This month’s issues of Go Magazine, Air Tran’s in-flight publication, features a two page spread of yours truly. After training the sales tea of the magazine’s publisher in London back in October, one thing led to another and now I get to watch other passengers read about me on my flight tomorrow to DC. Very cool, and hopefully informative. Check it out for yourself HERE.
Check out the Jan issue of Go Magazine, Air Tran’s in-flight publication. After training In Publishing’s sales team (the magazine’s publisher) in London back in October, one thing led to another and I am now being featured on a two page spread in the January issue on pages 90 – 91.
Tomorrow, I get to watch other passengers read about me on my flight to DC. Very cool, and hopefully informative. Check it out for yourself HERE.
When I first started out in sales, I always felt like an underdog. I was scratching and clawing to make ends meet, and each sales opportunity seemed like a battle. Honestly, it was overwhelming on many occasions to feel like an under-achiever.
It turns out that people respond to pressure in different ways. Some people, when they start to feel overwhelmed, fade into the background, not wanting to bring attention to the fact that they are struggling. As for me, increased pressure tends to make me more indignant. If I am going to fail at something, I would rather go down in flames.
Thus, on January 1, 1988, I made a career-changing New Year’s resolution. I had just finished yet another mediocre sales year, and damn it, it wasn’t going to happen again. So, I headed to the office on New Years Day. While everyone else nursed their post New Year’s Eve party hangovers, and watched college football, I cleaned out my office. I worked the entire day and got seriously organized.
It was no surprise that my SUV was the only car in the parking lot since it was a holiday. But by the time I left the office, I felt a very clear sense of satisfaction and preparedness. I was ready for the New Year.
Have you ever noticed how good it feels to be ahead of the game? That first week of January, everyone else was trying to catch up, while I was moving forward and feeling productive. In fact, it felt so good that it motivated me to want to stay ahead. Consequently, I often stayed at the office late into the evening and came in frequently on weekends, each time noticing that mine was the only car in the parking lot.
My strategy was simple. I was determined to outwork everyone else on the sales team. That way, if I did fail, I wouldn’t have any excuses. Besides putting in the time, I also made it a goal to work harder than everyone else. I made more cold calls than anyone else and scheduled more appointments. I also asked more questions in order to uncover more needs. I even made it a point to take the most notes at every meeting.
After a very short period of time, I had become more knowledgeable about our product offerings and target industry, which in turn, made me a much more credible resource to my prospects and customers. As the year progressed, I began to feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
It didn’t take long before I became the “go to” guy in the office. When someone had a question, they came to me for help. Lo and behold, the sales manager started sending opportunities my way, knowing they would be handled with a greater sense of urgency. By year-end, I had become the top producing salesperson in our office. Essentially, I had earned the right to outperform everyone else whose car wasn’t parked in the lot back on New Year’s Day.
*Excerpted my second book, It Only Takes 1% to have a Competitive Edge in Sales.
2009 was a difficult business year for many. If you were fortunate enough to not among the masses who saw declining opportunities as the result of a recent back-flip in the economy, I’m sure you have customers, friends, colleagues, employees, or coworkers who have felt the impact in a very personal way.
Perhaps the economic gods with wave a wand and return everything to normalcy. Me, I’m not sure what normal is at the moment, nor have I ever been one to bet my lot on magic.
I have said before, “The best way out of any recession is to sell your way out.” The difference this time is the game of selling has changed—I call it a Darwinian-style recalibration, where the salesperson will play a more important role in their own success than ever before.
With that, I hope you enjoyed a nice holiday break with your friends and family. But, please realize that the new sales year begins tomorrow. Me, I might dedicate some time to get a jump on the competition because who knows, they might be reading this as well!
Well, almost always.
In the role of professional salesperson, customer’s are going to ask questions, right? In return, you want to provide intelligent responses with valuable insight or information.
When you respond, would you rather respond with what might be considered to be average value, or would you rather respond with maximum value? If you want to provide maximum value, you might want to invest a few moments to understand their real question before answering.
For example, when deliver QBS training in a remote city, I sometimes ask a local person in the audience, “What’s the best way to get from here to the airport?” Invariably, the person gives me directions.
But, what would happen if I got to the airport and the nice person behind the ticket counter said, “I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re at the wrong airport!”
Dallas, Houston, and Chicago all have two commercial airports. There are three commercial airports that service Wash, DC, Boston, and four that service New York City. Surprisingly, no one ever asks me which airport I’m heading to before giving me directions.
Here’s how I would give directions if you asked me, “What’s the best way to get to the Atlanta airport?” I would say, “That depends, what time is your flight?” I might then ask, “Do you have to return a rental car?” I might even inquire, “How familiar are you with the area?” Now I can give specific and valuable directions.
Wouldn’t you give different directions (or product information) to someone who was very familiar with the area than someone who was completely lost?
Just as most people share fractionally, many customers won’t ask their complete question. It is, therefore, incumbent on sellers to ask a few clarifying questions to understand more specifically what is being asked, if you wish to provide maximum value in your responses.