The connotations of a sales job can range from anything to sitting on the phone all day trying to sell old ladies household furnishings to big wig city guys, and the money they can bring in can be just a varied. At the end of the day no matter what your own personal opinion is of sales, it’s a solid career: people are always going to want to sell their products or services.
So what is selling? You probably do it in some form or another in your job. Whether it’s convincing your client to give you that extra budget or convincing your boss to give you a raise and if you’re clever and careful you can be successful. If you’re selling for a living your job is basically to help someone make up their mind as to whether your product is right for them and guide them through the purchasing process.
The first step to becoming successful in sales is to have an absolute belief in your product and a completely comprehensive knowledge of it. If you don’t believe in it, you’re going to struggle convincing anyone else to have faith in it to. Every product or service has a USP (unique selling point); this is what will make you stand out from your competitors. The best trick with your USP is to ask your potential client if it would be of use to them first, then you can incorporate it into your sales pitch. If they’re not interested in your USP you know not to base your whole sales pitch on it.
Next you need to get to the decision maker. The decision maker in any organisation is likely to have a very well trained PA or secretary who doesn’t let sales calls through. Cold calling is a very common job in many sales roles and not one that’s looked particularity favorably on. If you can, send out a letter first introducing yourself and your product. The letter shouldn’t be pushy it should just be informative. Finish the letter by saying you’ll call to follow up the next day or two. When you call, ask for the person by name and give your name. Only give your company if asked and always say they’ll know what it’s in connection to (you did send the letter). If pushed, simply explain it’s in response to your previous correspondence. The worst thing you can do is spout out who you are and where you’re calling from the second someone answers the phone; you’ll sound like a sales call before you’ve even started selling.
You need to have the right attitude before you pick up the phone. Your objective is to simply get a meeting not the sale. It’s easier to sell to someone face to face rather than over the phone. If you know when you pick the phone up you’re not under pressure to sell anything you’ll feel more comfortable which will come across in your voice.
The biggest obstacle you’re going to face in a sales role is the word “no.” This tiny two letter word has such an amazing power and can often leave you feeling discouraged. What you should always remember is that the word no doesn’t have a finite shelf life. It may simply be a case of your product or service isn’t right for them today, next week or next year it might be exactly what they’re looking for. Economies and industries are changing faster than they ever had. Don’t be pushy, if they’ve said no at the moment you’re unlikely to change their mind. Stay friendly and try to keep in touch with them (without bombarding them with emails every week). If they’re ever in the market for your product or service you’ll be kept in mind.
This is a guest post from Kim, a worker at CarPress.com, the UK’s best online resource for used car buyers and car reviews.