I was asked to be a sales representative from an operations marketing role, and my immediate answer was “no thank you”. That was a long time ago, and I’m still in sales today after 16 years.
They offered me a car, and strategically my mind calculated the benefits of that one component. My car was running rough and I had 3 young children to raise. Responsibility took priority.
What I valued most was the ability to provide, not the flash car, although a nice luxury to have. The money was attractive, and also served the right purpose in this period of life.
But that’s not enough. A desire to succeed also lay within me. If you’re going to do anything, do it extremely well. It’s about respecting yourself, your efforts and being proud of your achievements.
The reason I said no in the first place was due to my personal experience with sales people. I didn’t want to be like them, and I certainly didn’t want to be tagged as a pushy salesperson.
In my younger years I worked for a car yard, so that kind of explains why I thought all salesman were pushy, and in some regards the behaviour unethical.
I accepted the job after some convincing, and worked out a way that I could make it work for me. The values I hold true to myself, needed to be considered.
To become a successful, trustworthy salesperson, you must first know WHY you want to be one. Quote from High Trust Selling by Todd M Duncan.
My reasons for being a sales representative were purely around responsibility. I never desired a career in sales, but the financial rewards would help me provide for my family.
But I was also excited by the challenge, as I had watched others come and go in that role. The harder the challenge the better, I always needed to know and learn more. Not much has changed in that regard.
The first thing I did was redefine the title of sales representative to being a consultant. I decided that I wasn’t going to ‘SELL’ anything to anyone. Of course my manager didn’t know that at the time!
Instead, I was going to help people find a solution and educate them rather than sell to them. It’s the medical industry after all, the need is quite apparent.
I identified all the things I would not be or do for a sale. Integrity and ethics are high on my agenda. The answer for me was really simple, just be yourself, be transparent, know your stuff and be professional.
Key Elements I Value:
- Being open and honest – it’s who I am and how I sleep at night
- Be genuine – it’s about being yourself, with good intention and the right motives
- Be ethical – always maintain a high level of standards and professionalism, there are lines that should never be crossed, no matter how small
- Know your product extremely well – customers want to speak with an expert, not a novice who knows less than they do – quality training is key
- Know your customer – learn from them and listen carefully, they are our best teachers after all
- Understand the customer environment – be respectful and learn every aspect, the solutions become obvious
I stuck with this strategy throughout my sales career because it worked for me, and was extremely effective. People are responsive to those who show integrity, respect, knowledge and professionalism.
Incentives to sell are generally always in place, but should not influence your behaviour. If your goal is purely to hit that incentive to increase your earnings, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as your motives are not all selfish.
Regardless of your sales targets, KPI’s and drive to reach your incentive, integrity and ethics should be high on your own agenda, and the company you represent.
When you are establishing trust with a client, it means you need to be trustworthy. Trust is a critical factor in sales.
The value of long term client relationships should be a measure of sales success. We all want to buy from someone we trust, be it a brand or the brand representative. Long term relationships mean continuous business.
Think long term and maintain sales integrity. Trust is everything in sales.