How to be a Good Salesperson When You Aren't a Natural Salesperson

 

There's nothing that irks me more, at the moment, than people who give you bad advice. I'm not talking doctors or lawyers...I'm talking about those truly vapid little dolls that work in department stores.

I am not a dainty woman. Thanks to my mother's Slavic heritage, I'm tall in stature, broad of shoulder, wide in hip and if I'd been born about 300 years earlier, there wouldn't be a worry if the family ox was having a bad day and couldn't manage the plow.

Don't get me wrong, if the situation calls for it, I can be as feminine as any woman. But don't expect me to go the ruffles and lace route. You wouldn't put something pink and frilly on a the neighbor's pit bull...so please keep those girlie little scraps off me...in fact, don't even suggest them.

As I stood there stiffly in front of a dressing room mirror wearing a god-awful concoction of "catholic school girl gone bad," the salesgirl ooohed and aaaahed telling me how adorable it looked. Did she want to make a sale THAT badly? There was no way I was going out into the world dressed like that...

The fact that I hadn't even ASKED for her opinion had obviously escaped her.

One of the many careers I've had involved the sale and design of granite and marble stonework for interior use. I never planned on having such a career...it just happened accidentally. I started with a small company as their office person and as they expanded, so did my duties. One of these was running down the stairs to their new showroom every time the door went ding, ding!

My photographic memory and thirst for any form of knowledge, soon had them replacing me in the office and putting me permanently in the showroom to work with potential customers. I am not a natural salesperson. However, if I love and believe in something...well then I'm convinced it can pretty much sell itself.

I was pretty good at it...at least it seemed so. Before long I had clients asking personally for my help, interior decorators and architects referring their customers with directions to see nobody else but me and businesses asking my boss to borrow me for the education of their own sales staff. I loved it! Every minute of it! So many beautiful homes to work with, the owners so excited about their new project and best of all not a dime of it was coming out of my own pocket. Who wouldn't love that type of job?

There are definitely some do's and don'ts to being a good salesperson...when you aren't a natural salesperson. Here are a few things that I've learned that helped me to be the best salesperson that I could be....

  • 1. Know your product - You live in the information age...use it. Educate yourself on every facet of it...from creation to use. My customers were forever asking me the country of origin for their materials. Knowing their new fireplace originated from Greece or Turkey thrilled them completely. There was one gentleman that actually wanted to know all about the difference between igneous and metamorphic stone. A day after making the sale, he called the company and asked for the owner. "That salesperson of yours is good! " he exclaimed to my boss, "I'm a geology professor and she knows more than I do on the subject!" The point is...you never know what will make a sale. I don't care if you sell hamburgers or cars, a customer is always impressed by a salesperson that cares enough to know everything they can about their product
  • 2. Know your competition - Likewise, take the time to know who your direct competitor is in the market. Being aware of the pros and cons of your product and the competitor's is important in your sales. Beware falling into the "my competition sucks and here's why" trap. You NEVER want to make a sale based on the flaws of your competitor's product. You come out sounding jealous, petty and churlish. The best way to circumnavigate this issue is to make sure you say something nice about your competitor...but then point out in a conversational tone how despite this niceness, your product is a better value in the long run. If at all possible, have samples to show your client.

The bane of my existence working in the granite industry was Dupont Corian. I spent months perusing their web site, reading blogs from customer and representatives, spitting mad over some fallacy that they were printing about natural stone. At an open house, I came face to face with a Corian advocate. To my delight, she had brought an armload of cutting boards made out the material and when I asked for several, she chortled with delight that she was converting me to the dark side. I then took them home and beat the snot out of them. I was fair about it...my own kitchen was formica, so that was test surface one. Test surface two was a granite cutting board that I had brought from work. Test surfaces three through five were various colors and grades of Corian. After a few months of treating them all equally...two of the three Corian surfaces were beat to hell. The third to my surprise fared rather well...even though it was white. The granite remained unfazed. My landlord was a bit pissed about the formica...but oh well. With the samples in my showroom however, I could actually show customers the results...and no, I didn't exclude the Corian that had survived rather well. It was only fair to show them honest results.

  • 3. Give realistic expectations - While what you are selling might be the next greatest thing to sliced bread, it's not going to cure cancer...unless of course you are a pharmaceutical representative actually selling a cancer cure. Your customer has every right to be made aware of anything that might impact the sale...from availability to difficulty of installation or even further down the road, daily use and long term value. I'm a firm believer that an educated customer is the best customer. Why? Because you want them flapping their gums all over town, to all their friends and neighbors, about what they now know. You want to turn each and every one of them into your own personal pyramid scheme and send them out into the world selling for YOU. The best way to do this is to pile a bunch of knowledge onto them...it gives them something to talk about and makes them feel intelligent. They didn't just buy a bunch of rock...they bought an igneous stone from India that is somewhat porous but with the application of a good sealant will last them many years with minimal fuss and ultimately add to the value of their home.

Conversely, telling them that it will go in without a hitch within 24 hours and never require maintenance in their lifetime will only have them coming back at you when they still don't have the product a week later, the installers accidentally crushed their pet poodle, Fifi and the house started to settle and the stone is now cracking. Now you've made them look like idiots...and nobody wants to tell their friends that they've been an idiot.

  • 4. When it comes to taste...don't offer your opinion unless asked - Occasionally I would have color challenged customers in my showroom. They'd come in with a designer or their spouses and pick different materials that had no business ever being together. When this would happen, I'd retreat as far as I could and mutter under my breath, "don't ask me for my opinion...don't ask...don't ask."

I was not like that salesgirl in the department store. It went completely against my nature to put my mark of approval on something I found visually repugnant. If asked my opinion...I gave it. This can be very tricky...

Sometimes I would preface it with a gentle, "I can see how you would like that choice, but have you considered..." or for the more obstinate, "well to be frank, I'm not the one that will be living there...so it should be your opinion that matters not mine." Occasionally though, I'd blurt out something before thinking...

It was a couple...older than I was. You could just tell the husband would have rather been anywhere else than in that showroom picking out countertops for the kitchen. However, since he had to be there...he was going to make sure that his opinion counted, even if he had to bully his wife into the choice. His wife on the other hand was a rather meek soul...with an exquisite taste for design...and she kept shooting me those "help me" looks...how could I refuse?

I started off with general questions...floor material...cabinet material...walls...appliances? To my horror the entire room was one shade so far. Beige. My mother was décor-challenged. I grew up being told that beige went with everything...and so everything was beige. This sale was like a bad flashback...

When the husband held up a stone that was also beige, my gut reflex kicked in and the only thing that came out of my mouth was "Blech!" At the same time that this took place, my boss walked in the door and was about halfway across the showroom floor when he heard my comment. To his credit, he barely paused...and thinking better of questioning my sales methods kept walking. He would tell me later that perhaps "Blech" was a bit...harsh.

The husband and I argued color theory for about 30 minutes before we finally reached a compromise...not a solution. I had learned from his wife that they were giving a party this weekend...why take my word for it when he could take several different samples home and show his friends? And so he did...

A little less than a week later, as my boss and I were talking in the showroom, in strolled Mr. Beige and his wife. He walked right up to me and extended his hand. I shook it while my boss stood there with his eyebrows raised. "I just want to say thank you," he said, "I took those samples home like you said...and after showing them to my friends and looking again myself...I had to realize the one I wanted looked pretty damn "Blech" to me too!" The wife shot me a look of pure gratitude as she ordered the color that she wanted...and I believe I received about five referrals off of her.

There are a lot of people that will tell you the customer is always right. 99.9% of the time, I'd agree with these people simply because it is good business. However, that .1% of the time is pretty important too. It might cost you a sale...but you'll gain a customer in the long run.

  • 5. Listen - Some sales people truly do not know when to shut up already. While it's great to be knowledgeable in your product and the products of your competitor, nobody likes a know-it-all that loves to hear themselves talk. Make conversation, learn something personal about your customer. Do they have a dog...a cat...children? Where did they get that lovely pair of earrings they are wearing (and don't say this if they are ugly as sin...it has to be a genuine compliment). Trust me, it can all be worked into casual conversation without appearing nosy. This makes the customer think they are important...and yes, they are. Also, when they come back...and they will...you can smile and ask them how their daughter, Emily's dance recital went.

One of the highlights of my profession was being invited to homes for lunch, parties for the grand opening of a new home and people who came back to show me pictures of their completed projects. It just gave me the warm fuzzies.

  • 6. Body Language - This is the last of the biggies. Even despite all that is known about the silent communication of body language...some people still don't pay attention to it. Because I am not a natural salesperson, I really had to work on appearing comfortable. Having the knowledge helped with confidence, but having to deal with complete strangers every day did not come naturally. Plus, I was selling a rather intimidating product...stone. My customers would wander around the showroom as if it were an art gallery...but I wanted them to see this in their own home and accept it as a practical addition. I was able to solve both problems at once. If I was explaining the merits of a product, I'd hop up and take a seat on the countertop or tabletop as if I was in my own home. Of course, by the end of the day, my butt ached from the cold stone...but no sacrifice was too great for the company.

So watch that body language. Make sure it's not sending one message while your mouth is sending another.

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Comments 137 comments

spryte profile image

spryte 2 weeks ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Valera:

Not sure how your comment slipped past me and by now you've probably already answered your own question, but since I've seen your comment I'm going to answer it anyway. :)

My mother sold Avon - so I have a soft spot in my heart for it and all of the Avon bric-a-brac I inherited upon her passing. I wouldn't say she was anywhere near the top of their salesperson of the year lists, but she loved what she did and the entire neighborhood seemed to look forward to her visits.

First - always remember that it's easier to sell something that you believe in or would buy yourself. It gets challenging if you don't and as you've witnessed first hand, you get to share in a bizarre secondhand buyer's remorse where you feel some of the guilt for even making the sale.

The first time one meets a client is always the most difficult. You don't know each other and if meeting new people is not your thing, it can be awkward. My mother did not have an issue with talking to strangers...she'd talk to anyone...and I mean anyone. Most of the neighborhood knew everything about my family...sometimes even before I did. It was a bit unnerving to walk down the street and have people that I didn't know but knew everything about me wave and ask me about my new job or my grades in school.

Avon is a PERSONAL product...and I usually take my cue for how to sell something by it's definition. If you are selling to your neighborhood, let them know how you ended up coming to them. Introduce yourself first, smile...and then say something like, "Hi! I'm the neighborhood Avon Lady and since I just left Mrs. Murphy next door, I thought I'd stop in and see if there was anything that you needed as well. Love your rhododendrons! I admire them every time my husband and I drive by. If you have a moment, I'd love to show you our newest product line. Mrs. Jones across the street went nuts over the new colors..."

Anyway...that's my two cents. My mother was known as "the Avon Lady" for years, welcomed into homes not just for what she sold, but for conversation and gossip. She was a friend to each and every one of her customers and I think that was why she was successful at it.


Valera Rose Echo profile image

Valera Rose Echo 12 months ago

Here it is....I have had a lot of jobs in life. Including sales but I always get this sense of guilt, especially when I make a sale and the person doesn't look pleased about it. I have recently starting selling Avon. Although the products that are carried by this company are love it or leave it, I need an ice-breaker. Allow me to show you blah, blah, blah doesn't seem refreshing enough. I need some lines that show exuberance to say the least.

think you can help?


spryte profile image

spryte 2 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Balaji:

My apologies for such a late response to your comment - I never received the notification that there was one.

Marble...and Malaysia. Hmmm...

Definitely nothing remotely like FMCG...or is it? You know that old adage about being able to sell refrigerators to eskimos, right? Well it's the same thing whether you are selling a bottle of shampoo or a luxury item such as marble. The reason FMCG is so successful is because it's a guaranteed need that is shared by virtually everyone so a manufacturer can supply with confidence that there will always be a demand.

However, when you are dealing with a luxury item, you have to create or encourage the demand with every client individually. It's easy to tell a person why they need deodorant...but it's trickier to convince enough customers that a $ 2500 pedicure is perfectly reasonable. Still it can be done...there are countless examples of people selling the most ridiculous things for enormous amounts of money based on snob appeal.

I always try to ask myself - what would make me part with a large amount of money. The first would be having a large amount of money to begin with...so there's your first target. People who buy marble may also buy nail clippers...but people who buy nail clippers might not also buy marble. You'll have to adjust yourself to the reality that what you are now selling is not a necessity...but a luxury...and choose your prospective clients accordingly.

After you have the correct customer base, the focus should switch from who...to what...as in what am I selling...and why is it necessary to this person. This is where knowing your product becomes important so if you haven't already done the research, you should.

Just keep in mind that out there is a woman filing toenails for $ 250/toe and you'll realize that there's a market for EVERYTHING.


Balaji N K profile image

Balaji N K 2 years ago from India

Hi Spryte, Thanks for your excellent writeup. By the way iam a 20 yrs experienced Sr. Customer Service Manager (in India), got an employment in a Marble Company for Sales in Malasiya. My basic background was in FMCG. Can you kindly help me out how to go about in my job. Though I have the right attitude but iam yet to get a foothold on my technique as the Industry is new. Appreciate once again for this excellent writeup.


Gi 3 years ago

Spryte, thank you for your article. I have a degree in MBA and have always working in big corporations. After several years, I am tired of big corporate culture and feel I hit a glass ceiling. Recently, when the opportunity presented itself, i started thinking of switching my career to become a personal finance advisor. I know the most challenging part about this switch will be the mind set. I will have to give up my secure corporate life and become a true sales person, since everything is commission base in personal finance advisor field. I am excited, yet nervous and a little scared to face this new challenge in life. I will follow your advice to gain as much knowledge as possible about my products and only time can tell if this is a good move for me or not. :-)

thanks again for your article and time.

Gi


spryte profile image

spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hello Matt:

(Tried to answer your email, but it didn't successfully go through. I hope that you find your reply here.)

First off...go to the interview.  Always go to the interviews.  Whether or not you choose to accept an offer is of course, your prerogative.  The reason I stress going is because you never know who you might meet and what you might learn.  

I also think you  may be under the impression that you have been offered a sales position...when in fact you haven't.  I could be wrong (perhaps customer service adviser means something other than what it means here in the US)...but I'm betting that it's actually the first rung on the ladder to that company.  

Let me give you an example.  My youngest sister didn't know what she wanted to do when she finished college.  She worked in fast food restaurants and always ended up being asked to manage the staff.  She became a beautician...and was asked to manage the staff and keep the office in order.  No matter what she did, everything always took her back to management because of her natural skills.  She was offered a position as a customer service rep for a large health company and balked at it.  The pay was crap and the work was tedious...but I suggested she take it.  At the very least it meant benefits, regular hours and a perfect opportunity to jam her foot in the corporate door of a successful company.  

Today she is a director of that same company.

Very few people know what they really want to do when they leave university.  A lot of people will end up making a living in a field they have not even studied.  So don't despair that you don't have all the answers.  Only a complete bore would claim that.

But let's talk sales.  

What is so wonderful about this type of work is that it covers a LOT of areas.  You've done bar work...that's sales.  Everyone is a salesperson to a certain extent...whether you are selling a product, information or yourself (and I'm not encouraging prostitution here...lol).  An interview is all about selling yourself.

Cold calling is to sales as McDonald's is to fine dining.  It is the most thankless, cold-hearted, nasty type of salesmanship there is and while some might enjoy it and even be good at it...I would be sorely tested to make a sale in that sort of situation.  You've got a big heart....give up on the idea of being that type of salesperson.  You are too good for it and PLEASE....don't judge your abilities by not being able to successfully cold call.  

Because you empathize so strongly with your customer, look for sales jobs that places an emphasis on the customer.  If you go on an interview, ask the interview this question..."How do you gauge your company's success?"  They might sit back for a moment, blink at you a couple of times...but understand this...the goal of the interview is not just to get hired, but to find out for yourself if it's a good fit.  I've actually turned down job offers based on an interview...it's okay to do that.  :)

Why that question is important...

If the interviewer says that their company's success is based on quantity of goods sold, thank this person and turn down the job.  If the interviewer says that their company's success is based on customer SATISFACTION of the product sold...then you've found a place to call home.

Give this internet service provider a try...I have a good feeling about it.  At the very least, they are going to pay you, train you, give you experience that you might not have had and the cumulative effect of whatever you do will open a lot of doors in the future.  Trust me on this.  

Good luck, Matt and please feel free to drop me a line at any time and let me know how you're doing with your job prospects.

Sincerely,

Spryte


spryte profile image

spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Bugs...*shudder*

When I lived in New Hampshire, I never really thought much about using the services of am exterminator, but now that I live in Arizona, I wouldn't dream of going without one.  Ever since I heard the story about a friend who felt a "drip" from his ceiling and woke up to discover a scorpion had plopped into bed with him, I have no qualms about the fee I pay to have the local company come out and do their monthly thing.  

Pests can fall under two categories...destructive and/or the squeamish factor.  It's important to size up the person you are talking to and figure out which category they might be more concerned with as you make your pitch.  For example...while termites are also a big problem in my area, I might take my chances, live in termite denial until the problem makes an appearance and then I'd bite the bullet and deal with the expense.  However, knowing how vulnerable I feel when I'm asleep...telling me an anecdote or two about scorpions and spiders would have me rethinking my miserly ways.

While, in my opinion, more women would feel the same way, there are quite a few men out there that come across as rather tough and manly...but show them a spider and they start to squirm.

You can talk til you are blue in the face about property value and how it will protect it, but the subject of household pests is a visceral topic.  Nobody wants to admit they might have bugs or rodents...because it carries with it the faint accusation of uncleanliness...and nobody wants to think that they're a slob.  Besides...as you and I both know...pests will move into a pristine home just as easily as one that is not.  They don't care.  Your house could be immaculate, but what you can't see is the dishwasher leaking behind the wall and suddenly one day you are infested with earwigs....(true story)...

This is what I would do.  As the salesperson, talk to the staff that actually does the work and get some of their best stories.  You need local examples. Appeal to that primitive instinct of the home owner.  

Nowadays whenever I hear a story about how an office mate discovered ants floating in her tea kettle (true story) or flicked on the light and discovered cockroaches scuttling across their clean kitchen floor...I'm rather smug.  The price I pay each month for pest control to come out and do their thing is well worth the peace of mind.  

Good luck to you and if I haven't said it yet...thank you for the service that you perform. :)


Star Velazquez profile image

Star Velazquez 4 years ago

I LOVED your article Spryte!

I just started a new position as a creative sales rep. for a pest control company and every week I'm stressing my boss is going to let me go cause I'm not bringing him in anything. Sometimes it's 4 sales for the week, others it's 2-0. I can't remember ever "SELLING" anything so I don't consider myself a NATURAL. I do however, believe in our products and services but when I give price quotes people are quick to tell me NO! and hang up on me, or do it before I even announce where I'm calling from.

I'm primarily based as a work-from-home agent but my boss wants us to do door to door, call from a list of leads, or find new creative ways to sale and make a sale. He doesn't care about the labor pains, all he cares about is the baby. LOL HIS WORDS. So I can basically have fun with this position and make good money, but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I always make sure to sounds positive, knowledgeable, and smile when I'm talking but people do not want to buy. Especially when I'm knocking on people's door to speak with them. I do the whole rapor thing with them and LISTEN and answer any questions but still I cannot close the sale.

Got any extra advice I can try to convince these people to buy??? I don't want to lose this job cause I feel I can really make a career out of this for now and would like to stick with something for awhile.


spryte profile image

spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

:) For a while I was worried because I didn't know who Stu was...

You have an amazing attitude, Darius and that alone will get you very far. Although it makes sense that a person with the most experience might be a shoo-in for any position, that is not always the case...especially where sales are concerned. Experience can be both a boon and an anchor in this business and is often left sitting on the curb if it is not accompanied by enthusiasm and a positive attitude. It's easy to become cynical in this line of work. You may not have the experience, but it sounds to me like you have all the necessary tools to be successful. I wish you all the best and hope that you get that job.


Darius 4 years ago

sorry i mean spryte.


Darius 4 years ago

WOW! Stu you are truly amazing. for the last few years you been taking time out of your schedule to give good advice to people and that's pretty awesome! Right now im applying to be a life insurance agent but the competition is tough! one applicant has 15 years of experience in sales. and i said to myself "Crap! im screwed!." im just 22 years old and i have no experience at all. so far there are only 4 out of 13 people left and there are only 2 positions available. i already know the older and more experience worker going to get the job first so it basicly just one position left. even though im inexperienced i am hardworking, competitive, funny, with a touch of crazy. lol! i think the company may benefit for getting a young go getter like myself. but if i don't get the job i won't give up will continue to push myself and learn from my mistakes. and once i do find a job in sales i will used every advice you from the article and so on to be the best salesperson i can be.

Thank you Stu for your advice.


stu27 4 years ago

Hi Spryte,

Just wanted to let you know that the interview went well... I think.

I think their main concern, gauged by their questions, was would I be happy in sales when my career path so far has been lab based. Fair point, but I think I did my best to convince them otherwise. I told them that if they had asked me 3 weeks ago I would have said I would still want to work in a lab, but looking into the job I would like to challenge myself with sales. The major plus for me is that they have their own R&D team and design their own products. This means I would be selling products at the forefront of science and reporting back on how they are working - Fantastic experience!

I will let you know how it goes. If all goes well I get to go forward for the next stage of the interview. A second interview followed by a short presentation.

No pressure there then!

Thanks for your help again

Stu


Lara 4 years ago

I'm just about to start a sales job at a kiosk at a mall tomorrow.

I'm naturally a really shy person and I lack confidence and hate attention, and your article really helped me.

Thank you for your advice, I will be sure to take it to heart and remember it tomorrow morning!


spryte profile image

spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Stu:

Thank you for the kind words...I find it incredible myself that this particular article has been so popular over the past three years. Who would have known?!

Big move...but it sounds like you are the type that likes to challenge yourself and I think that's commendable. (By the way...that's a good one for the interview...make a note).

To answer your question, I'm going to tell you a story...a very short story. The other day I was shopping at a home improvement store...in the greenhouse particularly. Being from New Hampshire where the growing season is vastly different, has meant a lot of experimenting with new plants in a desert southwest setting (where I now am). I had great success with a particular plant and Murphy's Law being as it is....another three years passed before I could find any more of these particular plants...but this past week I did. I was so happy with my success that I blathered all about the plant to the saleswoman in gardening that was ringing up my purchase. "Do they grow well here then?" she asked. "Oh absolutely," I replied. "I wouldn't know," she confessed...I'm from North Carolina and I haven't figured out how to grow anything out here yet."

Which led me to wonder...why in the hell was she selling shrubbery to locals? Maybe she simply liked plants...and that's fine, but when I want to make an educated purchase, in a life and death situation (the plant's ... not mine)...I'd like somebody who knows the product and can guide me in the right direction.

Catch my drift?

When it comes to the interview...just be you. Think of it as your first sale....you are selling yourself to whomever is interviewing you. Just from what you've written and how you have expressed yourself, I would say that you are comfortable in most social situations...and even more comfortable with advance preparation.

What I really think you are asking is..."spryte, what do you think?" in regard to your decision. I'm was an accountant, thrown into sales by circumstance...so I understand the mental battle between staying with something you know vs doing something because the opportunity has suddenly come up to try it. I think you should go for it.. You have your MSc and you can always fall back on it if the need should arise...but you'll never know if you've settled or not unless you taste other facets of employment out there. It's not unrelated to what you do...so I don't see you being left behind technologically speaking...in fact, it might actually give you an edge somewhere down the road. It'll also introduce you to other companies in your fiield....and who knows where that could lead.

Be cautious though in regard to the benefits and finances until you've gotten it in writing. Big companies tend to chew up salespeople and burn them out...so look out for yourself, okay? Other than that, just be yourself in the interview...be honest and up front with your expectations. Getting a job is a good feeling...but finding one that is a good fit is priceless. Don't settle!

Let me know how it goes, okay? Good luck!


stu27 4 years ago

Hi Spryte,

I would like to congratulate you on two points.

1st - 3 years worth of help to those looking into the vast daunting abyss of sales.

2nd - This is the first blog that I have been compelled to respond to!

I currently work as a laboratory technician, recently passed an MSc in Clinical Microbiolgy and am happy with the way my job is going. We are seeing growth and may, in the next few months be moving to new premises where I may get the chance to design the lab! Exciting stuff - to me!

We all go through phases of discontent in our jobs where we are incited to flick through the jobs pages, but that hasn't been the case for a long time.

Then....

Last week I had a meeting with a regular medical sales rep who told me that there was a job available and was I interested. He told me he was impressed with my clinical knowledge and would put in a good word for me. He even advised me on my CV.

They are an enormous company, so with the job comes stability, pension, private healthcare access and a salary I could only dream of in my current field.

This is particularly appealing because We have just moved house and there is a never ending list of expensive improvements that need attention.

I have experience with their products and have used them for a long time, they are a trusted brand.

My problem is synominous with many of the other people in this blog - I am not a sales person, even though they hire from a science back ground and provide sales training.

I was lucky enough to get myself an interview in 2 weeks time. During that time I need to get aquainted with the company back ground and the usual interview tactics.

The 1st stage of the interview is potentially the most crucial.

'Why are you interested in making a move into sales?'

By this point I have convinced myself I want the job and am going after it with both barrels!

Even though your blog is littered with useful advice I was hoping you might be able to help with this.

Thanks


Margarita Avila 4 years ago

Thank you for your response and creative ideas. You are a natural genius! (",)

You can visit our branch in Chicago-USA. TA-ZE Olive Oil & Olives.

Thanks again!


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Margarita:

Well, I have to admit...I would have never thought that there was such a thing as an olive oil shop...but obviously there is, because you work at one.. I do love olive oil though and it's a staple in my cupboard...but what would convince me to buy it from you and not a supermarket? Hmmm....

I think what I would concentrate on with my pitch...and this might require some research on your part...is the many ways that a person can actually USE olive oil and why a better grade of olive oil is preferred to what is sold in the grocery store. For example, olive oil has cosmetic uses as well as culinary ones. Let's take hair care for example...you could infuse the olive oil with some yummy fragrance like vanilla beans or jasmine...use it for a hair treatment or a bath oil. Then of course you can turn around and infuse it with cooking spices. Maybe...if you coupled your product with some individual glass bottles...let the customers design their own products: i.e. green tea infused bath oil....things like that.

You have to appeal to the "I want to spoil myself crowd" when it comes to something like this...give it snob appeal. It's all in the marketing.

Good luck and btw....where is this olive oil shop? I'm absolutely dying of curiosity!


Margarita Avila 4 years ago

hi Spryte! I love your article. I'm currently working in an olive oil shop. I'm quite new and I wanted to know know how I could convince people to buy our olive oils rather than those in supermarkets. Besides its quality, what else can I tell them?

Thanks in advance. 'Will keep on reading your article and replies. God bless!


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mfriedstore 4 years ago from 176 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn , New York

In the world of business, we have to be competitive. We should be creative in our strategies in order for us to get a higher sales at the end of the day. Thank you so much, anyway for posting this hub. I hope more readers will be guided with this.


Zana 4 years ago

Spryte, thank you, so great to receive such a prompt answer. Well, I guess I was where I am now- in Europe :)


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Awww, Mark *blush* Thank you!

Zana: I am thanking the economy for this article's popularity. :) But on to your questions. Where were you when I needed you?!!! Seriously, I've worked for several companies that required transportation services and it was difficult to get quotes. I looked EVERYWHERE...but trucking companies were not to be found. So...with that memory of my frustration in mind, maybe we can figure out a way to put the two of you together.

For the shipper...two things are important. Will the materials sent be taken care of and arrive whole...and can I afford to ship via this service? Unfortunately, as a beginning salesperson you will have no control over pricing...the more clients you bring in, the more influence you may gain...but in the beginning...no. The fact that you say your pricing is average is great. You might not be the cheapest...but you aren't the most expensive either. Competitive pricing is important...but if you aren't at the other end of the spectrum...i.e. ridiculously priced, you'll gain customers.

Can you deliver the goods intact. Think about what your company is most comfortable shipping. Is it boxes of dry goods, heavy cumbersome industrial material or can it handle temperature sensitive materials. This is now where you have to make like Nancy Drew and think about who your clients might be.

What I would do is find a telephone book...onine or the real deal (if they still exist) and flip to those yellow pages. Look for headings like "Manufacturing" or "Industrial" or "Equipment." Once you find one, I can pretty much guarantee there will be a whole nest of them centered in one tidy Industrial Park. Now all you have to do is visit with your materials and be nice. If they don't want to see you just then, that's fine. Leave your materials and follow it up with a call at a later date. Make idle chit-chat...learn about their neighbors in the park....do they know anyone else that might need a shipper? No? Doesn't matter...it's always good for a company to have back up shippers...trust me.

Go out there...and get 'em. :) Shyness wlll wear off once you get comfortable. Most people are turned off by overly aggressive salespeople anyway....just be yourself.


Zana 4 years ago

Hi Spryte! Thank you for the great peace of mind, I found it incredibly helpful. Also, thanks for the Question & Answer in the comments, I could relate to many of the situations and get advice without even asking.

It's been a couple of weeks since i quit/got fired from my old job in a small transport company after half a year, main reason being that I sucked at sales. I am shy and get lost when I don't know an answer to a question, (unfortunately, not everything can be googled and the company provided zero training- you some in, you start working the minute you did). I am still thinking of trying the same field once more in a different company, since there were several reason for me to leave. But what worries me the most, is that we are also supposed to find clients (by phone/email mostly) and I have no idea where to start. How do you look for companies that might need your services, and how do you approach them, especially if you don't really have a clear competitive advantage (you are a fresh worker and the company's pricing policy is quite average)? When you call to introduce yourself, how do you "break the ice" without even seeing the face, it's not like you can talk about their children when you sell international road transportation services? I am a bit reserved with people I don't know well and find it hard to speak about anything else but business.

P.S. Looks like you wrote a classic :) Two years from posting this, still second on Google search for "how to become a good salesman" and comments going, that's how you know you wrote something useful :)


mark 4 years ago

spryte,

Very nice article, well written, informative and even more importantly easy to read and understand. My hat is off to you because you are not only good at giving advice that is very common sense. You have done an excellent job of one of the things that I feel defines a good salesperson, you exercise continued follow up even after the sale. For in reality the sale was made with the first post and you have continued on with the follow up on a regular basis. I have seen you demonstrate much of your own advice as you have responded to each individual. Very well done indeed.


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Buying signals? Hmmm...well...if the credit card comes OUT of the wallet, that's a pretty good sign. :)


Kevyn 4 years ago

Hi Spryte! Can you help me how to identify Buying signals from my clients.


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Jonathan - The fact that you used to build RV's and now sell them is a terrific advantage. Just remember to be honest and fair in your assessments and you'll have the customers asking personally for your opinion every time. Good luck to you and thanks for the comment.

Jacob - Cost vs quality is the unfortunate bane of every sales position. With medical equipment though, it isn't always easy to show a visible representation of the differences given that even the least expensive equipment is still quite expensive. If you haven't already done so, the best route is to put together a comparison between the two...perhaps going back to the people that originally settled for the less costly item and finding out what they think of it now. You might get some satisfied customers....but you are looking for those that might be kicking themselves for their decision. Concentrate on the differences when gathering this information...and point out why the better model is worth the investment. Another possibility is to find a way for it to become more affordable over a longer term. Good luck with your sales...when times are tough, the better quality and more expensive things are harder to sell.

Kail - Thank you for that compliment! First off...don't say "only" when you say call centres...that's one of the toughest sales positions to have because you don't have the luxury of face to face. If you managed that...then you have a lot already in your favor. I think given your "let's get started" attitude that you'll never be accused of lacking in enthusiasm. :) What you may need to do is take a deep breath. You are used to the phone call mentality and that has a tendency to be very aggressive...so relax just a bit...smile...make yourself available without lunging at anyone as they walk in the store. Think of your news sales environment as being more conducive to a sales conversation and let your customer's body language dictate what they want. If they're relaxed, then ask questions and listen. If they are unsure, offer suggestions. If they are rushed...then you already know what to do there. Don't lose that wonderful sense of initiative that you have...keep looking for ways to be better and you'll never lack for clients. I hope you get that job! Good luck!


KaiiPixiee 4 years ago

Hiyaa!!

I searched for ages looking for tips on how to be a good salesperson and this is definitely the best :)

I have an interview coming up next week for Phones4u as a sales consultant. I only have experience in call centres so know how to provide a great customer service but...have no experience in sales :(

As this is a tiny little shop local to me, commission basd selling phone and broadband contracts, can you give me some tips about what kind of rapport to build without it sounding forced? I know I haven't been told if I have the job or not but I thought theres no harm in asking and your answers always seem to be

very informative and thorough!


Jacob 4 years ago

Thanks for that wonderful piece. I would want more tips particularly for the medical sales representative who finds himself in an environment where cost, rather than quality, is the issue. The doctors appreciate the quality but often lament the inability of their patients to procure the genuine thing. How can you help?


Jonathan 4 years ago

Wow great story its helped me a lot. I just got a job at an RV Dealership as a salesman. I get pretty intimidated by the other salesman who have been there for years and years and sell a whole lot more than me, but I try to stay positive and learn as much as I can. Kinda helps that I used to build them before the sales job. Also 75% of my customers I have to reach through phone first, so that gets tricky for me. but thanks for your article ill try a few of those tips out.


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Concreteguy!

Well...hmm. Obviously the approach you take with the bluebloods is going to have to be different from the one you take with the blue collars. Vastly different. The relationship always takes its cues from the client...which because your client base is so varied might mean you'll have to cultivate several personas.

What I would do first is pay attention to how the client is dressed...casually...professionally and dress accordingly. So unless you want to be playing superman in a phone booth, try not to schedule them the same day.

Shop owners do not generally like to go on site to see a product, so be prepared to bring pictures of completed projects or items, and brochures to them....at an appointed time. Treat them as if their time is valuable and you'll earn their respect. It may not be immediate...but with patience and perseverance you can develop one. It would also be helpful if your company made something small with their name on it....these are excellent gifts to bring and will remind them of your business.

The blue collar guys love to be invited to the yard...invite them. Show them around, buy them lunch. What you want to do is make them feel important. Leave the selling of your product to them...that's their job. All you have to do is be their friend, their ally...they have to trust you and believe that you know how to do business. If you can convince them that you are there to make their life easier...and can then come through for them just once...they'll be loyal until you give them a reason to think otherwise.

Trust your gut...and study your customers. It's usually not too hard to figure out what they want. Then show them that person. Good luck!


Concreteguy 4 years ago

Hi spryte. I liked the article. I actually used to manufacture concrete countertops and granite was our biggest competitor. Concrete countertops are for more expensive because of the labor that goes into them. Anywho, countertops were not working out at the time because it was a part time gig so I found a sales job on craigslist dealing with concrete. I was hesitant because I liked my job and I thought I would be a laborer of sorts forever and I thought I was straying away from my career path, but then they threw me a hefty base pay, an ok commission, benefits and an expense account so now I'm selling statuary and hardscape products to garden centers, gift shops and landscapers. Most of the people I meet have never heard of my company and don't have a lot of money to throw around on new product. I have a wide variety of products to sell and it's hard to get anyone to buy because it's the end of the season. How do I get over the initial presentation and get to know people? The potential customers are snobby women who own shops and others are the bluest collar landscapers you've ever seen. How do I portray more confidence and likability. Sometimes I don't think I'm cut out for this other times I think "It's just selling how hard can it be?". Help! I'm anti social but I need to be good at this job!


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Queenie:. Thanks for leaving a comment and reading this hub. :)

Christopher: kudos to you on understanding how important the personal touch is in sales!


Christopher 4 years ago

I work in sales, and so far I have improved and exceeded projected sales forecasts for my company to date. Reading lots of people's comments about sales, pitches and techniques to adopt and embrace in your current sales position has triggered me to share a great quality that has helped me so far in my position.

I always ask the person something relatively interesting, or strike up brief conversation about an interest of theirs. I listen to their answer and WRITE DOWN their response in my sales module or diary.

I.e they are off on holiday in 2 weeks, so find out where they are going, because most the time they want you to ask anyway. Find out who is going and if they have anything special planned whilst on holiday.

Next time you see them, call them or email, initiate the contact with your info. I always refer back to the information I have gathered about a client. This shows your interest in the person and not just the sale.

Or pick up things in conversation, and write that down. Refer back to anything that is relative to your first encounter.

It still amazes me how well this process works for me. It takes people back, and in some instances the client had even forgot about the initial topic we discussed!


Queenie 4 years ago

Hi Spryte, thanks for this great and informative blog about sales technique.I have started tele sales for over 2 months now and started to realise I need to learn more and know more in order to perform better. I can't rely on the same old pitch and basic knowledge that the company provide me in my first week training. I am in search of how to be smarter in sales (& at workplace), this blog and the A&Qs section have definitely helped. I share lots of similar weaknesses with others who commented here, and so I won't post the same things to bore you :) But thanks again, for your advises.


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Well, Dante...that IS an interesting problem you have! Most people don't think before they speak...so I'm feeling strongly that yours may be a case of over-thinking and by the time you decide what to say the moment is past. Understand that it just takes practice and a willingness to occasionally say the wrong thing...everybody does...I'm really a master of opening my mouth and stuffing my feet in. But if you don't start trying...you'll just stay right where you are. Practice the blurt...trust your instincts...personally I'd rather hear something awkward than nothing at all. Awkwardness is rather endearing when it's genuine. Maybe...before you even start talking sales...tell them that you have this quirk that robs you of your memory and get the contact information first. Be honest...just like you were with me. Say something like...if I forget to ask you...or tell you...and then just...stick it out there. Take a chance.

It's okay not to lead...sometimes the customer likes to...but just practice saying whatever is on your mind at the time. Don't think about it...just blurt it out and if they give you an odd look...laugh and explain that you have a tendency to miss the opportunity to say what you want...and so you are practicing something that sounded silly but was given to you as advice.

I bet you won't have to do it for long once you are comfortable. Just relax...take a deep breath...and let go of thinking you have to be perfect. Perfect people are dull...

:)


Dante 4 years ago

Hello,

First and foremost, thank you. For taking the time and effort. Thank you. Whatever may be driving you to keep checking and helping strangers, I am glad it has not faded. I feel that sometimes, and I may be speaking for others as well, we need to be reminded of this common sense.

I would like to add or share my situation. Previously someone asked about customers leaving with an "I'll be back." You're advise was to lead the conversation more, so it does not get to that point. Asking a question being one. I have trouble with this. I'm an introvert. But I can be very energetic and talkative when I know someone. However I tend to be awkward when first meeting people or at parties and such. This is translating to my job, unfortunately.

I am able to start up a conversation, however.... to my disappointment I am unable to lead it anywhere. In the past I have even met interesting people who I thought (and really think this) really liked me, and yet I forget to get contact information. My follow up would be the problem I have found myself standing there, not knowing what to do or say and sometimes feeling in the way. This might be a product of my own thoughts.

I work in a retail clothe store. It is a small store which does not leave much room to walk or stand. 2 people on the floor working. So standing around awkwardly is... more awkward. Low foot traffic so there is not much do to as far as walking by the customer as if getting or re-stocking items. I listen, I swear I listen to customers, but for some reason I cannot voice words back to them sometimes. OR I come up with things I genuinely would like to know about them... TOO LATE. I will be writing down lines and questions. To see if I can break this.. habit.

I will find comfort keeping this hub in my thoughts.

Thank you,

Dante


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

*Spryte mutters a bunch of nasty things under her breath

Not at you Lola...but at what your job entails. I truly despise these types of places that concentrate on quotas. It's just another version of the police officer having to meet a quota of tickets...and if you should happen to bump into him when he hasn't met it yet...you are probably about to have a very bad day.

I'm like you...and I don't like to be accosted while shopping. If I see something I am interested in...then I like to be treated as a human and not a a number.

I really never thought I'd find myself saying this on my own blog...but the only thing I can recommend with a clear conscience is finding something that doesn't distract from your interaction with a customer...like a clock or somebody in a corporate office dictating how many sales you can make per hour. If you find yourself enjoying it...and some do...and do it well...don't let me discourage you. But I can't even pretend to endorse these sort of sales techniques personally. I'm sorry. :(


Lola 4 years ago

I just got a seasonal job at a store that sells skin care products and makeup. I have experience selling products, but I've never been held to specific sales quotoas or goals. At this job, I am expected to sell a certain number of products each hour. I think I've been a helpful and friendly sales associate in the past but not a particularly pushy one. I try to put myself in the customer's shoes, which doesn't help me in the sales department if I'm trying to reach a quota, because I am someone who generally likes to be left alone in stores. I guess I always assumed most people don't like pushy salespeople, but I guess there are many who do, or at least many who can be talked into a sale despite the fact. Is this typical? How can I sell on a quoata without being pushy? At my current job, I'm expected to try at least three times to sell to a customer, even if they decline my help all three times. Any advice?


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

:P. Stand back little "o" ...it's KW's turn...

Well...trucking is a very broad category and since you didn't specify I'll keep my suggestions broad. If you want to tell me more....we can discuss it further.

I think what you need to do is narrow down your marketing target, first. Who do you want for clients...

I find making a flow chart helps me to stay focused. Once you know your client base....list the competitors you will be dealing with. Study them. What are they doing...what can you do better than they can? See...now you are building your sales pitch.

Then...you go out...and steal them away from your competitor. :)


~O~ 4 years ago

:)

...too bad my comment's short...it is what it is!!


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spryte 4 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Lo! Well I have to say you sound like you are off to a great start. Don't be discouraged if it feels a bit awkward at first...that little bit of discomfort has a charm of it's own and gives people a sense that you respect them enough and care enough to make a good impression.

Like any relationship, and that is what you are building here, the introduction is important. What I would do in your shoes would be to put together a sample size of your product for the employees to share along with your sales information. Drop it off...say a few things about your product...get a feel for these potential customers...and then leave with the promise that you will call at a convenient time. Make sure to find out when that is! :)

Then...the next time you visit...you'll have more to chat about...and hopefully it will have to do with incense!


K W. 4 years ago

Great writing, great tips on how to be a salesperson. My family owns a trucking business and in order to expand I need to get out there and sale our services. The problem is I'm the one that's doing it and have no idea where to start or how to approach perspective clients. Do you have any tips that might help me succeed?


Lo 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this article! I've started a small business making and selling my own handmade incense. I was very intimidated the first few times I tried to sell to a store, and now I'm hoping to get into more. This article is exactly what I needed, thank you!

I'm about to start going from store to store and just selling to the employees. Everything I make is reasonably priced and good quality, and being the maker of what I sell gives me a confidence and knowledge. I just have a hard time appearing comfortable and be very awkward! haha Do you have any tips for salesman who want to APPROACH people about their product? I'd appreciate any advice you can give!

cheers.


Marvin 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice! I just started a Job selling car stereos at a retail store and so far i hate it with passion.. Hopefully it Will get better


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Kiki - it's funny that you should bring this up when I was just reading an article today about a high end piece of developed real estate in Hawaii that is being called a ghost town...the market doesn't seem to be there and the owners are just planning to ride it out. On the bright side...they're probably right. Things always turn around eventually. That's good news in the long term...but how does that help you and your immediate situation?

Real estate sales is not easy. It's not like you can go door to door asking,"Would you like to buy a house"? Either the client has to come to you...or you need to be referred. The first, especially when new is purely luck...the second comes with experience and reputation gained by this experience. Now add a heavy dose of competitive egos into the mix and I'd rather take my chances swimming with a tank of great whites. :)

Still there are things you can do...and there is money out there that is being spent. What I might do is court the companies that have executives traveling abroad and staying in a location for a bit. Wouldn't it be in their interest to own an apartment or two rather than putting their people up in a hotel. This will require some research...maybe a lot of research on your part.

Collect everybody's business card...you are going to have to aggressively build relationships because in your case it will be important WHO you know.

I wish I could be a bigger help to you...but real estate sales unnerves even me! Good luck!


Kiki 5 years ago

hi spryte,

Thank you for this wonderful information. I have learnt quite a lot. I am a new staff in a real estate agency and we sell luxury apartments to high networth clients in very exclusive areas of the country. There is pressure in the office to bring in new clients and I have no idea where to get these kind of clients who would shell out millions of dollars for a luxury apartment and I am not a natural sales person. I really need this job and would like to see where it would take me career-wise. Please I would like to know your opinion on this and if you have any advice and pointers for me. Thank you.


Raphael 5 years ago

Awesome article. I work in sales for a non-profit and this article has definitely given me some helpful insights to selling.

Thank you


5 years ago

What a great article! I've even read all of the comments! I'm strongly considering leaving IT because it bores me to tears to go into Sales. I'm just not a natural salesperson.

The flexibility and income potential is what appeals to me most. Your article has definitely been bookmarked. It's helped me gain a new perspective on how to succeed should I make the leap. Thanks so much!


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Oh...and one other thing. Don't worry overmuch about your initial sales pitch. Start with what is comfortable to you and pay attention to the questions. If they are repetitive, you'll know it's time to tweak your pitch. Trust me on this...if you ever get to the point where you are no longer changing and fine tuning your spiel...then it's time for a new challenge. :) I have a feeling that if you can overcome the company liability you 'll be an incredible salesperson!


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

LOL! I'm a hermit. :) However you never know. I'm my mother's daughter and if she was brave enough to invite a couple of Jehovah's Witness in "just for fun"...

Hmmm...selling for a company with a bad rep...these questions just seem to get harder after 3 years. Have you discussed this bad online review with management and if so, what was their response? This goes back to my being honest with a customer and giving full disclosure. You are the frontline but if the troops aren't behind you, you might get lucky initially with your sales attitude...but word of mouth ( or computer ) will eventually catch up and well, it doesn't look promising. You are going to have to tackle this issue on two fronts, assuming this is something you are considering for a long term employment.

The way I might handle it would be to place myself as a buffer between the customer and customer service. As in " this is my card and I would like you to personally touch base with me if you have any difficulty.". Let them know about the bad review you found and how you are concerned enough to make sure that your customer never has this issue. Make sure it isn't just lip service and definitely intercede if you must. Sometimes people leave bad reviews out of simple frustration. Knowing they are being heard is sometimes all it takes for them to have a better opinion of a company.

Secondly...no matter how much you take on as your responsibility to the customer, if the company shows no initiative to better their own reputation...and this is what you'll seriously need to consider, you might want to take your people skills elsewhere. You have to believe in your product and trust the company to have some integrity in order to find satisfaction as a salesperson...in my opinion at least...otherwise you may as well be peddling snake oil.

Good luck and don't compromise!!


Houston 5 years ago

Hey spryte, I'm actually glad to see some responses to the article after three years! Was a good read and really informative.

I actually don't have ANY work experience whatsoever, but I've just started out as a door to door salesperson (Don't even start for another 2 days actually). The pitch given to us to use as practice was full of well, what can i say, crop would probably be fitting. I decided to ditch that completely and go with the main points of the pitch, Introducing myself and the company I'm selling, stating what I'm trying to provide, benefits, things that aren't going to change, and answering any questions. Quick and simple. I'm not sure if it's the most effective way to do things though... I've been trying to educate myself about the company as much as possible and I've actually found that their sales-people and their customer service is absolutely horrendous. There's supposed to be a 10 business day "cool down" period where they can think about whether or not they want to get involved with the product or not, but with them Googling the company and seeing "TERRIBLE" as the second search result, I don't see many people sticking to the initial pitch(not sure if right word) or just ditching it altogether.

Is there any ways that I can effectively make a big enough impact that when the customer does manage to see "TERRIBLE, BLASPHEMOUS COMPANY!" they don't revert to some rash decision based off someone else's sale mistake?

Are there any tips different or new from the above that could be applied to someone completely new to this kind of industry or any industry at all that involves sales? I don't really have a problem talking to people, and I mainly think it'll be a fun experience.

I read an earlier comment and if you happen to be in Aus I'll be sure to avoid your house. =P


moe susain 5 years ago

big like thx for that (:


raj 5 years ago

i dont mind either you are natural salesperson or no...but the information that you gave...is really good..thanks


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Daniel:. hmmm...house to house...that's a tough one in this current day and age when people consider their homes to be their last refuge. As horrible as it sounds, I'd check with somebody in law enforcement or tap into whatever resources for crime statistics there are available to you. Find the neighborhoods where your service could do the most good and come prepared with your research. Make appointments! You are offering a solid service and you want to come across as professional, serious and a problem solver. Catching a homeowner at a time when their mind is on the current football game won't be pretty....especially at my house. Good luck!


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Daniel:. hmmm...house to house...that's a tough one in this current day and age when people consider their homes to be their last refuge. As horrible as it sounds, I'd check with somebody in law enforcement or tap into whatever resources for crime statistics there are available to you. Find the neighborhoods where your service could do the most good and come prepared with your research. Make appointments! You are offering a solid service and you want to come across as professional, serious and a problem solver. Catching a homeowner at a time when their mind is on the current football game won't be pretty....especially at my house. Good luck!


DanielH 5 years ago

Great article, I learned alot. I just started working as a sales rep for adt home security, Im off to a good start but haven't gotten to the house to house part yet. Any advice?


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Berlin! Thank you for letting me know I'm now #1 ( I was #3 last time I checked so I'm absolutely pleased!). But let's talk about you now.

I'm a really good judge of people...you made me smile, laugh, nod my head in agreement all with your honest assessment of who you are and why you react the way you do. You, my dear, are a refreshing change from the average salesperson and for just THAT reason you are the salesperson that every person wants to have. You actually care!

Unfortunately, not everyone is like you and being the rare creature that you are, you have recognized and disdained sleazy sales tactics when employed on you. However, what you seem to be agonizing over is the fear that others may see you and apply the sleazy salesperson label inappropriately to you.

Continue being honest. As for your own frugality, I can understand that but give your customer the healthy respect of making their own financial decisions. Let them decide if they want the tart or the more luxurious accommodations. All you are doing is making helpful suggestions...you don't have your hands in their pockets. I know that there have been times when I just didn't think about having a lemon tart and y'know now that you mention it...I would love one.

Continue being protective...that caring attitude does come through and over time customers that have received that treatment will return to you because you have earned their trust. Maybe to satisfy that frugal nature of yours you could research great values and pass what you have learned on to your customer.

And lastly...relax... :) You are not, nor ever could be, a cold-hearted, money- grubbing type of salesperson and anyone that could even think such a thing is too dense to deserve a vacation. Have fun with what you are doing and let it come with time. It will...you are going to be an asset to your company and a blessing to the customers that are fortunate to do business with you.


Berlin 5 years ago

Hi, Spryte! I'm sure you know this already, but your article is the very first result under a Google search for "How to be a good salesperson"—so congratulations on that!

I wondered if you might have any advice for me! I recently started a new job in a rentals agency catering to tourists. Basically, my first priority is following up on customer enquiries about accommodation and then, obviously, to score bookings. My wages are not commission-based, however, so I don't suffer from the urgency factor, at least not too obviously, I hope.

Most of our customers are, naturally, from abroad, and the only communication they have with the company is through e-mail and telephone calls. I've heard that it's a lot harder to say no to a voice over the phone than it is to say no to an anonymous stranger over e-mail, so my superiors have encouraged me to focus less on writing and more on calling.

Thankfully, if I am calling a customer, it's because they've already expressed interest in our services, so I'm not starting from zero. However, even though I don't consider myself a shy person, I have always experienced anxiety when my job has revolved around getting people to spend their money. I think I struggle with this because I myself am very frugal with my cash, and it takes an enormously talented salesperson to get me to part with it. So, when I have to be that salesperson, I lose a lot of confidence.

In the past, I've never had any problems being open, friendly and talkative with customers who approach me for help. But even when I worked at a café, it made me cringe when I'd have to say "How about a lemon tart with your bold coffee?" Even trying to sell something that cost £1 made me feel as if I was harrassing my customers.

Now, I am trying to sell six or seven nights of accommodation in a big city, so you can imagine how intimidating it is! And doing it over the phone is even scarier. There is never open hostility because, at the end of the day, the customer is the one who wants the service, so naturally they should expect to be sold to. Still, I have a very hard time striking up a rapport.

I think my problem is that it greatly annoys me when I'm the customer and a salesperson tries to relate to me in five minutes' time to sell me something. Perhaps I am being too cynical, but I often think, "Right, as if you're really going to remember me tomorrow. You'll say anything to get me to walk out with this product in my hands."

Now, I don't think I'm like that at all. I consider myself a warm, open, funny, honest person, and I think if I could just get over my fear of being "the salesperson", I could really impress customers (and my boss!). But I have no idea how to separate my annoyance at being sold to from my personal experiences selling to others? I also find it very challenging to relate to someone who I've only spoken to for three minutes on the phone. I've never been great at chitchat (mostly because I'm very direct in my personal relationships, so light conversation, for whatever reason, has always seemed phony to me), so this really hinders my ability to form a base upon which to expand with each customer.

Can you offer any advice?


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eljae 5 years ago

Thanks spryte, and congrats on your new doggie! News to you is that you have already found your dogs trainer, it is you!


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Eljae: Interestingly enough what you do has been a lot on my mind lately. My husband and I recently acquired our own dog and have been discussing training at a local chain store for pets.

Being a salesperson, especially one who depends even partially on commission, is a full time job...not 9 to 5 full time...I'm talking the 24/7 type. The time that you invest outside of your clocked time will pay off in the long run...very much so.

I found myself wondering why the adoption centers had no business referrals for local trainers...one had a single referral flyer, but it was overly pricey in my opinion. Now I know that PetSmart, for example, has a wonderful adoption program in place for cats and that they are very supportive of many humane groups. So why aren't they offering dog training services for people adopting dogs? Or..if they are...why don't I know about it? Think about it...puppies might need training...but adopted pets can benefit from it as well.

This sort of thing is a win-win for both you and the store.

As for the distractions...they will always exist and unfortunately, I think that will always be the hazard of where you work. Best to just suck it up and deal with these customers as quickly and friendly as you can.

Best of luck to you....and to me. I still need to find that trainer!


eljae profile image

eljae 5 years ago

Thanks spryte for your article and the on-going Q&A which is equally informative. I like your sense of humor and love that you plopped yourself on the countertops! I am a certified dog trainer and currently teach obedience classes at a pet supply chainstore. To teach a class I must sell the class, so basically I do cold sells to pet parents that come shopping. I've been there for four years, so I do have some referrals also. I am paid mostly by commission and the store has sales goals that need to be met or my store manager gets reamed out by corporate, (not nice!) Honestly, I don't like the retail environment but I LOVE dog training and teaching people about their dogs. Most of my scheduled hours are spent teaching and preparing to teach. The store is understaffed so I find myself distracted when I step onto the floor to sell classes. Messes need to be cleaned up, registers backed up or a person needs help finding an item, (not necessarily dog related). How can I stay focused and how can I make the most of my eight allotted "sales" hours per week without feeling burdened by quotas and commissions? Thanks in advance for any advice and good health and happiness to you and yours!


CHARLES 5 years ago

What agood and informative article,very inspiring to people new in the sales field like me.Much thanks to all who contributed.I deal in sales of medical diagnostic equipments and medical laboratory consumables,pliz give more tips to help in this field


pau 5 years ago

Thank you very much!


spryte profile image

spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Thanks, Gina. This article was published nearly three years ago.


Gina 5 years ago

I like your article,what date you wrote this article?


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

LOL, and thank you, Monk! I love that saying and can see it being used cheekily in the right setting. I'm storing it into my "Spryte's Sales Arsenal".


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TheMonk 5 years ago from Brazil

I love reading anything about sales. My favorite part is thinking about great things to ask and build rapport. That, for me, is the big key thing. There is a quote that says: "All things been equal, people will prefer buying from their friends. All things been not so equal, people will still prefer buying from their friends."

Voted up and bookmarked!


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Flarida 5 years ago

Your hub is very useful for me! Waiting for your next wonderful hub!


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi, hips! Don't worry about being a powerhouse salesperson coming right out of the gate...that will come with time and getting to know the people that will be your customers. Do be on time, be dependable, be flexible, be cheerful, be dressed appropriately and be sincere in wanting to do your best. These are the things your employer will consider as basic skills and if you can manage these, you will always have work and an employer willing to make the investment to teach you the skills. Good luck and have a great summer.


hips  5 years ago

i wanna work in an exhibition as a summer job , well im 16 yrs old and i never worked before , but i need the money and i dont know how to act and how to sell stuff , not food or clothes no like accessoriese and stuff liike that how should i sell them make my boss or my supervisor want to hire me again :S:S please i want your help!!


Tab 5 years ago

I love that you have found ways to be successful in what you do.

I have recently just started working for a life insurance company and I love it. I have gone from knowing nothing about a topic no family wants to talk about, to passi.g an exam


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manthy 5 years ago from Alabama,USA

Hi - I really liked your hub so I gave you a link from my hub, it is under Salesman

http://hubpages.com/business/You-can-be-a-better-S...

when they click it salesman it takes them to your hub.

Anyway I look forward to following you and I hope you will return the favor by giving me a link sometime.

Thanks & God-Bless


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Liz:

First off...I just want to tell you that I think you are approaching the whole thing with a great attitude. You know it's not where you ultimately want to to be, but you aren't afraid to get in the trenches to get your foot in the door and THAT is why you will be an incredible manager when you get to that point.

From reading your comment, I can tell that you know your own worth. You are well-spoken and intelligent. I'm not saying this to stroke your ego...in fact, I think that you are smart enough to realize that these very attributes could lead you into walking into this job with an attitude that screams "this is only temporary!!!" and that could be your downfall.

Here's what I would do to fool that extra-smart brain of yours... :)

Management is a people-person job. You have to be empathetic, but tough...weighing what is best for the company against how you can motivate employees to want to reach that goal and then helping both to be successful.

Sales is a people-person job too. Some of the experience that you will gain from sales will help you as a manager...listening, watching body language, knowing when to push and when to take a more laid back approach. Selling something is just the result of "consumer management."

So tell yourself this...you aren't a saleswoman, you are a manager-in-training. Use this time to hone your people skills and enjoy it!

Best of luck to you...I have a feeling you'll be a smashing success.


Liz 5 years ago

Thanks for the great tips, Spyrte!

I'm on the brink of accepting a sales position and since I'm ambivalent about going into sales, I've been reading up about what it takes to be successful at it. I've been assured that the company will provide sales training (I have no sales experience) and product training so I'm not worried about learning the skills and knowledge.

What I am worried about is my mindset. Given a choice, I would not venture into sales (I have some previous job experience in a role involving corporate administration/operations ; basically more back-end than customer-facing). However, this job has some great long-term prospects in terms of moving into a management role which I am very much interested in, which is why I am considering taking the job.

What can I do to get past this mental barrier of "I don't want to do sales"/"I don't like sales"? Like you, I feel like I am not a natural salesperson and that having anything less than a positive attitude will make my experience miserable.

And if I do take the job and am able to go into it with a positive mindset, what can I do to ride out the lows (as I'm sure there will be some!) to progress to where I want to be in my career?

Any advice would be appreciated, thank you!


Cljellison 5 years ago

I just turned 19. I am a sales woman at Harley davidson. I mob at this shiz :)


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Haayko:

I admire your honesty...and you are only 18??! I'll be just as honest with you.

Pretty much everyone starts on the bottom rung when it comes to employment. I can't say everyone because we all know or have heard of people that have had connections that have landed them higher up on the ladder whether they've deserved the position or not.

My first job (other than the typical teenaged babysitting) was at a local Burger King. Not exactly glamorous, but at sixteen it seemed like a lot of money and it helped me to establish a reputation for being dependable.

This is where your first problem lies...and I can tell by what you've written that this does not come as a surprise to you.

Okay...time for the lecture part...blah, blah, blah. I hate this by the way because it makes me sound like some old fart when in fact this is just plain common sense...so listen up, okay?

You know WHAT you want...I think you are smart enough to realize that you will have to WORK for what you want...but my fear is that you are hoping that I have some secret to get you closer to what you want without having to do all that work. :)

Here is what you can do...and it might help, it might not. It really all depends on how eager the employer is to help you succeed. Next time you are told that they would prefer somebody with more experience, ask them their advice on how they would go about getting the required experience. Perhaps they have a lower level position that you can perform while you gain the experience to become a salesperson. Or perhaps they might just point out that you need to hold one job for a certain period of time to show your newfound maturity and level of commitment.

Either way...I really want to wish you the best. You are living the most difficult part of joining the workforce....the beginning. Unfortunately, it's also the most critical. So be smart, be genuine and be aware that there are a lot of people that have been where you are and survived. :)


Haayko 5 years ago

Hello Spryte,

Wow I really have to say you truly are an inspiration. I am so Impressed that not only have you written such an informative and to the point article, but spent around a whole year still answering the questions of the people who still need a bit more advice, so a great big thank you before anything else ;)

I was hoping you could help me a little. I am 18 and so far with my life, I have dropped out of college twice (Just wasn't for me) and worked 1.5 years part time in a cafe starting 2008, worked in McDonalds and worked in the kitchen of pizza hut. The problem I have is, due to deciding not to turn up (lack of motivation due to what the jobs were) I've been sacked from all these jobs! I've now been unemployed for a while and I've really matured and decided it's time for a career.

This is where I need your help, I really want to make a break into sales (Mobile phone sales to be precise), but the problem is, where I live everywhere wants sales experience and I really just don't have any, so do you have any advice on how I can get into this great area of work?

I need to be quick to, my girlfriend and I have been looking to move out for a while now, so I need some money aha.

Thank you for your time, and thanks again for this fantatic article.


Ho 5 years ago

Great


xangeo 5 years ago

Hi Spryte... I've just been accepted as an outbound sales agent and it would be my first time selling things over the phone although I've been in the call center business for more than a year now. I'm just really nervous that I might not be good at this since I've been having problems building rapport with my customers. I'll do my best to apply all of the tips that you've written here and hope that it would turn out to be the best. Thanks and God speed.


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

ed3offs: Thank you...although the idea that I could be anybody's mentor or advisor is a frightening thing. :)

Linda: I have no idea.

mulemezijoel: thank you :)


mulemezi joel 5 years ago

i just got a new job of selling photocopiers.your article is really inspiring.thanx alot


Linda 5 years ago

I have three factories in China, I am living Los Anglos in USA.

I'm looking for salesman partner to development business. How I can find the salesman in USA? Thank You !

E-mail: g_k78@yahoo.com


ed3offs 5 years ago

Hi Spryte, your article is very informative im very thankful of what i've read some of my questions are being answered by the opinions you had given i joined in the networking business here in the Philippines about a month now and aside from the salestips my upline gave me i still look for other advice related to thiers and luckily i've spotted your column and it's very interesting, inspirational i hope that you could still give me more tips on how what to do my most eh annoying problem is how to make myself do coz i you know am not into this work or situation before i hope you can understand me and also im very thankful that i've you as my adviser and mentor more power to you, God Bless and til to our next communication.


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Jessie:

:) I wish you tons of luck and please come back to share what you tried and how it worked out for you.


Jessie 5 years ago

Thank you for this article, I'm on the verge of quiting my sales position because I have a hard time with it, but your article inspired me to approach my position in a new way!


amir 5 years ago

thnx alot 4 spryte


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Nishtha: You've just put a great big smile on my face today. Thank you for coming back and letting me know! Best wishes to you and your staff!


Nishtha Mehrotra 5 years ago

Thank-You for your feedback!!.. I loved your suggestion of trying to chip in with questions to make customers stay. Although the problem still persists, I can say that they do stay longer now. The sales are slowly increasing too. I've given this tip to the new staff I've recruited and am following it completely!!...Thank you once again!


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Justin! I must confess, I'm a browser too so I can understand that it must drive some salespeople nuts as I wander through their stores. Even worse, it makes me crazy to be asked every few minutes if I can be helped, or if I'm finding everything I want...only to refuse and then being a true hypocrite, I can't figure out why I only hear crickets when I actually NEED somebody to ring up my purchases or answer a question. :)

For you, I would recommend two things: working on your timing and your self-confidence. Watch a few shoppers (and I don't mean STALK them)...keep busy, but always try to stay within line of sight. Make yourself approachable...or if the situation pops up, casually carry something past them, pause with a smile and give them your name...letting them know that you will be available to help them should they need it and then make sure you are within that easy reach.

But self-confidence is the true key. In every sale, the first product that your customer buys is your opinion. It doesn't cost the customer a thing to listen...but it could cost you a sale if they aren't buying it. So what you need to work on is selling yourself first and foremost.

Don't concentrate on such a negative worry as making a fool of yourself...because honestly, everyone does at some point or another (and some of us with more frequency than others)...in the end, it only proves one thing...that you are human. Everyone worries about making a fool of themselves and once you realize that you have something in common with your customer it only becomes an issue if YOU make it an issue. You could trip over the Bic display and end up plastered in post-it notes...but if you can still smile and say, "Can I help you?" the customer WILL smile back and probably say "Yes...you can." I know I would.

Good luck...you seem like a really nice person and I wish you all the best!


Justin 5 years ago

Thanks so much for this article, it has given me a lot of tips to think about when selling products to customers. I work at a local Staples Business Depot here in Canada and I did have some questions/concerns that still remain after reading this article. How do you suppose I turn a "I'm not buying today" customer to "Please ring me through as fast as you can so I can enjoy this product" customer. The reason is I am not paid on commission but we do record computer sales (Who sold what, what things did you sell with it etc.) and it would look better for me if I really improved my number of sales with addons. What advice would you give me for selling attachments such as extended warranties, set up packages etc. along with the computer? At Staples we do sell a lot of different products in different tech areas and some of the guys I work with can just sell like there's no tomorrow and I'm too embarrassed to ask how they do it. The thing I hate most is getting the feeling of "I hope I don't make a fool of myself today" or "I hope I get easy to convince customers"


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Nishtha:

Thank you! Now let's see if I can help you out :)

Honestly I can see nothing wrong with your product knowledge and it's very obvious that you love what you sell. I'm not sure that starting casual conversation is your issue either...

The clue to your dilemma lies in the "we'll be back" statement as your customer makes a dash for it. They don't want to be rude or offend, which is a strong indication that they like you...but at the same time, it's the verbal equivalent of a wild animal literally gnawing off its own leg to get free of the trap. What you need to work on is guiding the conversation so that it NEVER reaches that point.

Some people will tell you that casual conversation is 50% listening and 50% talking...but that's so far from the truth. Conversation is more like 10% talking, 50% listening, 30% watching and 20% asking questions about the other person. If you find your potential customers squirming, looking for the door or obviously not paying you the attention that you think they should be...switch to a question...even if it's personal and totally unrelated to the sale.

One of my favorite tactics...and as a designer you should be able to pull it off flawlessly is this...

"Did you know...that people tend to decorate their homes in the same colors that they find flattering in their clothing?" This is a great lead in for discussing their decorating tastes....and once they start, listen, listen, listen...

Being a decorator is sort of like match-making in a way. You have to go in with an open mind...and then slowly sift through the clues as they are offered to find a good fit. What might be beautiful to your or I...might not be to somebody else. And that is where your expertise comes in and the listening and observation become so important. It also leaves your customer with the impression that what matters to them is all that matters to you...

Other than that...as far as the practical stuff...does your store have a website so that people can come back and purchase something once they have returned home? Is there a discount for customers staying at the hotel or for repeat customers? Is there a shipping policy in place to assist in getting larger items home and is this information visible? Try putting yourself in the customer's shoes and then ask...what would my concerns be and what would it take to make me happy?

Personally...I think you are going to do just great :)


Nishtha 5 years ago

Hi!...wonderful article!...

I'm basically a designer but have been helping set up a shop at a luxury hotel. Since I have procured / designed every article,I know about them in and out. However, since it is a hotel,I have to deal with new customers every time. I am not good at striking casual conversation. And all products that I sell are interior products. Customers usually come in to just see the products and walk out. I love each product in the shop but I don't know how to sell it. I usually talk about every product with love . They like lsitening but then walk out saying they'll b back to make the purchase but they are not. I know I should strike a bond with them. BUt I have no clue how to do that. How do I start a casual conversation?. What more should I do?


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Hi Marita:

First off...I admire your initiative. You obviously WANT to do better and that's an asset to your company.

I'm going to assume that even though sales is probably competitive, the fact that you are part of a team means that there is some sort of "we're in this together" mentality. You can use this to your benefit.

What I would do is take your concerns to your boss and tell him/her exactly what you have told me. Suggest sitting in on some of the calls made by your best salesperson. If your boss is smart...he/she will realize that this cross-training exercise could be a good thing.

Watch your co-worker closely...body language, tone and pitch of voice and of course by all means listen to the sales pitch. Even though you aren't face to face with your potential customer...if you are sitting uncomfortably, tense, perched on the edge of your seat...this can convey itself over the phone. Same with the voice. I know that perky, happy, high-pitched voices can set my own teeth on edge which is why I tend to succumb to male salespeople. :) As silly as it sounds...adjust your tone for the gender on the phone. Men love to hear a smooth female voice...women tend to want a more practical, conversational tone. We do it automatically when we are face to face...so try to adapt it for your phone conversations.

The sales pitch is always important...but unless you capture their interest from the beginning you'll get tuned out and they will hear nothing but blah, blah, blah as they try to escape you and get back to whatever they were doing before you called.

Finally...and because you remarked about how you back down as soon as you sense hostility...ask yourself what sort of behavior soothes you when you are in a similar situation. Your potential customer is not just a target...they're a human being and who knows what is going on in their life at the moment the phone rang and interrupted them. They might be having a great day...or something catastrophic may have just occurred...a fight with a spouse, a child that spilled a gallon of paint over the new carpet, or very simply they can't get the jar of spaghetti sauce open. The hostility you hear may have nothing at all to do with you. You are just the lucky recipient.

Personally, if I sensed hostility, I'd immediately adopt the most soothing tone I could and express concern...as in "perhaps I've called at bad time? Would there be a better time to call you?" There's no sense in you wasting your valuable time talking to somebody who is not prepared to listen. Right?

Cold calling is probably the most challenging sales position that exists, but as you've seen, it can be successful. I think you have it in you to be in the Top Sellers List...you've sold me. :) Let me know how it goes, okay?


marita 5 years ago

Hi there, ive been working in sales for the past 6 months for BT (British Telecom). It is outbound sales, selling broadband and phone lines. I do ok...ish but always seem to find myself in the bottom of the 'most sales list'. I get really frustrated with myself because im on a team of 10, we all had the same training and we all have the same opportunities to make sales, so i can't understand what they are doing that i am not??

One thing Ive noticed is I feel uncomfortable starting up conversations with the customer, you know, like general chit chat. Therefore not building a rapport. I think its because i can sense the hostility in the customers voice from the start of the call (because they know its telesales.) So i think to myself this person isn't going to buy anything so just get to the point.. if you know what i mean?

Im just struggling and it annoys me when i feel ive done my best, and it isn't good enough.

I think I could do well if i could overcome some of my issues. Im very confident at home etc but i really need to gain confidence on the phone to my customers.

I have found your hub really informative and helpful, thankyou! :-) is there any other tips you could give me? i really want to do well, I would love to see my name up there, in the Top Seller's List.

Best Wishes :-) :-) Marita


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spryte 5 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Trizzzy: Thank you and best wishes on your new job! :)


Trizzzy 5 years ago

Hi, I just started working as a Sales Assistant, and I am new to this kind of job. I surely am not a born sales person for sure. But from reading this article, it has helped me to gain courage and be confident in myself. It has also taught me things I didn't even thought were really important when it comes to dealing with customers.

It's an awesome article. Thanks heaps for sharing!


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Jowy: Congratz on the new job! And thank you for the compliment!

It sounds to me as if you'll be doing some corporate sales...which is a bit different from other types of sales because you are now dealing with what I call "the corporate ego." My husband, as a network architect, deals with salespeople on a daily basis...so some of what I tell you is his feedback. He's known as "Dances With Vendors." :)

If you must cold call...be honest. Nothing is more irksome than a salesperson pretending to not be a salesperson...as in "Hi Spryte...this is Bob...is Mike in?" You may be Bob...Mike's long lost brother, the millionaire...but I'll still be asking you what this call is in regard to and you'll answer me because otherwise I will hang up the phone and you'll be pissed!

So...your first order of business is to breach this company defense and just because you flattered me and asked nicely...I will tell you how. :)

The absolute best way to get your foot in the door is to actually go there...not with the intention of making a sale...but with the goal of getting the information that you need for your NEXT visit. Bring a bit of swag, your business card and perhaps a bit of information about your company and product...nothing too overwhelming, just a taste. The person that you will most likely be dealing with is the receptionist...or perhaps a personal secretary...either way, let him or her know that you are well aware that their time is valuable and you are only there to introduce yourself. The gift is for this person. Treat this person with the same respect that you would the actual client and you'll gain all of the information that you will need to make a successful sale. Make an enemy of them and you can kiss the opportunity goodbye.

Once you have the right person's ear...come prepared. Price is always important, but so is product knowledge, service, reliability and presentation. One company dealing with my husband found out the hard way that despite having the lower bid by a few hundred dollars, their competitor put together a more pleasing informational packet and was awarded the contract. My husband said he loved the pictures which showed him where every unit would be installed...it appealed to his sense of order.

Above all...LISTEN to your client. If they are interested in your product, they will tell you what they really want. If they say "e-mail me"...then by all means don't call them. If they say, "call me with the information," that doesn't mean calling them and leaving a message that says, "Hi this is Jowy...call me!" Do everything in your power to make their lives easier and when it comes time to buy something...trust me...they'll come scampering to you because they know you will take good care of them.

And don't forget to take them out to lunch once in a while. :)


Jowy 6 years ago

Hey Spryte i really liked the info, im about to start working for a big computer company in the sales department, ive never sooldd anythiiinggg in my life lol, this article kinda gave me an idea on what to do on a call and manage a client, but im not really sure if im going to be alrite, wen u started selling how did you treat ur clients? wat steps did u follow to make a sale? i mean besides the little tips u just gave us


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spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Bev -

Use the same approach that formica countertop salesmen use :) Affordability.


bev 6 years ago

thank you for that.would put that in mind :)

are you saying that this cultured stone is more attractive than it is durable?if so,you said we should try to be honest with customers.how do i convince them to buy a product which might not be durable and still make sales?


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

My first response, Bev, is to tell you that telephone texting has done nothing positive for your written communication skills. There's a time and a place for text-speak. Answering any of my hubs in such a fashion is not one of them. I hope that you are not employing this form of communication with any of your customers as I would suspect they'd go elsewhere immediately to do their business.

Why? It comes across as lazy and ignorant. So drop it okay?

Now in regard to Marble-lite...I think you might want to do some independent research. While the name might be relatively new (and it isn't really that new) the fact is, the material, usually referred to as "cultured marble" or "cultured granite", has been around for at least 15 - 20 years.

The problem with any cultured stone material is that it is polymer resin based, meaning the weakest part of the material (aka the part more prone to damage) will always be the resin and not the stone granules mixed into it to give it that "stone look."

With that said, it is usually less expensive than natural stone...so if your customer is more interested in look (for a reasonable price) rather than durability (for a higher price) then this material would be a good choice.

The information is out there, trust me, you just have to look for it. Try googling "cultured stone."

Good luck and lose the phone :)


bev 6 years ago

rili lyk ur article..wuld soon start a job involving sales of a marble-like plaster,made`of marble n granite chips called marblelite.its a relatively new product n hasn't rili bin used.hw do i convince pple 2 use it wen there rili isn't any xperience abt it?


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Yipes! One week to learn everything there is to know about motors so as to not appear incompetent to an engineer?! This company you work for...has all the warmth of...well I can't think of anything that's extremely cold and still witty at the same time so I'll leave that to you.

Okay...I have some great advice for you. First...you won't be the only salesperson that doesn't know their own product...trust me, despite being told to learn their product they don't. I've been on the receiving end. It isn't pretty.

So don't even TRY to cram all that knowledge into your head before the meeting. You'll come across as an idiot and first impressions are everything. Eventually do get to learn what you are selling, but I'll excuse you this once since you said you just started this job.

Don't despair though...you do have a great thing going for you. Engineers and IT Techs have a bond...approach them from that angle. Rather than come across as a ill-informed motor salesman, let them know right up front that you have that in your background...research a few salient points that you think might interest them and let them know that although you have not absorbed the amount of knowledge required to answer their questions immediately, you will make it a priority to get the answers they want and get back to them. This not only makes you appear like you have initiative (which I'm sure you do) but you now have the added bonus of an excuse to call them, email them...and remain in direct contact...which even your most skilled salesman sometimes have issues with...

Just relax...take a deep breath...and be yourself. :)


Tobi 6 years ago

I've just started this sales job. Was pretty excited. Until just yesterday, problems kept appearing. And worst, next week, I have to make presentations to 9 major clients of my company. Am pretty nervous, as I was a technical person from IT field, now selling motors and parts to engineers in machinery field.

Am not sure how to make a good speech, or rather, presentation as I know not much of my products, which I have nothing to read and the catalog just gave me big headache as I cant understand it. When I approach my boss, she gave an annoyed look. lolz... What's worst, she added my pressure by saying, this very 1st presentation is the most crucial part to the business, as the clients might or not remember you, and it all depends on this very 1st presentation, and the impression you're gonna give them.

Am a friendly person, that is undeniable, but how can I have the extra point to make me stand out from the other sales person who are also my competitors? Hope you'd be able to help me.


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Debbie: It takes work to overcome shyness...and sometimes just the right set of circumstances to push you over the edge. :) What I would suggest for you is to write down your "spiel"...everything that you would like to say to a client face to face but perhaps stumble over when actually in the situation. Then, practice it...in front of the mirror, with your friends and family (try to use only people that you trust to give you honest but positive feedback). The more you say it, the more natural it will feel and the more confidence you'll have. Eventually, you'll know the material by heart and when a potential customer has a question, you'll find the answer right on the tip of your tongue. Good luck...I have faith in you!

Bronwyn: That's a tough one. Sometimes no matter how great a product is, if the person you are selling it to considers it a unaffordable luxury...you won't make the sale. If you can find a way to show them how the product will ultimately save them money or offer them a means to pay for it in an affordable way you have a chance. Perhaps, with the data you have collected from the sales calls you have been making, you should approach the company and they might be able to come up with a more affordable solution since they may be overpriced for the market they are aiming for. Don't let it frustrate you...just look at what you do have so far and then try to figure out how to use that in the best way possible. Good luck!


Bronwyn 6 years ago

Hi,

I started doing "telesales" for a wonderful computer software company about 3 months ago and the aim is to sell the software to municipalities right across South Africa and let me tell you this product is stunning. It helps the municipalities run their cemeteries more efficiently but because our municipalities are so poor most of them can afford to buy the programmes. I strongly believe in this product and I know it fairly well as I was a Data Capturer before starting on sales. BUT I JUST CANT GET ANYONE TO REQUEST A DEMONSTRATION OR A QUOTE FROM ME!! I'M BECOMING VERY FRUSTRATED WITH MYSELF WITH THE RESULT I'M BLOCKING ANYTHING POSITIVE FROM COMING MY WAY. PLEASE HELP!!


Debbie 6 years ago

Wow.. you are great at what you do! I wish I could learn and apply all of these hints to what I do! i just started working at a bank and It's all about selling accounts and loans! Even though I am a Teller -__-.. I am 19 Years old and I would like to start my career successful by impressing my manager.. (which is also not big of a help because she is constantly breathing down our backs to get clients!) How can I overcome my shyness to speak! I feel as if I can be A GREAT salesperson, If only my mouth would collaborate and speak.. :/


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Taz: Thank you! Good luck with your new job and impressing those managers!

Brett: LOL! It makes me smile every time a person tells me that I've made them laugh. Thank you.


Brett 6 years ago

Cracked me up with your line:

"Don't get me wrong, if the situation calls for it, I can be as feminine as any woman. But don't expect me to go the ruffles and lace route. You wouldn't put something pink and frilly on a the neighbor's pit bull."


Taz 6 years ago

I have just started a job trial selling kit homes and really want to impress my managers although i have very little experience in sales. I found your article very useful


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Dalia: I'm betting you are in management of some kind. :) I recognize the tactics since my sister uses them frequently. LOL! As for the constant petting and reassurance...I just keep remembering the story about the Emperor's new clothes and know that eventually somebody will laugh, point and probably take a future Walmart Shopper photo and put it up on the web...*cringe*

Pooja - You definitely don't need to be loud to be a good salesperson. In fact, quiet assurance goes a very long way. Good luck to you!

Kelsa - Thank you for the compliment! I wish you all the best in getting that new job!


Kelsa 6 years ago

Thanks so much for this great article! I have been in sales about a year, and am currently waiting to hear back about a job as a sales rep for a cell phone company. I don't consider myself a natural salesperson, or not your stereotypical salesperson anyway, and this article has given me some great insight!


pooja 6 years ago

nice article... i just got a job as a salesgirl in a perfume store.. im not a natural salesperson. i am finding it quite difficult bcoz i´m a li´l quiet and shy. so i have to work doubly hard. i dont have any other choice besides this in these recession times..

i hope i can implement some of what i read here, n try my best..


dalia 6 years ago

Its funny that you say you're not a natural salesperson because from the tactics you used and descripted deftly, you most certainly are! But give you poor sales girl a break, most women who stoll her store are probably not as self assured as you are and need constant petting and reassurance that they look good (even when they dont).


bc cris 6 years ago

Thank you so much, I consider myself amazing at customer service, BUT trying to sell (and my new job is commission based) has been kind of hard to adjust to. I will def. print this and post it on my desk. THanks once again!


Vanessa 6 years ago

Thanks so much on taking the time to write this article. I just started a sales job and I am not natural at. The more difficicult part for me is setting appoints to meet with potential customers, and I dont want to sound like im pitching something in-valuable to the customer. I truly believe this producted is needed, I'm just having difficulting portraying that... But thanks again for this article!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

Great Writing, I hope all those snotty nosed arrogant sales reps out there read this and learn from it.... Very good work, enjoyed the style and the content is great, businesses need more people like you to help them grow.


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Commission sales...I hate those two words put together. I do understand from a business owner's point of view how it makes sense. The more YOU sell, the more money he makes...but I still have a problem with stressing quantity over quality...especially if it means the difference between whether you eat or not. :)

Can you be both a quality and a quantity salesperson? I believe so...although for the majority of those that fall into this category it usually comes with experience. There are a few naturally born to this ability...but most of them become politicians.

I don't think people have changed so much that what was important yesterday is no longer relevant today. As I've mentioned before, spend some time understanding what drives YOU to make an important purchase...what are your considerations when making this purchase...and what would you have liked to have heard from the salesperson when buying it?

Another thing to examine is, because your livelihood depends upon making the sale, are you perhaps conveying this with your body language? If you are dwelling on how important this sale is to you...when you should be thinking about how important this purchase is to them (because trust me, that's how the shopper sees it) then it could be affecting the transaction.

Price is absolutely always a factor and sometimes it is at the expense of service, unfortunately. I'd love to hire a masseuse to come to my home every day and give me a proper rub down...but realistically I can't afford it. Having a salesperson try to convince me otherwise, since I know my financial position better than they do, would probably have me feeling a bit hostile. This is where that experience that I mentioned earlier comes in to play...knowing just how much you can push before you push too far.

Recently, I've made some absoutely major electronic purchases and the thing that clinched the sale, knowing that I was absolutely cringing at the price, but realizing I was getting a quality product....were these two points...

1) The salesperson had a handy comparison between what I wanted and other brands and knew why his product deserved to cost more. Things like a better warranty, greater customer satisfaction rating and the fact that in the long run the appliances that I wanted were more energy efficient. He did NOT apologize for the cost of his product...and kept an attitude that they were worth every penny.

2) Our salesperson was well versed on sales, discounts and financing. Simple sentences such as "You know...I believe this is going on sale next weekend. Let me check with the manager and see if I can give that to you now." made it feel as he was on MY side and not just trying to make a sale.

Good luck and thanks for leaving a comment!


sam 6 years ago

i have been a sales person in electrical for a few years now. i feel as though i might try to hard. i love to be able to sell, and always try to come across as friendly, and try not to sound condersending, or a smarty-pants.

My pay cheque relies on my job, so it can be stressful, but i am usually having fun. your article has made me see a bit clearer now, but i am still not the best at closing the sale, what do people want these days??? i feel its always about price and no longer about service and thats what makes it so hard at times.


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

You are welcome, Asad :)


Asad Aftab Iqbal 6 years ago

THANK YOU SPRYTE!

I needed this :)


Reah 6 years ago

WOW nice article! how i wish all salesperson are like this! most salespersons i have met are so self centered and think they know everything and also think they got the best product in the world!.....grr


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Wow Rachael...is that all you got from this entire piece?

While my writer's instinct begs me to enflame your natural hostility for the sake of my own amusement, I'm actually going to give you some good advice. Actually it's my mother's advice...

"I don't care what you do for a living...just be the best at it that you can be. If you are a garbage man...be the best...if you are a surgeon...be the best."

My experiences with saleswomen (especially in clothing stores) has always left me with a bad taste afterward. It seems at times that the only prerequisites for this position are that at some point the person dressed themselves and that they've read every issue of Cosmopolitan (taking the tests is optional).

Harsh? Yes. But true from my perspective. Perhaps you are different...which is why this comment offended you...but I somehow suspect not. Why? Your statement about considering whether or not this is the only job they could get.

Let's be constructive and point the hostility in the direction that you really feel it. Your job. From your statement I've gathered that you feel it's beneath you and while I'm flattered that you choose to consider selling stone the pinnacle of my career path, I can assure you that it was merely a stepping stone to other things. If it's your dream...chase it. But I don't think you said that to indicate a desire to sell natural stone...merely to point out how insanely jealous you are of anybody that actually loves what they do for a living (or did...in my case).

My advice to you is two-fold. If you can absolutely find no redeeming value in the work that you do then quit. You are not doing the business owner any favors by doing this job and you may in fact be hurting the business with your attitude. I don't buy into the whole "waaaah" it's the only thing I can do scenario. It's more likely the only thing you can do that meets your criteria of jobs you will and won't do.

If you wouldn't dream of quitting this job and actually think you can do it properly...or maybe even be the best you can be at it...then see my insult as a challenge. Don't be one of those vapid little department store dolls...it's your choice. Personally, I hope you succeed.


Rachael 6 years ago

some of your statements about sales people in department store are like dolls is so wrong.have you ever considered that is the only job that they can get and are just trying to get along in life.You are no better than the rest of the world just because you work in stone.


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Paul:

Thank you! I wish you all the best with your business. The fact that you have taken the time to read articles looking to improve your skills speaks volumes. Best of luck!


paul 6 years ago

Great stuff, I'm working in sales I make custom apparel at sporting events, I travel all over the states. Im not a natural salesman so some sales dont come to easy to me but putting some of your sales advice to notion. Should do me more than I seek.


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

You're welcome Rich :)


PaCult 6 years ago

This really is a good article, practically a magazine worthy/ creative writing essay

I'm starting a job at a shoestore and I was reading the same old bullet pointed things and so I appreciate it

thanks spryte

Rich


spryte profile image

spryte 6 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

docrehab: You are welcome! :)


docrehab profile image

docrehab 6 years ago from MIAMI, FL

Very informative. Thx a lot @spryte!


Jeidy 6 years ago

Monday October 26th I will be starting a Salesperson Job in one if not my favorite home decorating store I can't wait to start, I want to do my best and sale but with out being pushy or noxious all your comments are well received.

Thank you!


Leah 7 years ago

wow, that was helpful. i'm really not a natural salesperson. i'm one of those wallflower types and i just got a job selling cameras. im only 16 and i dont know if i come across as believable. but your article helped me gain some new tips. thanks!


dani 7 years ago

hello, i just start a job as a salesperson.Not in selling stone but rather in photography, where families come in take a picture and i'm supposed to get them to buy the picture in some fancy frame and try to get them to sign up for certain packages. i've never worked in sales, any advice?


john 7 years ago

Very well written hub .....

very much informative ......

Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.


stepheny profile image

stepheny 7 years ago from united kingdom

thats really informative. good


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Sara:

Ouch! I feel for you. Telemarketing has got to be the most thankless job in the world since I can't think of anyone off the top of my head that looks forward to receiving a call from one.

When I think of telemarketers, I think of human veal...stuck in a room with only a telephone and a list of numbers to call...trying to meet a certain quota of sales for their paycheck. It's all about quantity and not necessarily quality. And then you have only the phone to represent you...which makes anything a tough sell.

The questions you need to ask yourself are: 1. Do I believe in this product I am selling? 2. Would I buy it and why? 3. What would a telemarketer have to do/say to get me to listen to them?

Remember...you are only a voice to them, so it's important to project yourself through that. They cannot see your facial expression...but it's true that a smile can be heard in your voice. They cannot see your body language...but a customer can sense impatience in your voice.

Be honest...don't call and act like you are their best buddy from way back when.

Try to work on pronouncing last names correctly...and then have the sense of humor to make fun of yourself if you don't.

You still might not make a sale, but you'll be treated more often with respect and that will carry over into the next phone call. It's a hell of a lot better than being hung up on. :)

Good luck to you!


Sara 7 years ago

I really enjoyed reading this post I just started a job as a....well basically a telemarketer and I find it so hard to keep people on the line long enough to hear me out which is not so good for my boss I wish there was a way to at least get them through to someone else...anyway.

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