I believe that “sales is the hardest and easiest job that exists.” There is actually a book written by Bob Franco titled; Sales: The Hardest Easiest Job In The World. His book opens with the statement, “always do what you say you’re going to do.” A principle in life and in sales; this statement is the basis of what makes a good rep good and a bad rep bad.
There are several reasons salespeople fail. Either they’re too pushy (think used car salesman), lack a sense of urgency, dishonest, uneducated on their product, or they don’t build good enough relationships, the list goes on. Countless books and articles have been written about this topic, but there are two overarching reasons, I think above all else, that lead to a salesperson’s ultimate failure.
Some may argue that the hardest part of the job is getting in front of the customer. I beg to differ. When you get the opportunity to meet with a prospective client, 100% of the time you should leave that meeting with an action item (something to follow-up on). The action item(s) could be that you owe them a quote, a product brief, a demo, or at minimum – a thank you card.
It can get overwhelming when you have 15+ meetings/week to remember to follow-up on every single task discussed. Most organizations offer a CRM (Client Relationship Manager) system like Salesforce, to help their salespeople stay organized and track pipeline. Personally, I use my task bar in outlook to keep track of every customer and action item. It’s quick and most everything I do is in outlook any way.
*At the end of a long day, it’s easy to push follow-up off to the next morning. Don’t! Take the last thirty minutes or hour of each day to do follow-up. Look at your meeting notes and highlight all actions items and potential opportunities. Update your CRM system with all new sales opportunities, send information to the client you owe them, and put a task on our calendar for your next follow-up with them.
Some salespeople believe talking is selling. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you spend 45 of the 50 minutes you have with a customer, talking, what have you learned about the customer? What opportunities did you uncover? Ask questions, do your proper “probing”, then be quiet and listen. Most importantly, never ever interrupt a customer.
Be respectful. Care about your customers and care about your business. Remember that you represent an organization, not just yourself. You have a long career ahead of you and will most likely cross paths with people again.