there will be times when salespeople face rejection. Salespeople with a persistent mindset can bounce back from setbacks and keep going. They are also able to stay focused on their goals and never give up.
In addition to these three mindsets, salespeople also need to have several specific skills, including:
- Communication skills: Salespeople need to be able to communicate effectively with their customers, both verbally and in writing. They need to be able to clearly articulate the benefits of their products or services and answer any questions that their customers may have.
- Listening skills: Salespeople need to be good listeners. They need to be able to hear what their customers are saying and understand their needs.
- Problem-solving skills: Salespeople need to be able to identify and solve problems for their customers. They need to be able to think creatively and come up with solutions that meet the specific needs of each customer.
- Negotiation skills: Salespeople need to be able to negotiate effectively with their customers. They need to be able to understand their customers’ needs and goals, and they need to be able to come up with win-win solutions.
Salespeople who have the right mindset and skill set are more likely to be successful in their careers. They can build strong relationships with their customers, develop innovative solutions to their problems, and overcome challenges.