321 ENCORE-Curiosity leads to Sales Success – Cur 1

Curiosity leads to Sales Success – Part 1

Elite Sales Professionals are curious by nature. Here’s why. 

  • Curiosity helps Elite Sales Professionals learn more about their customer, their business challenges, and their competitive position. Being curious helps Elite Sales Professionals gain knowledge that will help them engage with the customer in the right way. 
  • Curiosity also helps Elite Sales Professionals manage their pipeline better… they can develop new opportunities, position to defeat the competition, advance deals that may have slowed down or stalled, and open doors to win bigger deals in the future. 

 

Let’s look at why curiosity is a great skill for salespeople to develop and how curiosity can lead to greater success. 

During the Discovery Phase – Curiosity improves your  outcome. 

Asking open-ended questions, such as those which start with Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How… These get the customer engaged and places the salesperson in the role of a valued consultant, rather than someone just looking for a quick transaction. Be aware that the customer should view your questions as being helpful, not annoying. 

Open-ended questions help you explore topics more deeply, such as this… 

“If this machine problem is causing inconsistent production quality, how is it affecting shipping schedules and overall customer satisfaction?”

Open-ended questions help you qualify potential opportunities. 

Questions along the line of “What happens if you don’t address this business issue?” can help you determine whether the customer is committed to pursuing a solution… and whether it’s worth spending your time and resources with this prospective customer. 

Open-ended questions help you determine the priority of business issues. 

Pursuing a proper line of questioning will help you determine which issues are higher priority… And the urgency changes for different people in the customer’s organization. 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue this discussion on curiosity in the next briefing. 

320 My First Job in Sales Part 3

My First Job in Sales Part 3

I learned four lessons from my first experience in sales as a door-to-door magazine seller.

 

1) Bonuses and rewards are based on performance. Don’t rationalize that another salesperson is just lucky. Instead, learn what they are doing well and integrate those techniques into your approach. If you wanted Bossman to buy your lunch, you needed to produce sales. 

 

2) Never stay in a sales position where you are forced to take advantage of your customers. Never agree to lie or leave out key details that are contained in some manipulative “sales talk.”

 

3) Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Would you try to sell your products (in this case, magazines) to your family members, your mom, your grandmother, your aunts? If not, go somewhere else and sell for a reputable company. 

 

4) The experience of selling magazines door-to-door scared me away from getting involved in a sales career for several years. 

Don’t let an experience with a terrible manager like BossMan steer you away from a potentially promising career in sales. There are great sales managers out there and when considering a new sales position, be sure to qualify whether you will actually want to work for the person who will be your manager. They can become a great mentor to you or your worst nightmare. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

319 My First Job in Sales - Part 2

My First Job in Sales – Part 2

 

Continuing the discussion on selling magazines door-to-door… To begin, Bossman handed us sellers a “Sales Talk” and ordered us to memorize it. 

 

I did memorize that dreaded “Sales Talk”… and can recite it verbatim to this day… here’s how it goes:

 

“I have a card for you (while motioning to hand the card to the person opening the door). These are the most popular magazines available. Just pick five of your favorites and you will receive free samples of each. When you sign up, your cost will be only 35 cents per week – that’s less than two dollars per month. Your neighbor’s are all signing up for this great deal.” 

 

Sounded innocent enough… but turned out to be a predatory tactic. 

 

Bossman used a high-pressure person, “George the Closer” (a big, imposing man who claimed to be a lawyer), to visit the customer the following day to get a signed agreement. 

 

  • During George’s visit, he informed the customer that the deal for five magazine subscriptions was in fact for 35 cents per week, but was for a five year subscription and had to be paid up front. The total amounted to a couple of hundred dollars. George put the pressure on the customers to close  the deal. 
  • But many of the customers who agreed to sign up the day before cancelled their subscription. 
  • Word had gotten around many neighborhoods that this was not a good deal and should be avoided. 

 

When this news got back to Bossman, he was livid and blamed us sellers for not using the sales talk properly. In reality, us sellers lost confidence in what we were supposed to sell and it became obvious to the customers. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue the discussion on my first job in sales in the next briefing. 

 

318 My First Job in Sales Part 1

My First Job in Sales Part 1

 

My first job in sales was selling magazines door to door. Yeah, that’s right. Back in the day before cable TV, before smartphones… when people read printed magazines that were delivered to their homes.

 

As a 16-year-old high school student, a friend convinced me that this would be a good way to make some extra cash during the summer. 

 

The territory consisted of rural towns, which included small housing developments, along with single homes on the open road. We probably walked five miles per day along our routes. 

 

The guy who managed our magazine sellers drove us around our territory. Five or six of us young magazine sellers were crammed into this guy’s big Cadillac. He dropped us off at strategic points with instructions on which prospects to approach.

 

He could only be described as a pompous blowhard and his archaic management style was extreme intimidation. We referred to him derisively as “BossMan”, as he treated us like indentured servants.

 

BossMan loved you when you made sales but berated you when you came up empty, calling you lazy and unfocused. If we sold three subscriptions before lunch, you received a bonus – BossMan would buy you lunch, and he would rave about your efforts of that morning. 

 

Jimmy was the most experienced seller and seemed to get all the good routes, with plenty of nice homes, in nice neighborhoods. He had a charismatic personality and could strike up a conversation with anybody, especially our prime prospects – at-home housewives. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue the discussion on my first job in sales in the next briefing. 

 

317 On This Veterans Day

On This Veterans Day

 

Veterans Day is November 11. It is a reminder of the extreme sacrifice made by the men and women who have served our country. They sacrificed so much so that we can live free. 

 

After America was attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, my dad, Samuel Dominic Sebastian, immediately visited a U. S. Navy recruiting office attempting to enlist. 

 

However, he was only 16 years old. A scrawny, young kid, he was told to come back when he grew up. Two years later, Sam was drafted into the Army. 

 

In June 1944, the Allied Forces executed the largest military operation in history, known as D-Day. Sam was there with the soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy.

 

While he rarely talked about it, before he passed away, Dad told his story.

 

Sam’s Tank Destroyer Battalion started their journey in England, traversing the English Channel in tiny transport boats, then finally approached Omaha Beach, wading in the surf for the final 100 yards. His only fear was staying afloat in the surf… especially for a young man who could not swim!

 

His Tank Destroyer battalion joined others, then marched through France, to liberate the French people, then joined up with General Patton, to fight in the Battle of Bulge. Later in December of that year, Sam took a “vacation”… a three month stay in an army hospital in Italy to recover from the wounds of war. He carried shrapnel in his back and leg the rest of his life, but never complained about the pain. His reward for service was a Purple Heart, which his sons found many years later. 

 

He taught us the importance of family, strong work ethic, humility, and integrity. 

 

Some people never meet their hero… I was blessed to be raised by mine.  

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, please take time to honor our Veterans on this day.