Yes, it is difficult to believe everyone is in sales. Firstly, because it is not always deemed a profession and secondly, because no one wants to directly associate themselves with all the negative connotations around sales. Sales is, in fact, the oldest profession in the world. Don’t allow your mind to drift off – the art and science of sales dates back to Biblical times when the cunning and persuasive serpent sold the forbidden fruit to Adam’s lover, Eve.
In my own interpretation of the business term, sales is defined as the exchange of goods or services in a given time period for an agreed upon value. Below we will explore 6 key takeaways from the Sales Summit held in Cape Town, South Africa, for success in sales that really resonated with me as a modern-day salesman.
Neale Roberts, a business coach and founding member of Mentors, took to the stage first. His presentation was titled “5 Strategies to your Best Sales Year Ever.” At first, the title sounds quite cliché, which Neal did agree too. However, every year for a salesperson should, in fact, be the best year ever. Neal walked us through how you can achieve this by starting with you the salesperson.
He asked us, “do you monitor the way you talk to yourself? “What are your beliefs about yourself?”
These are simple questions but admittedly, hard to answer openly.
The conversation developed smoothly because Neal had a very composed, counsellor-like attitude. He explored personal areas of development which tend to be overlooked and sometimes the very zones hindering salespersons from progress.
His advice to conquer your best year ever, coupled with several other solutions came down the acronym BEAKS: Behavior, Experience, Aptitude, Knowledge, and Skill.
If you keep a healthy revolving wheel of development and attention on these aspects, the ability to “Turn Up” becomes a lot easier and enjoyable.
“Know how to recalibrate,” said Neal.
KAIZEN (Japanese origin) is a business philosophy or system that is based on making positive, incremental changes on a regular basis, as to improve productivity.
Acclaimed Sales Training Specialist and Sales Coach, Mark Berger, CEO of Mark Berger Training, lit up the room with his Street Smart Sales System presentation. Mark agreed that the person needs to have the right mindset in order to make business happen in this high-paced and rapidly changing world. However, to seize unique opportunities, Mark explored 5 key components of selling which guarantee sustainable sales success.
Mark opened with an impact statement that got me thinking; “sales is an art and science.”
The words used, body language transmitted, and smart attire worn can compare to the colours, canvas and paint brushes. The prospecting, qualifying, engaging, interviewing and closing can be translated from the careful research, analysis, hypothesis and conclusion. I hope you get where I am going with this?
Mark is an awesome speaker and he helped us to understand that if as a salesperson we do not take our profession as seriously as a Doctor or an Engineer, we then have very little chance of achieving top sales success. His 5 key components to sustainable sales success are: sales attitude, sales strategy, sales skills, sales process, and sales teamwork. When KAIZEN is applied to all these five components then like Mark says, “You have a solid, consistent, winning sustainable formula to always be better than your competitor”
What KAIZEN means to me is continuous improvement.
It is true the saying that one cannot buy experience. Ed Hatton and his more than 25 years of business experience can stand reference to this statement. Ed, a mentor and coach, posed a very real question to us:
“How do sales reps circumvent the chances of becoming an order clerk?”
With the current era of rapid knowledge exchange and the free flow of information, between 60% and 100% of the sales cycle is done by the buyer. Ed explained that there is a battle to align the salesperson’s control of the process with the buyer’s knowledge. From experience in the industry and his love for knowledge, Ed answered his own question. He said to circumvent the chances of becoming an order clerk, you need become a modern-day salesperson. You need to a be a bridge, an assistant to your buyer by acknowledging their abundant insights on the product or service. Make them the hero.
Don’t fight it!
I enjoyed how Ed helped us appreciate that with the patience to do research and gather the correct information on your market, you are building a powerful competitive edge.
As the saying goes, knowledge is power.
Justin Cohen and Simon Ekin, two very inspirational businessmen in their own right, shocked the group with their raw and energetic keynote presentations. Justin, a pitching specialist, allowed us to understand that the best pitch can win over the best product or service. Pitching is educating your community about your story and how you can add value by satisfying their needs.
According to Justin the old idea that all we need to do is ‘Build it and they will come,’ is a lie. Instead, Justin says, “Build it and pitch it better than anyone else and then, and only then, maybe they will come!”
Justin presented 6 surprisingly doable tips when doing a pitch to win.
Simon, on the other hand, is a bold man that provides a training platform for others to become courageous. He enlightened us by sharing his story through a world-class pitch on how he overcame fear and through the experience was presented the opportunity to add value to other people’s lives – shaping a new future for them.
Both these men shared two golden nuggets for sales success:
If you are that one guy or girl in the room who believes that things are bigger, faster or stronger – you are bound for success.
If you are courageous enough to tell a story and build social proof – you have the chance of conquering your goals.
With a carefully structured pitch and the courage to “speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart,” business can happen.
Trudi du Toit is a firm, successful businesswoman and founding member of the Professional speaker’s association. She confirmed that negotiation can and should be mastered if you want to be a top salesperson, and left us with 10 Top Negotiation Tips:
Trudi expanded on her presentation by simplifying the activity of sales as problem-solving, making us aware of the fact that there is no one solution fits all.
The skill of negotiation assists salespersons by weighing the risks and benefits to conclude a feasible outcome. You would agree this is a curial skill needed, right?
If you can’t believe you are in sales by now, please do then trust me on this statement. We are living in a concrete jungle!
Lorne Sulcas is an international speaker who has appeared on CNN numerous times. He cleverly uses storytelling to transition through the realities of thriving in the wild as a big cat and succeeding in today’s business world as a salesperson.
His authentic experiences of being a game ranger and following the survival habits of Africa’s three big cats, the Cheetah, Leopard and Lion, gave us tangible takeaways when wanting to make business happen. He explained how each cat possesses unique strengths and uses them to their advantage. Whether it be speed and agility, strength and focus or persistence, these beasts are fined tuned to hit their target. It could also be a fact that in the wild, you either eat or get eaten, just saying.
His correlation in today’s competitive business world is; as a salesperson, if you know your style, harness it and improve constantly with an uncommon zest, and try to know your market, the likelihood of you getting gobbled up is a lot less.
Thaamir Moerat, a rock-star sales leader who built his career from humble beginnings, held the sale summit together by being the MC. He concluded the summit with interesting lessons from Hollywood blockbusters.
Thamir’s love for a good sales movie was easily identified in the way he managed to capture true sales craftsmanship in several movies like Will Smith’s ‘Hitch’ and ‘The Pursuit of Happiness,’ or ‘Two for The Money’ as well as the famous ‘Boiler Room’ one & two.
At first thought, I questioned what sales lessons can be learnt from these movies. Yet, when carefully analyzed with an open view, the art and science of sales are definitely portrayed in many scenes.
Go ahead and watch a few of the above-mentioned movies, it’s a bonus ticket to learn how to master sales while having your legs ups and enjoying an entertaining film.
Each takeaway above is vitally important and requires you to invest time and sometimes money. It is smart to work on yourself first, then to become a master of the different skills, processes, procedures, strategies and tools. This is a cornerstone commit to your sales success.
Nevertheless, if you are not ready to pledge your time or money, then sadly the business of sales is not for you. “The challenge is simple; you have to give before you get…”
Author: Jason Luboyera
Twitter @JJ Luboyera