Sales can be a tough profession, full of pressures from management seeking to drive revenue, difficult customers, and income woes if there are insufficient closings in any given month. It is no wonder a 2011 Harvard University study reports that roughly 30% of the nation’s sales force quits every year. Despite these challenges, salespeople employing a consultative selling process must maintain a positive attitude or risk alienating a prospect or losing their business.
Here are some pointers on maintaining a good outlook as a salesperson.
Force yourself to think positively
A salesperson basically controls her own feelings and decides how she will respond to various conditions. When a big sale falls through, it is up to her whether she chooses to stew in negative emotions all day or to just chalk things up to experience and continue to move forward. The trick is to act excited and upbeat, and soon the salesperson will feel this way if kept up long enough. Other things you can do to improve your attitude during consultative selling:
• Force yourself to smile. You will find yourself finding things to smile about.
• Stand up when making sales calls — this increases your energy and is picked up on by the person on the other end of the line. A good attitude is contagious!
• Have positive answers to common questions, such as “Unbelievable!” when someone asks how business is going. This answer prevents lying, as it can be truthful whether sales are up or down.
• When mentally exhausted or discouraged, take a walk around the block and notice things in the environment and people walking by. After you feel a bit “brighter,” get back to your desk and immediately make your next sales call.
Take responsibility for your own success or failure
It is quite easy for a salesperson to blame external factors for her own lack of production and income. Common complaints include a poor economy, high product prices, terrible customers, mean bosses, and just plain bad luck. The salesperson that complains constantly about how bad it all is should remember that many salespeople people have gotten rich under all of those same conditions, or worse, so these external factors logically cannot be the cause of success or failure. It’s the actions each individual chooses to take.
Did you really do all the prospecting you could have this week? Did you procrastinate until 11 a.m. today? Are you spending more time socializing with fellow salespeople than meeting potential customers? Then there is no wonder your numbers are lacking. Take full responsibility and increase discipline to improve your own behavior.
Remember: if you “own” your losses and faults 100% by blaming no one else but yourself, that means you get to own your victories completely by taking all the credit also.
Most salespeople give up after three contacts with a prospect, not realizing that it takes an average of 12 contacts to make a sale using a consultative selling process. Dogged persistence, that elusive “stick to it” characteristic that keeps a person going with a good attitude despite rejections and long odds, is probably the greatest determining factor as to whether one experiences success or failure in sales. It trumps intelligence, although if a salesperson is smart and persistence, they will be that much more successful.
To summarize, consultative selling is a relationship-based endeavor, so maintaining a positive energy and attitude will attract people to you. People buy from those they like and trust, so use these tips to not only improve your relationships with prospects, but improve your closing ratio as well.