Sales, Line 1…

By Ed Gorman

When a prospect calls to inquire about your service, the sales person simply quotes rates and hopes that you are the lowest in town. Sales is easy. Anyone can do it. Pretending to be a sales person is an easy job. And it costs your company a lot of money. Not only in lost sales, but also in the cost of providing service at an unprofitable rate.

What traits does it take to be an outstanding sales person?

Goal Oriented: An outstanding sales person must have a goal, backed by an action plan. They know how many calls, contacts, presentations and sales they must make every day to be successful

Self-Motivated: An outstanding sales person does not rely on others to get the job done. They control their own destiny and have the satisfaction of knowing they have set goals and achieved them.

Persistence: Above all else, persistence is the key to a successful sales career. Over 80% of all sales are made after the fifth sales contact. The willingness to make one more phone call separates the winners from the also-rans.

Good Organizational Skills: An outstanding sales person has a system to manage his time and paperwork. Organized sales persons are prepared and waste little time. Their responses to customers are prompt, accurate and knowledgeable.

Effective Listening Skills: There is a significant difference between listening to the words and hearing the message. Active listening – “hearing the message” – allows sales persons to provide insightful solutions to their prospects needs.

Enthusiasm: An outstanding sales person loves their job, their product, and their company. They have a positive attitude and radiate energy and excitement no matter what the challenges and obstacles.

Now that you know the type of person you need to handle your sales calls, what next?

Organize your sales department: Do you have someone on your staff now who meets the qualifications of an outstanding salesperson or do you have to go outside your organization to find the right person? How will you get the incoming sales calls to the sales person? How will you compensate the salesperson? You must organize your sales program before you hire a salesperson.

Provide training: What are the features and benefits of the different product lines you sell? What are your company’s unique advantages? Who are your customers? How does the call handling system work? The same amount of time and energy you devote to training a new TSR must also be invested in a new sales person.

Provide the necessary resources: The minimum resources a sales person requires are a desk, a telephone and a quiet space. In addition, do you have marketing support literature or will they need to create their own? Will they have access to a computer and printer to develop letters and proposals? Will you generate leads for them to follow-up? You must be prepared to invest time and money in their success.

An outstanding sales person will do more than simply make sales. Outstanding sales people create a positive, high energy environment. They will make you and your company better as a result and are worth every investment you make in them.

Ed Gorman is Director of Marketing for ProCommunications, Inc. which provides telephone answering service, voice mail, inbound telemarketing and paging services through a nationwide network of telemessaging companies. Mr. Gorman can be reached at 410-631-1655.

[From Connection Magazine, March 1996]

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