During the 1960s and 70s, there wasn’t a more impressive sports dynasty than the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team, led by legendary Coach John Wooden. Between 1964 and 1975, the Bruins won 10 national championships and regularly recruited top prospects like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.
As great as those teams were and as talented as their roster was, one would assume that Wooden focused on winning 24/7; however, he never mentioned winning – in fact, all Coach Wooden worked on was his process and the fundamentals. Case in point: The first exercise of the first practice every year, Wooden would teach players how to properly put on socks and tie their shoes, because until a player can properly equip their feet, they are not going to be able to do anything else, no matter how talented they are.
Although I spend most of my workdays teaching sales professionals about the finest details of every tiny step in the selling process, I am the first to admit that the fundamentals need to be met. I can speak for hours about the first four minutes of a sales call or the art of properly asking questions to spark a dialogue; however, if a salesperson is not practicing the fundamentals, the instruction will be wasted.
5 Building Blocks of a Successful Salesperson
Paying attention to the finer details will bring greatness; however, that greatness in not achievable without the building blocks. Before tackling complex sales, it is essential that all salespeople practice the following five fundamental behaviors:
1. Be proactive. I have listed this before the others because of timing. The other four fundamental behaviors that have been relevant to selling for centuries; however, salespeople have adapted to become responsive account managers today.
While being proactive was a manner of existing before, today it is a unique, yet fundamental skill. Proactively connecting with prospects, proactively finding problems and solutions for customers, and proactively delivering unsolicited ideas are concepts reserved only for the bold and great salespeople today. Being proactive is a fundamental upon which greatness is built.
2. Listen. Do you listen? No, do you really listen to your customers? Do you turn off your phone? Are you completely focused in the moment and listening to the meaning behind your customers’ words? Our dopamine-addicted world of instant notifications has created a society that brags about multi-tasking and “winging it” during presentations – do not be that person. The fundamental skill of listening is paramount to serving customers and lifting salespeople to greatness.
3. Be friendly. It is simple – people do not buy from people they do not like. A fundamental skill that has been relevant to successful selling since the dawn of trade is friendliness. Be nice. Be courteous. Smile. Make friends with the big boss and the person who greets visitors at the door. Know their names. Send birthday wishes. It is not that hard, but sometimes we forget.
4. Be reliable. The phrase “don’t say what you do but do what you say” is more relevant for salespeople than others. One of the best ways to impress customers is to live by this phrase. If a salesperson simply does what they say, they will be superstars.
5. Be persistent. There is no fundamental trait more important to sales success than persistence. No other job has more ups and downs than sales (except maybe professional sports). The ability to wake up every day and keep moving forward is not only a skill that will lead to greatness, in sales it is a behavior that is essential for survival.
Chris Peterson is the founder and president of Vector Firm (www.vectorfirm.com), a sales consulting and training company built specifically for the security industry. To request more info about the company, visit www.securityinfowatch.com/12361573.