Even highly experienced and successful salespeople can have a blind spot. They can be so intent on what they want to accomplish that they ignore how others view them. And it isn’t always complimentary. “Oh, don’t take Sally seriously. Just remember that she’s in sales.” This is one reason why salespeople find themselves on the bottom rung of the public’s trust ladder, year after year.
Going into sales can be like having three strikes hanging over your head everyday: instant distrust, not being taken seriously, and getting more rejections than you deserve. What’s amazing is that so many stay in the field even when few gain significant success.
To cope with these negatives, salespeople have another job, and that’s marketing themselves more effectively. Here’s how to go about it:
1. Define yourself. Cultivating how others perceive them should be the No. 1 priority for sales professionals. With everything instantaneous, there are no second chances. No one has time to make an effort to get an accurate picture of what they’re all about.
The salesperson’s “other job” starts with identifying those characteristics customers value and respond to positively, as well as those that bother them and cause them to take their business elsewhere.
When salespeople don’t define themselves, others will do it for them — and chances are the results will not be what they want.
2. Share what you know. Having the right selling skills is basic, but salespeople often ignore the critical role knowledge plays in attracting customers and closing sales. Today’s customers look for evidence that a salesperson possesses the level of expertise they expect from those they work with.
One of the most effective ways to demonstrate competence in a digital world is blogging. Whether it’s making your ideas, experience and knowledge available by email, on your website, in industry publications or posting on LinkedIn, sharing what you know is an excellent way to connect with prospects and to let customers know why it’s in their best interest to work with you.
3. Be on time. It may seem like a minor, relatively unimportant, or overly compulsive issue, but being on time is a performance benchmark. Having a reputation for being late sticks; it doesn’t go away. “Don’t give that assignment to him,” the manager said. “He never meets deadlines.”
For anyone in sales who wants to show customers that they are dependable, reliable, and can be counted on, being on time sends the message. It is a characteristic that has immense value in business.
4. Don’t talk about yourself. Some salespeople just can’t resist trying to impress prospects and customers by interjecting themselves (and often their customers) into the conversation. It’s easy to forget that those we speak with are interested in overcoming their problems, having their needs met, and pursuing their opportunities, not listening to a salesperson “stories.”