Several years ago, when I began my sales training and coaching career, I put myself through critical self-evaluation to determine what experience and insight I could offer salespeople.
I was very aware of the saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” I was confident I was one of those who “can” do the job, but had never really thought much about the things I had done that accounted for my sales success. For several months I rummaged around in the depths of my memory rediscovering specific sales successes and identifying those principles and skills responsible for the success.
I was absolutely amazed by all the successful things I had done in my sales career and the principles and skills I had applied to create those successes. The one thing that was most revealing was the fact that many of those activities which had proven to be the most successful had not been applied for some time. In fact, many of those skills I remembered as being the cause of my success had, for many years, fallen into the pit of complacency. I was now feeling somewhat embarrassed I had discovered and applied so many successful skills, only to have discontinued using them. In my quest for continual improvement, I had neglected to consistently apply the very principles that had contributed to my success. Admittedly, success had gone to my head and I became lazy, believing I could short cut the pathway to success.
During this period of rediscovering the principles and skills behind my sales success, I wished on many occasions I had kept a written record of them. It would have been very convenient to go to my own personal sales bible to find the solution to a particularly challenging sales situation. Had I written them down, I am convinced I would not have forgotten or become complacent with those success producing principles and skills.
As part of my sales training and coaching program, I encourage each salesperson to write a success story each month. This success story details a particular principle or skill they have applied which has contributed to closing a sale or completing a successful selling month. The act of writing down the details of the success secures it in their mind, allowing them to have a better understanding of the reason they were successful and reminds them to apply those skills in future sales opportunities. Success breeds success, but only if you are aware of what caused the success. Salespeople don’t need to keep reinventing the wheel of success; they just need to continually do those things that create success. There are always new things to learn, but not at the expense of those things that have already proven to be successful. The following excerpts from a few of my client’s success stories should provide a good example of the value of writing your own stories of success.
I followed up with my customer and asked some questions about his experience with our product and how it worked compared to our competitors. He spent the next 5 minutes telling me how much he loved it and how well it worked. Then I asked him if he would be willing to answer some of my questions and let me type up a letter of recommendation according to how he answered my questions. I told him I would e-mail a copy of the letter to him and then he could edit anything he needed to and send it to me signed on his letterhead. He said that he would love to do that.
Now I have a signed letter from a happy satisfied customer to use so that he can help me make my next sale.
I am convinced that the willingness to offer a personal interest in the customer's needs, along with a meaningful solution to a complex problem is what won the business for me. Thanks, Tim Huffaker, and BPG for training me on how to win business on something other than price.
I have noticed my sales have increased overall due to the fact that I am building personal relationships with my customers that allow me to gain their trust. When I go to visit them, they are more willing now to tell me what they like and don’t like about their processes and what they think would make them better. I am able to help out by giving them suggestions for equipment that I can provide for them to “ease their pain”.