I just attended the National Speakers Association industry conference. Like our clients, we enjoy learning and exploring new ways to improve and add value. Some of the sharpest people in the industry, experts on topics from innovation to customer service to leadership, attend this conference. It’s always amazing to me how much I learn about sales—from people that don’t specialize in it! Here are a few lessons I’d like to share with you from the event.
Lesson #1: Reputation or revenue?
Rory Vaden, best-selling author of “Take The Stairs,” works with companies on building their brand. During his breakout session he asked, “Do you have a revenue problem or a reputation problem?” It’s a great question with a pretty clear answer. A bad reputation is going to affect revenue.
Now, you might be thinking, “Well, I am not in charge of my company’s brand or reputation. I’m in sales.” I disagree. How each salesperson runs their business and territory affects the brand and company reputation. Think about franchise restaurants. Have you ever stopped eating at a popular national franchise because of a bad experience at just one of its stores? (I’ve been on a week-long road trip…two have now been eliminated….)
If asked, what would clients say about your sales reputation?
- Consistency. How well would your clients say you follow up? Or do you manage your territory by chasing shiny objects? Maybe you’re a “won-and-done salesperson,” meaning after you’ve won the business, you’re done communicating with the customer.
- Value. Would your clients say you add value to every interaction with them, where they leave the conversation smarter about something that will help their business thrive? Or are you guilty of the old just checking in sales approach?
- Gratitude. Do your clients feel like they are your first sale, your first client? Or are you falling into the trap of taking great clients for granted?
Lesson #2: “You can’t get worse working on your craft.”
I laughed out loud when I heard this quote from Michael Port. He and his wife, Amy, run a successful business, Heroic Public Speaking, which helps people from all walks of life improve their speaking skills. During his breakout, Michael emphasized the importance of rehearsal, deep rehearsal, in order to be present and conversational on stage.
Great advice for all of us in sales. How many of us really invest enough time in practicing the emotional intelligence skills and consultative selling skills needed to be successful in business? Skills such as:
- Emotion management. Are you engaging in more difficult role plays that test your ability to ability to control emotions and responses during crucial sales conversations? Do you set aside time for reflection and introspection to identify situations where you got derailed during a sales conversation? One example: Prospects pushing back on the investment and costing you your train of thought.
- Do you have well-crafted value propositions memorized so you sound conversational in opening up meaningful sales conversations? Or are you stumbling and bumbling in delivering your 30 minute, versus 30-second, elevator pitch?
You can learn how to improve your selling skills from a variety of teachers. Pay attention to your reputation. Invest in practice to become masterful. The result is sustainable and enjoyable revenues.