“Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked.”
A sales coach told me many years ago that the highest paid employee was a real estate sales women from the United States and that salespeople were on average, paid more than any other workers. Maybe that isn’t the case now with the top CEO’s are earning crazy money, but becoming confident and comfortable in the selling process is sure to provide opportunity for you to reap the rewards of a successful business.
Call me crazy but I enjoy selling and I know first-hand that being good at building strong client relationships and making a sale is the key to business success. From the time I left high school I have always worked in some form of sales role. When my children were small I qualified as an instructor to fit in with their needs and began teaching aerobics part time. That might not sound like a sales role but trust me when I say it was one of the toughest ‘sells’ I ever had to do as I had to convince members to be motivated enough to turn up and exercise in my classes as I was paid a bonus on head count. To complement the coaching, I was also retailing made to measure gym gear for a local manufacturer. It was the era of Jane Fonda exercise videos and flashy leotards. I made a bundle but knew the bubble would burst as gym fashions were changing.
I’ve always had big dreams and while I was studying business management and my youngest child started primary school, I first began working full time as a company sales representative. The job position on offer was commission only sales for a company selling first aid supplies. The territory I was assigned hadn’t had a person working in it effectively for a few years and there were only enough customers to provide one day’s income a week. I was meant to be working five days.
Each day involved dropping the children off early at school then driving to the other side of the city in heavy peak hour traffic to reach my territory. I had to rely on friends picking up the children in the afternoons or worried until they called if it was a day they caught a bus. The working mums will understand just how much effort it takes to organise the family before you head off to work and can I’m sure, identify with the feelings of anxiety and guilt of not being there for the children.
The problem with this is that I was busting my gut working five days a week and earning a pittance. I was away from my family all day and my husband was struggling with the extra responsibility as he was also working long hours. I was spending more being on the road than the amount I was earning.
I could see the earning potential of the position but realised I had to get much better at building my business and acquiring more quality customers if I was going to be successful. And to do this very quickly. I formed an action plan and set out on a journey of discovery of what worked, and what didn’t.
I uncovered the strategies of effectively cold-calling and acquiring more worthwhile customers. I undertook courses that provided me with new a selling skill set. I got out of my comfort zone every day. I set earning goals and developed strategies to reach them. I read and listened to books on selling. And I developed figured out what selling techniques truly worked, what techniques were representative of my value system and importantly for me meant I could remain authentic in the process.
The good news was that within the 12 months I had increased my income by over 800% and when offered the position of General Manager of Sales for the company just four years later, was able to split my territory, providing enough income for three full time representatives.
I may be a little unusual, but as I’ve already mentioned, selling for me has become a passion. I love it when a client is thrilled with what they purchased, that I’ve been able to assist them in solving a problem or achieve a new skill. If handled right, it should always be a win-win for all parties. Where everyone leaves feeling it was a gratifying experience. If handled badly though, it can not only leave a sour taste, but lead to buyer’s remorse and making it difficult to trust again.
What the average sales person and entrepreneur gets wrong is they are usually trying to make a sale at all costs but that form of selling doesn’t sit right for most people and is a technique of the past. Customers are bombarded with marketing every moment of every day and are in general, much to savvy to be ‘sold to’ anymore.
Making a sale is all about relationships and setting yourself up to be in a position where a customer wants to buy from you rather than selling to them.
I’ve met hundreds of smart women entrepreneurs who have great products, who seem to be taking all the right steps to promote their business but are still frustrated because they don’t have enough customers.
By incorporating a comprehensive suite of proven authentic selling techniques that work you can have a profitable business and not feel like a shark in the process.