Currently working as a debt specialist for the top law firm nationwide, Kathleen has been perfecting the art of the sale for over a decade.
Sell or Be Sold—In Business and In Life
Sales can be an intimidating word to almost anyone. When someone hears the word sales, the things that cross their mind include manipulation, pressure, cajoling, and more.
As someone who has SUCCESSFULLY worked in sales for around a decade, I can tell you that profitable agents are rarely manipulative, pressuring, or misleading to their prospects.
To be successful at sales, you need to approach the sale as logistically as possible, focusing on the benefits of what you have to offer, the value they have to your prospect, and the ability to convince said prospect of that value in order to close the deal.
In essence, sales skills are communication skills. Communication skills are critical in any business or career—and you’ll learn more about communication by working in sales than you will anywhere else.
Try and think of any aspect in your daily life where you DON'T need to possess communication skills... You can't think of too many, can you?
Whether we are trying to make new friends, start a relationship, pitch an idea, draft a proposal, at the end of the day, everything relies on our ability to firstly, identify their problem, next, find a solution, once you've found a solution, it becomes your job to convince them as to why your solution is not only the best solution, but the only solution available.
In sales, AND in life, we are either the person who is doing the selling, or we are the ones who are being sold to—which person would you rather be?
Be Real, Be Whole, Be Innovative
Breaking Down the Sales Process
I can't possibly try to help people understand how sales knowledge can change their life if I don't briefly talk about what goes into sales, particularly the sales process.
The sales process is rather simple. It can realistically be broken down into five key steps:
- Prospecting: This is about locating the person who would want the product or service you have to offer. To prospect successfully, you should be using many different avenues, such as email, social media, in-person networking and so much more (but that in and of itself could be its own article!)
- Connecting: Once you have found the type of person who fits your ideal client avatar (simply put, a concrete description of the type of person with whom you are most likely to close a sale)
- Researching: Know your product, know your service, know your client. Its that simple. If you try to pitch a prospect unprepared to tackle their rebuttals, you're basically wasting your breath. Identify potential objections and come to the prospect ready to challenge those objections.
- Presenting: Once you have all the information you need, you can present your offer, your product, or your service to your prospect. This is when you continue to build off of the rapport you've already build, utilizing it to convince the prospect that what you have to offer not only has value, but has value to them specifically.
- Closing: Closing is the exciting part. If you've reached the closing, you've built excitement in your prospect, you've demonstrated value, and literally all you have to do is maintain the same level of service you maintained to reach the point of closing. The close step is what every salesperson works toward. It should result in a mutually-beneficial, contractual agreement between the prospect and the seller.
Your greatness is limited only by the investments you make in yourself.
— Grant Cardone
"You Will Always Miss 100% Of The Shots You Don't Take"—Michael Jordan
The Benefits of Mastering the Sale
Improved Negotiation Skills
I am willing to bet that every one of us is faced with some kind of negotiation at least once a day. Negotiation skills are extremely useful and can take you very far in business and in life. To negotiate effectively, you need to actively listen to the prospect, evaluate the variables involved in the situation, identify the key drivers that are causing the prospects objections to the original offer, overcome those objections, and in the end, find a "mutually" beneficial agreement that works for both parties. (I put "mutually" in quotes because successful salespeople can negotiate while still maintaining control of the situation, winding up at an advantage when it comes to the final negotiation.
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You'll Close Deals, Increasing Your Confidence
Are you a shy person? I urge you to try sales. Are you an introvert? I urge you to try sales. The more intimidating or scary a position in sales sounds, the more you need to take one. You'll gain confidence and self-assurance, and the skills you gain will serve you well for the rest of your business—and personal—life.
I can guarantee you that while you may not become the best sales agent. You may even decide sales isn't for you. Regardless, you are putting yourself out there on a daily basis attempting to, more often than not, convince complete strangers that you have something they need.
One deal. All it takes is one deal closed to show you that you CAN do it. You actually have what it takes to convey enough value to someone you know little about to be able to effectively close a deal.
You Will Learn Persistence and You Will Gain Thicker Skin
In my current position, I make about 600–700 phone calls every day. About 20 of them take the time to actually talk to me. Half of that 20 is the complete polar opposite of the type of client I need, the other half insists they don't even have the time to hear what I have to offer them.
What does that mean? That means that you hear no probably around 400 times a day; and I can't say that the people your prospecting are always exactly polite about saying no.
At first, those "no's" cut through you like a knife. Over time however, you realize that every no just brings you closer to that next yes.
You Will Become a Go-Getter
Most sales jobs involve an income model that is heavily commission-based. That means that every day I walk into my office, I have COMPLETE control of my salary. My computer and headset is basically an ATM and I have two options: stare at the phone and hope a deal closes magically, or dial and smile, dial and smile, dial and smile until I get in touch with a qualified prospect.
Successful business owners spend the majority of their time “selling.”
Go learn how to sell. It’s the best investment you will ever make.
The Secret to Sales
Below, world-renowned business owner and sales guru Grant Cardone discusses the secret to sales in his award-winning book Sell or Be Sold.
Additional Resources on Sales, Selling, and Closing the Deal
For more information, feel free to check out the following resources:
- Hubspot Blog: Hubspot is one of the leading developers of sales software and marketing platforms and their blog has a plethora of fantastic information pertaining to sales, marketing, and building rapport
- Harvard Business Review: A riveting article about how to improve sales skills, even if you're not a salesperson, written by the Harvard Business Review
- Entrepreneur.com: Read four ways that learning sales can help you reach your goals of success.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Kathleen Odenthal