Question: I’m enjoying your book, but wonder if you ever come across people who are reluctant to sell their company’s product, and who don’t necessarily believe in what they are selling? This is an issue where staff have been drafted into telesales from other areas of the business where their skills are no longer needed. Any thoughts on how to tackle this?
Answer: Not everyone who finds themselves in sales set out to be there. I would definitely class myself as an ‘accidental sales person’ in that it wasn’t something that I set out to make a career of. But what if you find yourself in a selling environment where you don’t fully believe in the product or service you are providing? Or perhaps simply don’t believe that you should be selling or that you are any good at it? What can you do in these situations to maximise your success?
I should say that it helps dramatically to believe in what you are selling and to believe in your own abilities: self-belief is at the very heart of effectiveness along with self-awareness. But there are practical steps you can and should take if you find yourself in this situation outlined above on the basis that your mind-set and beliefs impact your behaviours which will impact your results.
Firstly, you can only change that of which you are aware. You need to stop and ask yourself what do you believe about either the sales aspect of your role or about the product or service you are selling. Clearly, it is best not to sell something that you feel is unethical or which you fundamentally disagree with but there are a lot of instances where your feelings won’t be so extreme. Once you are aware consciously of exactly how you feel you can do something with it.
A key to success is not to simply try and put the belief behind you and ignore it – that will rarely work. Also, it is unlikely to help if you simply choose to tell yourself that the product or service is great. The challenge is to think about what you can believe (something that could also really be true for you) about the product or service that would be more helpful and so that you can still remain authentic.
For example, if you were selling car insurance and did not feel positive about it, you could choose to think about the fact that the insurance would give people peace of mind or help others who’s vehicle might have been damaged in a crash. If you choose to hold that more positive thought in your mind as you engage with the activity of selling it will make you more resourceful and lead to more positive results.
Another thing that can help is setting activity based goals. Set goals around the specific things you need to do (even if they are things that you don’t want to do) to make the sale (number of calls, number of conversations or meetings etc.) and give yourself a small reward when you have hit them. Often, these small things help keep you focused and motivated.
So, mind-set is critical for sales success but in those cases where a positive mind-set doesn’t come naturally, you can take conscious action that will enhance your results and your experience. As with any skill though, it takes practice…
Do you agree? Let us know your experiences, we read all of the comments.