How to be a salesperson and a trusted advisor.
If you are new to selling or want to become a salesperson, this list of seven guiding principles may surprise you. If you have been a salesperson for some time, and aspire to became more like a trusted advisor, how many of these principles do you adhere to?
Salespeople who do better than their peers, hold higher expectations of themselves. They set themselves the highest standards of performance and behaviour and are more often accepted as trusted advisor. For top performers, failure to meet their own high expectations motivates greater effort. Less effective peers have more fear of failure and so more caution. Improvement is the province of those who are unafraid to risk themselves beyond the boundaries that most others consider safe.
Whether it is done knowingly or unknowingly, for selfish or altruistic reasons, willingness to help others without expectation of return, creates trusted advisor relationships. Top salespeople commonly apply this to all relationships, not just those with customers. They recognise that their success rests on the support of others and that little can be achieved in isolation.
Getting honest feedback is a challenge. Even friends shrink from saying what they really think for fear of offending. Few people risk relationships in order to speak their mind. Instead, top performers measure themselves against whatever factual information is available. They love rankings, comparisons, and competitions, providing that the measurement mechanism is transparent.
Anticipation and Preparation
Salespeople often shoot from the hip, or attempt things without proper preparation. Forethought, planning, and preparation requires effort and time. The most effective sellers take the trouble to prepare themselves in advance by anticipating what will be required of them. Top performers invest more effort ahead of events or meetings because they know that choices diminish as the time of action or opportunity approaches.
Valuing Personal Integrity
Buyers expect a salesman to be reckless with the truth. They are predisposed to be suspicious about anything a salesperson says. It is only when a buyer comes to trust the sales person's integrity, that he or she can have any influence over the buyers decision. Effective salespeople are those whom buyers trust to advise them in their best interests. Some people make an art out of engendering trust without nurturing integrity to go with it. Those who take this path, quickly gain a reputation for being less than trustworthy and add to the general perception that salespeople can't be trusted. The harder path is to set oneself impeccable standards of honesty and integrity. Then actions are congruent with words. Buyers come to trust such a salesperson. In other words, those who always offer unbiased advice regardless of its potential to cost them business, enjoy the most success.
Searching for New Ideas
Commerce is nothing if not competitive. Standing still in terms of product or service innovation marks a decline in value. Effective salespeople recognise that this applies to personal knowledge, methods, and skills just as it does to products or services. They are constantly watching for new ways to become more effective.
Taking Action to Increase Personal Value
Soldiers spend most of their time training. Perhaps we all would if living depended on it. Actively seeking ways to learn and improve ability gives a salesperson a professional edge. This means taking time to read books about selling, join discussion, and attend seminars. It means finding a way to practise new ideas, acquire new skills, and develop abilities. Top sales professionals recognise the need for continuous development and act on it.
Article by Clive Miller
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