Thinking like a sales guy…
• The art of selling has today transformed itself into a scientific discipline – with proven, powerful strategies.
• You can use these strategies to promote your own brand just as the professional sales reps build their company’s brand.
• Use the 5 step process outlined here to renew your image and promote your personal brand.
Are sales reps who promote their products manipulative birds of prey who feed on others weaknesses?
No. The best sales people who close multimillion dollar deals for large corporations inspire absolute trust and in turn their clients see them as partners not sales guys. The bad name to ‘sales’ comes from those amateur sales guys – the losers – who are out to make a quick buck and these are the people who act as pushy, low-life liars.
A truly successful sales rep is a highly qualified professional who uses well planned strategies to meet his goals. We can learn a lot by understanding how he uses modern tools to close large deals and make money for himself.
The Science Of Selling
The art of selling has transformed itself today into a well researched science discipline. Crowd-Sourcing, Behavioral Analysis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Transactional Analysis and many other studies provide a sales person with powerful tools. These tools today quickly transform a rookie sales rep into a competent professional who inspires trust and can promote his company’s brand effectively.
In the past, to be successful in sales, you had to be a ‘born sales rep’, with the right genes. Today, the powerful tools mentioned above are distilled into a sales strategy which empowers an introvert, college grad to perform miracles. He doesn’t need to become an extrovert nor does he need to be any good at ‘working’ a roomful of strangers. All he needs to do is to use this ‘sales strategy’ – based on scientific studies – which guarantees success.
So what Is This ‘Scientific’ Sales Strategy Which you Can Apply To your Personal Brand?
Here are the five steps in a scientific sales strategy which you can use anywhere in professional career journey.
#1. Identify Your Customers
Who are the people to whom you want sell your ‘image’? Who are these people who can influence your career growth?
If you are looking for a job, then the target company’s hiring managers and his influencers are your prospective customers. If you are an employee in a company then your manager, your colleagues whom you help and your subordinates are your prospective customers. If you are an entrepreneur then people who buy your products and services are your target customers.
#2. Group Your Customers
Group your customers into different categories based on their ability to influence your personal growth.
All of us wear multiple hats. So you would in all probability have a mix of the above ‘customers’. It’s been proven that a successful employee is one who is not only popular among his company’s customers but is one who is also perceived as competent by his own management. Thus you need to specially focus on your organization’s employees – your managers, people who influence them, your own direct reports who talk about you.
• Remember that everyone has some hidden agenda – goals which may not be immediately obvious. Try to uncover the ‘real issues’.
• Ask open ended questions to discover the pains which you can then target. Always remember to ask questions.
• Do not be afraid of asking questions. Questions flatter your ‘customers’ and show your interest. Your managers feel that you value their advice and your questions get them talking. In an interview your well placed questions show your interest, sagacity and the research you have done.
• Example Questions: What are your goals for this year? Are there special initiatives that you are working on which I can help with? How can we leverage the open source technologies to reduce cost?
• Your questions need to be based on extensive research you have done on a company or the person you are talking with. We guide CareerTNT clients in doing this research quickly and effectively.
Discover your customers ‘pains’ and needs.
Everyone wants something which may not be immediately obvious to you since they may not be ready to spell it out for you. Ask questions!
Qualify the opportunity and create an up-front agreement
Verify that the ‘prospect’ you are talking with is indeed a possible customer. Does he or she has the ability to influence your career progress? Do not discard the ability of peers and subordinates in spreading the good word about you. They can form a part of a support group for you.
It is also important to identify people who are NOT your customers. Do not waste time on ‘prospects’ who do not have a positive attitude, are habitual whiners and are not well respected in your organization. They do not have the ‘money’ to buy your ‘product’. The ‘product’ is of course YOU!
Upfront Agreement: Both you and your customer must be clear about the benefits you get when you deliver the goods. Make sure you bring it up with your manager if he is your ‘customer’. There is no point in providing free service.
Match your service or product to your prospective customer’s pain.
If you are applying for a job then this means that you speak about the target company’s KBRs (key business requirements) and how your experience can help them. Your resume should propose how you will solve their problem instead of merely listing your credentials!
If you are an employee then this means that you identify special initiatives which your manager has been entrusted with by his manager and then position yourself to help in those initiatives. This also implies understanding the KBRs of your own company and aligning your trainings and self-development to be a part of the solution. Is your company launching a new product? You may want to be on the front line of that project. Is the development team working on a new intiative? You may want to be a part of that team.
Finally, we conclude with a quote by Lou Holtz – the renowned football coach and motivational speaker – “You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be.”