Business Operations

Olsen on Sales: One-Trick Pony

Sports talk about “complete” players. Baseball calls them “five-tool” players: hit for average, for power, speed, fielding and a gun for an arm. Basketball calls them “two-way” or complete players: defend, rebound, pass and score. Athletes who are complete are rare. As are salespeople.

Sports talk about “complete” players. Baseball calls them “five-tool” players: hit for average, for power, speed, fielding and a gun for an arm. Basketball calls them “two-way” or complete players: defend, rebound, pass and score. Athletes who are complete are rare. As are salespeople.

It is better for our long-term mental health and our financial future to work on our complete sales game. Many of us are great at certain aspects of sales—we are a one-trick pony—but are lacking in others. The part(s) we aren’t working on are holding us back.

 

Charm

Charm is a competitive advantage. I cannot emphasize this enough. Charm is a rare commodity and makes us stand out in the best way possible. When we talk about charm, we are not talking about “not being obnoxious.” We are talking about being what I call “actively nice.” Some people are naturals. Most of us are not. We can be charming but not all the gosh darn time!

Charm is a combination of confidence and niceness. If we are only confident, we come off as arrogant. If we are only nice, we come off as weak. Arrogance and weakness are easy to say no to, while charm is just the opposite!

Putting our best foot forward, with everyone, all the time, can be a challenge. Sellers who struggle with being charming fall into two camps. There are those who are nervous. It is difficult or impossible to be charming when we’re on edge. The second group is naturally standoffish. They just don’t see or feel the need for all this small talk.

If you are nervous, prepare more. Practice what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, over and over until you can say it in your sleep.

I was part of the standoffish group for the first seven grueling years of my career. Life is a mirror. When I warmed up, so did my customers and of course they bought a lot more. If you are standoffish, get over yourself and warm up. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People gives detailed instructions on how to be charming. Read it and do it.

 

Hard Work

The #1 reason for failure in sales, and the second reason is too far back to see without a telescope, is lack of hard work. Most sellers who succeed work just hard enough (so think about how little those who fail do), while those who dominate work much, much harder than the average.

A minimum of 50 prepared, promotional outbound sales calls per day for inside sales. Outside sales should see between six and 12 customers depending on distance.  Preparation is key but absolutely necessary for outside salespeople. Most outside salespeople that struggle have too many “gaps” in their day.

 

Sales Skills

Most sellers are presenting product and letting the customer decide. Most sellers are nervous and/or unprepared to present much less close.

Master sellers:

  • Have command presence—the ability to project and imbue confidence in others.
  • Find and present value in an organized and convincing way.
  • Have the guts and know how to ask for the order several times per call.
  • Can overcome objections and close.
  • Are world-class business developers/prospectors. Their first calls are flawless. They bring in new business.
  • Are charming throughout the process.

 

Risk Tolerance & Opinion Giving

If you are a trader/broker, your ability to take risks, reading and taking advantage of the market for your customers, is an advantage. Master traders take the time to understand their markets. They study spreads, historic data, and ask a lot of questions. Master traders have an opinion and sell that opinion. Many sellers are afraid of being wrong, so they never have an opinion. This leaves a valuable arrow in the quiver. Customers need information and will pay for it. Are master traders wrong? Sure, but they are right about 87% of the time, which is valuable.

I challenge us all to take our careers to the next level by working on one or more of these parts of our game.

 

 

 

 

 

James Olsen

James Olsen is the founder of Reality Sales Training, Portland, Or. After 20 years in sales with Nike, North Pacific Lumber, and Forest City Trading, in 2001 James started his own sales training business, devoted to helping companies and individuals achieve rapid sales growth. Contact him at (503) 544-3572 or james@realitysalestraining.com.

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