So, you want to be like the robber barons of old? Hacking and slashing your way through business deals and marking your fiscal territory with reckless abandon? Easy there, Rockefeller! Doing business and making sales is dependent on remaining in good standing with your clients. If you're looking to get into the sales game, here's some food for thought.
Entering a profession for the right reasons is highly important. A sales representative's job can be pretty rewarding, as it rewards go-getters. However, at the end of the day, the social component is hard to deny. I was really attracted to the idea of working with different people on a regular basis, says Angela Fennelow, director of career sales force recruiting and selection for Sun Life Financial. You have to meet new people everyday in order to be successful.
It's an old chestnut, but believing in what you sell is an important part of selling a product. Of course, there's more to it than that. You have to be able to adapt, says Christina Vecchiato, a sales rep for Kate Walker & Co. In sales, you probably won't be selling the same thing for more than a year at a time. It's such a fast-paced job that if you don't adapt to your buyer's needs and wants, you'll get left behind, and there'll be someone else ready and willing to replace your product with theirs.
The sales process is simple in formula, but involved in practice. Building rapport and trust with your client is a key component to a successful business relationship, says Travis Smith, a sales representative for Xerox Canada. You can be selling the most efficient service or the most innovative product, but at the end of the day, it's people buying from people. Part of the equation is picking up on a client's needs, even when they're not sure what those needs might be. I think when you're building a relationship with a client, you need to build rapport quickly, says Fennelow. You need to ask them the right questions and listen to their answers to build that trust, and make sure you have their best interests in mind at all times.
In any relationship there's give and take. The most important thing I've learned in sales is [the importance] of treating people the way you'd like to be treated, says Vecchiato. You might think ÔÇÿhow original,' but it's true: if you want people to be honest with you, you've got to show that you're being honest with them.
To say that sales is all in the mind might be an oversimplification, but there's something in that as well. I always thought very positively and believed in the product I was selling, says Fennelow. I went into each appointment with an open mind, but I also had an outline of a process to follow. Each client is unique, but having a process really helps you work through and ask the right questions.
Perhaps most importantly of all, customer satisfaction is the be-all end-all of sales. Successful salespeople build honest relationships with their clients, says Vecchiato. I'm not out there to sell stuff that people aren't going to buy. I want my clients to be successful, so why would I sell them a product that they're just going to return anyway?