Tim Huffaker 2017

I have identified more than 120 principles and skills used by professional salespeople to work at their highest level of performance. 

Just like any other profession, there are necessary skills and knowledge that allow you to perform at the highest level of expertise. Many sales managers, as well as salespeople, believe these sales skills are natural and the best salespeople are born with the ability to sell.  How many of you would believe that same argument relating to doctors, engineers, attorneys, accountants or professor. Would you trust any person working in those professional fields who didn’t have the education and training necessary to perform their duties with precision and accuracy? 

Many years ago when I was living in Taiwan, I met a young man who was practicing dentistry in a very small town.  His tools were somewhat antiquated as the drill-motion was generated by pumping a treadle peddle with his foot. I found it somewhat fascinating and asked him how he became interested in dentistry.  He told me his father was a dentist and when he past away, he inherited both the equipment and the dental practice. I continued with my questioning and asked where he had studied dentistry to receive his degree.  The response was somewhat chilling. There was no study and no degree other than watching his father and shadowing his example. How many of you would use a doctor, engineer, attorney, accountant or professor who had no education, internship and degree to qualify and certify his/her skills and expertise?  And yet, most salespeople practice their profession with the same degree of expertise and preparation as the dentist I happened upon in Taiwan nearly a half century ago.

I spent an evening with a group of professional salespeople and their spouses on the cruise ship, Sapphire Princess, in the coastal waters of Alaska. These men and women were honored for their excellent performance as salespeople.  They are at the top of their field, having studied, practiced and perfected their selling skills. The occasion was an awards presentation where these top salespeople were honored for their outstanding performance. They were recognized as the best in their field because of their dedication to study and application of the principles of selling.  These people are living proof that professional salespeople are not born, but rather educated and trained to be the best. They weren’t just born with the “gift of gab”, qualifying them to be salespeople. They have taken their career seriously and prepared themselves to be the best. Success in any field of endeavor happens when hard work, study and preparation meet opportunity.

Here are five ideas you can apply to help you become a true sales professional:

  1. Take every opportunity to study and learn your profession.  Sales training is a seven billion dollar a year industry. Engage yourself in daily learning, daily application and daily achievement.

  2. Establish challenging and meaningful goals for accomplishment in selling, as well as every other aspect of your life.  Goals are the tools of achievement. All success is the result of deliberate planning and execution of specific goal focused activity.

  3. Create a positive attitude concerning your goals and dreams.  You will never know what you are capable of achieving in your life until you discover the power within your soul.  People achieve great things when they reach beyond their normal experiences and effort.

  4. Believe in yourself.  Don’t look to others for those things you can do for yourself.  Try, try and try again. Remember, success is not found in never falling, but rather, in rising every time you fall.  You would be amazed at the number of failures successful people have experienced on the path to success. The difference between successful people and failures is found in always rising and never giving up.

  5. Learn to love people and always look for ways to help them.  Selling is not about persuading people to buy your products. Selling is all about discovering needs and then providing the correct solution to those needs.  When people know you care about them and solving their unique problems, they will listen to your solutions and be more willing, through trust, to buy your products to solve their problems.