Since I started this weekly sales blog, I’ve received a lot of emails and questions about sales and I want to give you some of my responses (based on over 20 years of sales and sales management experience). Today we’ll focus on things that you can control because I think these are the most important questions any salesperson, or sales manager, can ask because you can directly impact the results. It’s your responsibility to get those results and run your list of business in an effective way.
- “How do I keep being motivated?”
You’ve got to have a positive attitude. I know how tough it is when it feels like you’re being ‘beaten up’ from both your clients and from the pressures within your own organization. Here are a few things that help me:
Reading motivating books and/or articles
There are a lot of great books to help ‘reboot’ yourself and keep motivated…authors like Patrick Lencioni, for example, have a number of books written to help stay motivated. Right now, I’m reading a few books on Stoic philosophy, which basically ‘sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be, how brief our moment of life is, and how to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself’. I think this Stoic philosophy really applies to sales and here are some titles: “How to Be a Stoic” by Massimo Pigliucci, “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday, and “Ego is the Enemy”, also by Ryan Holiday. I’d also recommend “The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments” which is a collection of columns from the New York Times. The point of a lot of these books is to make you think outside of your current box. If you need some motivation, you need to rethink and reimagine what and how you are conducting yourself and your business.
Exercise and healthy lifestyle
It is really easy to overdo the dining and drinking when you’re in sales. You’re out entertaining clients and at conferences with other salespeople and there are always dinners and parties. I get it because I’ve done it myself. And, when you’re not doing well with work, it’s easy to party too much. But, when business is tough, that is exactly the time you want to tone down the late nights and get enough sleep so you’re on top of your game the next day. I really recommend plenty of exercise, too. When you’re travelling on the road it is a challenge but try to work out at the hotel gym as much as you can.
- “How can I be a better Negotiator?”
I believe that the secret to successful negotiations is to have both sides at least partially satisfied with the results. People make the mistake of thinking negotiations are a ‘zero-sum game’… or as Webster’s says, “a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing another person or group to lose it.” The whole point of any negotiation is to compromise and find a solution that both parties can live with.
In order to successfully negotiate, though, you have to have a good understanding of what the other person’s needs are and what is the absolute minimum they need from the negotiation. This requires that you do your homework to understand the other person’s business goals and strategies. On your part, think about your “must-haves” as compared with your “nice-to-haves” when you are beginning the negotiation process. Understand that the other person needs to have some ‘wins’ during the negotiation so don’t grinding on every point. Let them know that you understand their situation and are committed to finding a reasonable and fair result.
- “What are some hints for Networking?”
I think that networking is a key part of being in sales. The vast majority of successful salespeople that I know are very good at networking…and a few are absolute masters at it. Think about your sales friends who walk into a party or networking event and end up knowing more than half the room by the end of the event. These superstars know that they are not only building their network but also building their own personal brand.
Here are three ideas for successful networking:
- Go to as many appropriate networking events as you can
- Make it your goal to have a minimum of 10 new contacts at each event and have brief but quality conversations with those new contacts
- Within 24 hours, send a follow-up email saying it was great to meet them and mention, in the email, something that you had discussed…this lets them know you were listening to them.
By using this approach, you have amassed over 100 new quality contacts in a year if you only attend 10 networking events. Think about how many introductions to others that you’ll receive from these new contacts…which could result in new business or even a new job.
It’s great to hear from readers and I look forward to receiving more emails with more questions.