I had a great Sales Mentor. Bill Dobson sold nationwide more than 80 years ago. And were he here today, he would outsell all of us. He’d use every available tool…old and new…..from social media to sitting across the table listening to a “soon-to-be customer.”
Early on, he taught me 7 important skills that have served me well as a security solutions sales professional. They included:
1.) Be Passionate – Sell within a space where you can be excited, driven, and authentic about what you have to offer. Your passion, especially during the occasional dry spell, will be what keeps you going.
2.) Know your Product/Service – Understand your products/solutions on more than a cursory level. Many in sales “think” they know, or…worse…feel they can rely on support resources to make up for their own lack of knowledge. Not so.
3.) Persevere Strategically/Creatively – Have a plan. Make it your own. Be creative. Test ideas. Refine what works. Discard what does not. Be flexible. Keep moving forward–even when others give up.
4.) Maintain Integrity – You will encounter examples of deceit, fraud, manipulation, lies, and so much more along your sales journey. Keep your compass about you. Some of your customers will recognize integrity in you. But what’s important is that YOU live it as your very fabric and foundation.
5.) Be a Leader – Learn from others…many others. But Lead. Being given quotas, making plan, tracking commissions, filing documents and more, are all imposed on you…and that’s OK. But your self-direction and your leadership abilities will take you so much further.
6.) Listen and Relate – Too many salespeople talk too much……way too much. Relate with where your “soon-to-be customer” is at, and earn the right to ask questions. Listen to the answers (what is said and what is not said….both are answers) and build your relationship into a sale.
7.) Never Stop Learning – Bill sold Encyclopedias Door to Door (and died a very wealthy man). You can believe he read every word in every one of them (The Harvard Classics). He read the dictionary for leisure well into his 80’s. He was a living example of a “Life-long Learner.” Every salesperson “knows” they must keep learning. The good ones make that learning a habit and reality.
Were he here today, Bill Dobson would be tweeting, blogging, and creatively engaging his “soon-to-be customers” with the same 7 sales skills he honed over a lifetime. For they are tried, true, and timeless.