Industry Hall of Fame winner and AMD Founder Jerry Sanders launched an American Dream sales campaign as an incentive for his sales champions reaching 200 million in sales. When the goal was reached, the sales team was paid handsomely plus every other employee’s name was placed in a hat. Factory line worker Jocelyn Lleno was chosen and awarded a new home. Two others received Cadillac Sevilles.
Behind every company’s increase in market share there is at least one sales champion. They’re people who understand human needs, communicate clearly, and know how to gain a buyer’s trust. Some sales champions have gone on to become very successful business owners and teachers. Great sales people are made. Anyone can become successful in selling. All it takes is the right training. Right? Maybe—but it’s not as simple as that. To make it in sales (or anything else), you must bring a big desire and a clear reason for wanting to become a salesperson.
Unfortunately, employers often overlook these inner ingredients during the hiring process. Many sales managers still make the mistake of hiring a salesperson because they were swayed largely by their resume, looks, dress, and talk. They believe this is all that is necessary to mold them into a grand producer. With just a little training, you can send them off to conquer the marketplace. When minimum emphasis is placed on what’s behind the nice suit and smooth talk, you will shoot yourself in the foot. The interview process should be your opportunity to get a holistic picture before signing them on.
How can you use the interviewing process to better know if the person sitting across from you has those inner traits necessary to make a good candidate? If great sales people are made, this does not override your responsibility as a manager to conduct a thorough and complete interview. Lacking certain basic intrinsic ingredients will guarantee that your potential sales rockstar will fail and quit soon after. And turnover is time-consuming and costly for your company.
Advances in communication and social media technology can give your sales team incredible access to analytics on your prospect’s behavior, interests, and needs. It’s useful information that can result in creating different sales strategies—strategies that can even produce higher conversion rates. However, relying mostly on analytics as your assurance to close a sale or keep a customer loyal is a trap.
The art of selling is simple but demands superlative care and persistence. Selling is very rewarding and profitable but it’s hard work. Speak with any experienced, successful salesperson and they will tell you that without these “internal” qualities, disappointments and failures will end your career quickly. Sales success requires a deeper motivation. Sales training then becomes easier and more effective because your student brings the right stuff and willingly embraces knowledge and personal growth. Start with identifying your student’s desire level and go from there.
How can you find out if your applicant is the one you’re looking for? How can you save time during the interview process and make the right hiring decision? What are the best sales training methods? How can you retain your sales champion once you've found them?
Author, editor and super salesman “Og” Mandino tells his story this way. "December 12, 1923 was my birthday, born Augustine Mandino. The nickname "Og" came via my paternal grandfather. I always loved reading and writing and became my high school paper's editor. My main influence, of all people, was my dear mother who always instilled in me the idea that I would be a great writer. Her inspiration led me to go for my dream of attending the University of Missouri's journalism school. That's when my life took an unexpected, very dark turn. As I was ready to enter college in 1940, my mother died suddenly, right in front of me, from a massive heart attack as she was preparing my lunch. Completely crushed, I literally lost all desire to go on. I managed to find some work in a paper factory until 1942. Then I joined the United States Army Air Corps where I became a military officer and a bombardier. I flew about thirty bombing missions over Germany on board a B-24 Liberator during World War II. My fellow pilot was movie star, James Stewart. After the military the only work I could find was as an insurance salesman. I got married and went on the road. My life consisted of unsuccessful, lonely days and nights, traveling. Most of my time consisted of sitting in bars and drinking more and more. I became such a desperate alcoholic that I couldn't keep my job anymore. My first wife and child left me. At 35, I became a wandering derelict and a hopeless alcoholic. My life consisted as never being more than a few paces ahead of bill collectors. When I finally hit rock bottom, one cold wintry November morning in Cleveland, I was ready to take my life. A local pawn shop had a pistol in the window for sale. I was ready to go in with my last 30 dollars and end it all". How did Og Mandino miraculously turn his life around and become a super successful salesman and author? His bestselling book, The Greatest Salesman in the World continues to be a worldwide top seller. His books have sold over 50 million copies and have been translated into over twenty-five different languages.
Og never did end up going into that pawn shop. Instead he drifted into a local library in Concord, New Hampshire. He began sifting through authors such as Emmett Fox, W. Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill. He took up reading hundreds of books that dealt with success. He credits these authors with rescuing him from total failure. His alcoholism also gradually left him. Og Mandino took the principles, the skills, the attitudes he learned from his great library instructors and tested them in his own life. In a short time he became a super salesman, national speaker, executive editor of a national magazine and author of his own best seller, The Greatest Salesman in the World. This book has been translated into over twenty-five different languages. He took up golf, track and field events and re-married. His loving, new wife Bette turned out to be his greatest supporter. Before his passing in 1996 Og Mandino was inducted into National Speakers Association Hall of Fame.
The Greatest Salesman in the World reveals the very principles Og used to become a success. This book provides the time-tested wisdom of the ancients distilled into ten simple scrolls. Emphasis is placed on the deeper or subconscious mind and our ability to indeed influence it to boost our vigor, enthusiasm, happiness, desire and overcoming fear. Qualities Mandino suggests are vital to lifting us from failure to success. In short, the story of his book takes place during the time of Christ. It is about Hafid, a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance. What Hafid learns from the Scrolls becomes his guide to success and his understanding of the philosophy of salesmanship.
Many salespeople owe their success to following the philosophy and principles laid down in Mandino's work. I am one of them. There are laws that govern sales success. I would like to share with you Mandino's 10 Scrolls and my personal commentary on each of them.
Scroll I - Today I begin a new life. In short, yesterday is gone. As sales people we often grapple with the emotional attachment to the past. This attitude negatively affects our ability to command our future. Also difficult for many of us to accept, is that we are miracles and deserve to direct our lives with confidence. The laws of success are not new. It is simply a matter of allowing ourselves to be guided by them.
Scroll II - I will greet this day with love in my heart. Often not an easy task. As many of us already know, what is simple isn't always easy. One idea I learned from my mentor is to find a list of things in my life I am sincerely grateful for. This simple approach has raised my attitude and empowered me to go forward. Bringing a sense of love to my interactions with others creates an atmosphere of friendliness and communication. Great for sales success.
Scroll III - I will persist until I succeed. Being able to maintain action regardless of our feelings is the key. We can learn how to press on even when we feel like quitting. One way is to continue to focus on what inspires us to succeed. Many times working on a worthy goal my motivation will wax and wane like waves hitting the shore. Sometimes I'll feel motivated, sometimes I don’t. An open secret is that my success is tied to persistent action because I continue to accumulate results. Through persistence the results I experience become in itself motivating to go on.
Scroll IV - I am nature's greatest miracle. Perhaps one of the hardest ideas to accept about ourselves. I used to feel uncomfortable to look in the mirror and acknowledge that I am a one of a kind miracle of life. A miracle indeed because, as with no other species, I can choose the thoughts I entertain, choose how I act or react and choose how I live my life. That's power! My discomfort with this truth was based on my early programming which said that this miracle attitude was egotistical. Perhaps I was just one of those subdued ego types pretending to be oh so humble.
Scroll V - I will live this day as if it is my last. If today was my last day how would I choose to live? Maybe looking at how we would we go about doing the things we have to do today if it was our last day to live. Certainly we might bring more intention and intensity to our activities. Throughout history the great sages have affirmed that yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is the gift. Learning more and more how to live in the present. The present is where we make our choices that affect our future. Empower yourself by becoming a student of the present moment. Each day becomes a fresh start and is freeing and powerful.
Scroll VI - Today I will be master of my emotions. Without a doubt a life long seminar. How many of us have been in situations where our emotions get the best of us? Some of us end up paying through physical health problems, relationship conflict, or overall poor decision making. You don't strive to eliminate emotions. Emotional states are essential to our life. Much has been written about cultivating emotional intelligence as a way to succeed in sales. A skill that can be mastered. Harnessing emotions more productively is a skill that can be mastered. Aristotle is quoted as saying: “Anyone can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not within everyone’s power and that is not easy.” Some tips to emotional control can include, feeling your emotions physically. What happens to you? Be aware of your triggers. What pushes your buttons? What people, places, or events tend to trigger distressing emotions? Bring into your lifestyle things that give you peace of mind.
Scroll VII - I will laugh at the world and keep perspective. In other words those situations and circumstance that appear contrary to your success ideal and picture should be looked at with a laugh. As you become master of your emotions you will be amazed at your ability to laugh off the disruptive or disappointing events in your life. Scroll VIII - Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold. Some helpful affirmations from Og Mandino. I will not let my life be ground under rocks of failure and despair to be broken open and devoured by the will of others. Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold. My failures, my despairs, my ignorance and my inabilities are the darkness in which I have been planted in order to ripen. I sprout and blossom only when I am nurtured with rain and sun and warm winds. I too must nurture my body and mind to fulfill my dreams. I will set goals for the day, the week, the month, the year and my life. I must have objectives before my life will crystallize. I may stumble often before reaching my goals. If I stumble I will rise and my falls will not concern me for all men must stumble often to reach the hearth. I will climb today’s mountain to the utmost of my ability yet tomorrow I will climb higher. To surpass the deeds of others is unimportant, to surpass my own deeds is all. I will be as my own prophet and though all may laugh at my utterances they will hear my plans, they will know my dreams, and thus there will be no escape for me until my words become accomplished deeds. I will do the work that a failure will not do. Yet, never will I proclaim my accomplishments. Let the world instead, approach me with praise and may I have the wisdom to receive it in humility.
Scroll IX - I will act now, I will act now, I will act now. Whatever I can begin now, I will begin it!
Scroll X - I will pray for guidance. A profound metaphysical truth. Throughout history, students of success acknowledge the existence of a powerhouse within ourselves, yet greater than our understanding. Prayer can be that silent inner focus that connects us to this powerhouse to obtain guidance.
Tips on becoming a sales champion.
1. Find out what your customer really wants and why they want it. Understand that people buy "things" as a means to an end.
3. Once you have determined the best solution for your customer, link the product to their motivation for buying, and put it in their language.
4. If needing to overcome your customers' objections, use logical explanation, as a means to justify their emotional motivation.
5. Ask for the sale. This is the most overlooked and most forgotten step, probably because a lot of sales people don't have the confidence in their ability to help their customers that they really need to have in order to help their customer.
6. After they give you the yes on the sale, ask them about all the add-ons to up your total ticket, and for their convenience.
7. Follow up. If you really want to be a great salesman. Go the extra mile. Remember, or write down the names and contact info of your customers, and follow up with them to make sure they are 100% happy with their purchase. This is how you turn customers into raving fans.
"I was very honored to be nominated by my co-workers for my efforts in the company," noted project specialist for a high profile technology company. "I will go above and beyond for anything that my team needs in the future. And it makes me want to be more aware of all the people around me and what I can do to recognize other employees." Workforce community recognition or peer to peer can be an effective, low cost approach for reducing turnover, boosting performance and morale. Co-worker acknowledgements inspire. When a peer recognizes a colleague it creates strong bonds within the workforce conducive to all doing a better job. Another plus is the lessening of pressure on managers and senior leaders already overburdened with additional work responsibilities. Peer to peer recognition is positive and personal. One example is the peer nomination structure in the entertainment industry. Winning a peer driven Tony or Oscar is largely what makes it so prestigious. However, before you decide to make the move to a co-worker recognition initiative, here are some observations I hope you will find helpful.
Patricia Allman was her Audio/Video company’s top salesperson for 2006 and 2007. When the market released the latest audio/video editing software program it seemed like a shoe in. Her “loyal” clients would certainly and enthusiastically buy from her. That was until one client asked her to explain the software’s plug-in and compatibility with his present production studio set-up. She didn’t know the answer and didn’t know what questions to ask him next. She didn’t get the sale.