Stop, Drop and Listen
What makes a good salesperson? Are there best practices? Will there be a drop in sales jobs 10 years from now?
Was your first instinct to interject a laundry list of cookie-cutter responses before reading all of the questions? If so, your ambitions of becoming a sales rockstar will never come to fruition. Potential customers want listeners. Say too much or make one wrong move and you won't even get as far as a rejection. Instead, you'll be privy to the harmonious sound of a slamming telephone.
Seasoned sales professionals already know this, and the successful ones are masters at restraining the "Me, Me, Me" impulse. Nevertheless, they all got their start somewhere and generally are filled with interesting stories. So, listen up.
Linda Bishop began her sales career after leaving her job as an estimator. For 17 years, she sold printing for a company called IPD, which now is a part of the RR Donnelley organization. During her time there, Bishop's sales skyrocketed from $0 to more than $9 million annually. She wasn't born knowing how to cold call, but practiced until it became natural.
"Early on, I stumbled through a cold call with a prospect. She was the main buyer at a big bank. When I asked her if she ever heard of my company, she said, 'Yes. I heard you're expensive and slow.' I didn't have a clue how to reply to that, so I asked for a meeting, and was shocked when she said yes," Bishop recalled. "That moment taught me bad cold calls sometimes work out and bad cold calls are always better than no cold calls when it comes to getting appointments."
Approximately 10 years ago, Bishop took an early retirement to pursue writing and she eventually started Thought Transformation, a national sales and marketing consulting company. However, she couldn't stay out of the sales game for long after observing the business strategies of her client, Atlanta-based Standard Press.