Success in any line of human activity is not readymade; it does not fall from the open sky. Good deal of input is essential to have the output of higher degree of success. Very often a question is asked as to what does it take for success in selling ? The secrets of successful selling can be outlined in terms of the varied and long-standing experience of successful salesmen all over the world.
The basic requirements for glittering success can be as many as solid points. These can be called as the inputs for greater degree of success. These are :
Secrets of a Successful Salesman
1. Love for Selling:
Selling is not an easy profession. It is really very demanding profession; Much against the popular opinions, every one not fit and fine for or cut and carved for selling. Selling is certainly is not meant for those who ambles into it, thinking that it is an easy way to make fast hot money or take pleasure trips around the country, or make a circle of acquaintances or have an opportunity to demonstrate showmanship. A successful salesman is one who loves selling, finds his line exciting, thrilling and challenging. He is strongly convinced that the product or service being sold offers something great value to the community. A true salesman has a commitment to his product or service, has a stability of mind and strong trust and a source of self-confidence of success. It is the encouraging enthusiasm for selling work that paves the way to reach new height of performance.
2. Inspiring Hard work:
Love for a job is one thing that speaks of its interest in the job. Mere interest in a given line will not take a sales person to dizzy heights Selling requires long hours of hard work — day in and day out and round the year to reach their individual goals. Sales do not just happen. They are to be made to happen. It is found that 80 percent of all sales are made after fifth call; 48 percent of all sales persons call once, and quit; 25 percent call twice and quit; 10 percent keep on calling and these 10 percent make 80 percent of sales. Each night he goes to bed, has to think and plan for the next day's work. It entails working on Saturdays and Sundays unlike others who are enjoying a week end.
The findings of working patterns show that a salesman on an average works 46.5 hours a week. Many work through lunch 31 percent (14.30 hours) of his time is spent in face to face contact with the existing customers; 25 percent (11.60 hours) goes to prospecting for new customers and working with existing customers by phone : 18.5 percent (8.50 hours) goes in waiting and travel; 15 percent (7.20 hours) is spent on administrative tasks- meetings, and paper work; 11.0 percent (5.30 hours) is spent on service calls. In other words, out of twenty four hours of the day, he works for 14 to 16 hours. This is not simply spending the time but investment, devotion and commitment. It is the tolerance, struggling to work-which is called hard work which has no perfect substitute which gives green signal for greater degree of success.
3. High Level of Optimism:
Successful sales people generally have a high level of optimism. Optimism is the tendency to look at things from a positive perspective. Optimism stands for-the way we think, especially about health, changes in our health, optimises catch fewer infectious diseases than pessimists; our immune system works better when we are optimistic; optimists tend to live longer than pessimists. Being optimistic makes sense not only for sales success, but for success at life in general. Optimists believe that good fortune is global pervasive-not a temporary, chance occurrence that only happens to them. In fact, optimists believe that good fortune in shared by every one. Similarly, an optimist views misfortune, or bad events, as temporary and localised. It is possible to nurture optimism by managing one's self talk.
An optimist is more likely to perceive bad things as being localized, short-term dilemmas to which a solution can be found. Eliminating negative self-talk and ensuring the use of positive self talk phrases will result in increased optimism. That is, no other career needs more positive attitude or optimism than sales. Successful salesman are enthusiastic and confident and constantly think of themselves as successful and always have a positive attitude towards their company, products, consumers, themselves and life. There are good many occasions that things do not go as they wish; yet it is their positive mental attitude that helps them to overcome periodic stamps.
4. Sharp knowledgeability:
Knowledge is the fluid mix of experience, values, external information and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluation and incorporating new experiences and information. Knowledge originates and resides in people's mind and is applied in the minds of knower. Knowledge is information in action through people is an organisation known about their customers, products, mistakes and successes.
That is why Mr. J.M. Clark says "Knowledge is the only power that is not subjected to law of diminishing returns." The given knowledge can be both 'tacit' and "explicit." Tacit knowledge is highly visible in and confined in the mind of a person. It is hard to formalise and, therefore, difficult to communicate others. On the other hand,. "Explicit Knowledge" is the visible information available in the form of letters, reports, memos, literature and so on. It can be embedded in objects, rules, systems and the like. Conversion of knowledge from 'tacit' and 'explicit' form increases its visibility and viability.
One of the area of self management involves guaranteeing that one has up to date and extension knowledge about the products one sells and the environment and the market in which one operates. As a sales professional, customers expect sales people to be knowledgeable about what they sell. Through this knowledge, one is able to establish faith in others products and trust others as sales persons. Product knowledge is critical to many aspects of sales job. Sales person's interactions with customers-that is where sales persons employ tactical selling skills-are affected by sales-persons product knowledge, as is in case of sales planning. Equally important is the knowledge of competitors. He is to have administrative, regulatory and legal knowledge. The factors that affect personal selling are:
i. Buyers are more expert and demanding.
ii. Customer expectations are rising.
iii. Revolutionary advances in telecommunication and computer technology are happening all the time.
iv. Sales-force for consumer products are sinking.
v. Women and minorities are flooding the sales profession.
vi. Domestic markets are undergoing micro-segmentation.
vii. Foreign competition is intensifying.
viii. Markets are being globalised. These factors make him to be a keen and constant observer and keen learner.
5. Best Management of Time:
One of the biggest challenges facing sales-people today is the management of many responsibilities in a trusted amount of time. Each time makes a choice about what to do at work, every one is making time-management decision-making of such decision depends on whether one manages the time or time managers one. The comparison of 'good' and bad' time managers is clear from the following words
Time management skills are directly linked to personal self talk. That is no one is born a poor time manager; rather, it is a matter of personal habits. For instance, a sales person who is not productive in the morning may not be getting enough sleep; or he may also have developed a cluster of negative self talk that interferes with morning productivity. Similarly, if you are not productive is the afternoon, the reason could be a poor diet or a cluster of negative self-talk that kicks in after lunch. There are time management obstacles-inspite of being quite a aged time manager. These obstacles are-personal interruptions, telephone interruptions, meetings, desk organisation and procrastination-a temptation to put off the things. However, one should plan for success in time management. To time management techniques for sales persons are that one should have personal check as to:
i. Plan your travel routes for efficiency and effectiveness
ii. Use your waiting time effectively-read, answer mail, write memos, plan your next day or week.
iii. Take advantage of technology- voice-mail, fax, contact MIS 4. Delegate wherever possible. Make use of support people, colleagues, customers supervisors and the like 5. Assess all your resources-people, technology, support systems 6. Be open to change and constantly look for ways to improve effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. 7. Assess the ways on which you spend your time. Establish your personal best practices. In a nutshell, a good salesman gets best of every minute at his disposal.
6. He is a Good Listener:
Good many salesman think that the salesman's job is to talk, talk and talk-and the customer is to listen, listen and listen all the time like a lecturer and his students. The present environment warranty that he has to listen before selling. He is to be good listener. If he masters the art of asking questions and then listening as a normal routine, in fact, he can gather more information that can be used to sell more effectively the rushing into an interview like a bull in China shop.
One estimate clearly demonstrates that 70 percent of our waking moments in are spent on communicating. Out of this 9 percent spent on writing, 16 percent on reading, 30 percent in talking and 45 per unit in listening. This clarifies that listening is most important part of communication process. That is why, there is truth in saying "God gave mortals two ears and only one tongue". It is unfortunate that majority of salesmen are not trained to listen. Good listening helps clients to feel good and comfortable. It is because only after this stage they do open up and give rent to their 'inner objections' or 'inner-feelings'. That is why, the good salesman is trained to listen with empathy, not with sympathy.This is the "age of selling by talking" changed into "age of selling by listening". Experts are of the opinion that a good salesman talks 40 percent of his time and 60 percent listens. Some go to the extent of curtailing talking to 30 percent and extending listening to 70 percent for better results.
7. Service above All:
Good salesmen are service oriented and not reward oriented. It does not mean that they are paid lovely. A good salesman serves the legitimate interests of customers, dealers, manufacturers and producers. He serves customers in that he acts as the buying agent of the customers. He serves dealers both wholesalers and retailers as the important links in the chain of distribution. He is remembered for his creative work of demand creation, extension and maintenance. He is the connecting thread of the entire network of production and distribution. The whole exercise is hinged on his creation of satisfied customer.
8. A Strong desire to Achieve:
There is no person who does not want to be successful in life or his line. However, some persons have much higher and stronger desire for success. They are called as "high performers". Such persons have a very strong work ethnic and high need for striving hard for success by their very personality. One need not come to the conclusion that a person loves his work, willing to be industrious and has a very strong desire to achieve and, hence he is going to be successful. It is because, the need to achieve involves persistence. Nothing in this world takes the place of persistence not even a talent nor education. Persistence and determination alone are all the powerful.
In a nutshell, a person can be successful salesman through a company and personnel training and by the proper application of his knowledge in the developing and by the use of his knowledge in the development of skills and abilities for benefitting the customers in particular and others in general. He believes in himself, his products and hard-work; he wants to succeed and maintain a positive attitude towards him-self and his work, he is knowledgeable, capable of planning and using his time wisely, a good listener and one who provides services to his customers readily and willingly, because he has a big stake in customers and their loyalty. Thus, success is a matter of outcome of basically good targeting, working very hard towards that target set and leaving the things to good luck too. The share of each element is 50 percent good targeting, 30 percent hard work and 20 percent luck."
9. Highly motivated:
Most of the sales people work in the field without any supervision. Absence of supervision may tempt these sales people to get up late, take long lunch breaks and even stop the work in the early hours of the day. However, good salesman are not the victims of these temptations. They are not the "shirkers" but "self-starters" who do not need the fear inspired by a glaring supervisor to act as chat boys. Spending long hours on the job is not enough. They use their time effectively, they need not maximize the time spent in contacting customers nor minimise the time spent on travelling and wanting for customers. It needs planning and working the plans. Successful sales people are motivated to learn as well as work hard.
10. Well-developed Communicative Skills:
The key to build strong long-term relationships is being responsive to customer needs. To do that sales persons need to be a good communicators. However, talking is not enough. The secret lies in cool listening. To complete in world marks, sales-people need to learn how best to communicate in international markets. They are to master communication skills. These communication skills in the area of sales are tactical skills, self-management skills, strategic skills, and so on. Each group has again sub-skills, which make them perfect and exact in selling line.