294 The Wonderful World of Sales 8 – Nurture your Network

The Wonderful World of Sales 8 – Nurture your Network

 

Nurture your professional network. Being in sales enables you to connect with many different types of people. Here are some examples of who you can go to so you can nurture a strong network. 

 

Customers – even after you have completed a sale (or even if you didn’t), reach out to people in your customers’ organization to maintain or extend meaningful business relationships. Often times, customer staff will be in different positions or move to another company. Staying in touch will help you lead the pack when new opportunities arise. 

 

Business Partners – service providers who work directly with your customers can often be plugged in more closely than you are. They often hear about new initiatives being considered. Stay connected so you can be plugged in. 

 

Competitors – yes, that’s right… competitors. Salespeople do change companies and might migrate from a friendly relationship to a competitor. A good rule to follow is “Keep your friends close and your competitors closer” to remain on top of what is going on in your territory and with your customers. 

 

Market Influencers – these people can help you understand the dynamics of specific markets and are often plugged into top executives. You have the opportunity to position your solutions favorably to them, which can generate new leads. 

 

Friends and acquaintances – they can help you get introduced to others for potential job referrals. Every sales job I won was initiated through my network. 

 

Every couple of months, I receive a call from a former colleague, an elite seller himself… He didn’t need an urgent reason to call… he just wanted to stay in touch. Every conversation was productive and we both always learned something new. 

 

Your professional network is worth a lot and can pay significant dividends throughout your career. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Wonderful World of Sales in the next briefing. 

 

293 The Wonderful World of Sales 7 – Skills that Transfer

The Wonderful World of Sales 7 – Skills that Transfer

 

Hone your sales skills that can transfer across industries. 

 

Once you have mastered key selling skills, you become a valuable professional who will be in demand for other sales career opportunities. Learning a new product, service, or solution is somewhat important, but understanding how to sell is much more essential. 

 

Once you know how to sell and do it well, you become a valuable asset that could be in demand by many sales organizations. 

 

Too many salespeople focus only on learning the products or solutions they sell. They can become experts in features and benefits of their solutions but may not have developed excellent selling skills. As a result, they can get stuck in a role that makes them captive to their company and their solutions, which over time could become less competitive or even be overtaken in the marketplace. 

 

Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, focus on learning and refining skills that will help you sell more, such as these: 

 

Excellent Communication Skills – so you can effectively articulate a powerful message that captivates your customers. 

 

Powerful Prospecting Skills – so you can regularly add good leads and develop new prospects to your pipeline. 

 

Ruthless Qualification Skills – so you can ensure that you are focusing on advancing the right deals that you can win. 

 

Discovery Skills – so you can establish the basis of a good customer relationship by uncovering their needs and providing a solution.

Solid Negotiation Skills – so you can ensure that you are winning profitable deals. 

 

Value Selling Skills – so you can create an irresistible value proposition that compels your customer to action. 

 

Like many other elite sales professionals, transitioning into a new role or to a new company is a great way to achieve even greater results in your sales career. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Wonderful World of Sales in the next briefing. 

 

292 The Wonderful World of Sales 6 – Become an Entrepreneur

The Wonderful World of Sales 6 – Become an Entrepreneur

 

Pursue entrepreneurial interests. When you are rewarded handsomely, you could be in a situation where you are able to leave your sales position, financially secure. Then you could launch ventures to build new businesses or do things for pure enjoyment. 

 

Successful sales professionals have acquired the skills needed by entrepreneurs to launch and grow a business. Here are 5 of those skills.  

 

  1.  Perseverance – The will to press on in the face of challenges, disappointments, and failures. You remain determined to continue, adjust your plan, and find a way to succeed. Also requires grit – the mental toughness needed to win in a highly competitive market.

 

  1.  Networking experience – Elite salespeople build a strong network of customers, partners, advisors, and affiliates. These contacts can serve as key connections when conducting business as an entrepreneur. 

 

  1.  Persuasion – Communication skills that rely on persuasive techniques to advance opportunities and get things done.

 

  1.  Achieving goals – Setting goals and achieving them are key to success for an entrepreneur. 

 

  1.  Understanding your markets – You know what are the needs of your target markets, their challenges, and solutions that can deliver substantial benefits. 

 

Leveraging these skills you learned as a successful sales professional is an important step toward establishing your business as an entrepreneur.  

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Wonderful World of Sales in the next briefing. 

 

291 The Wonderful World of Sales 5 – Climb the Ladder

The Wonderful World of Sales 5 – Climb the Ladder

 

Climb the ladder. 

 

As a B2B sales professional, you can leverage your expertise to take on increased responsibilities… and if you desire, you might be able to climb the corporate management ladder to executive-level positions. Many of the most successful CEOs were in sales at some point in their career. Think about it—CEOs must be effective communicators and possess the powers of persuasion; they must be able to connect with employees, customers, and shareholders. CEOs are always selling—they sell their ideas, their strategies, their rationale for justifying major decisions. For those striving to climb the corporate ladder, a sales career will provide outstanding experience to help you advance closer to that goal. 

 

Here are some successful CEOs who once started as sales reps: 

Warren Buffett – Warren was once a paperboy, then used to sell to securities at Buffett-Falk & Company. Eventually, he acquired Berkshire Hathaway and became CEO in 1970.

Anne Mulcahy – Anne worked as a sales rep at XEROX. She rose through the ranks and became Vice President, then eventually became the XEROX CEO and her brilliant strategies brought the struggling company back on track. 

Mark Cuban – Early in his career, Mark became a software sales rep. Later he started an internet radio company and sold it to Yahoo for $5.7 billion. He owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and currently acts as CEO for AXS TV.

Robert Herjavec – Robert started his career as a sales rep who used to sell IBM Mainframe emulation boards. He later started a tech company, and sold it to AT&T. Now he is CEO of Herjavec Group, Canada’s largest IT security provider.

Howard Schultz – Howard is the CEO and chairman of Starbucks. He worked as a sales rep for XEROX and later sold appliances. He joined Starbucks as Director of Marketing, later acquired the company and became their CEO. 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Wonderful World of Sales in the next briefing. 

 

290 The Wonderful World of Sales 4 – Freedom Rings

The Wonderful World of Sales 4 – Freedom Rings

 

You have the opportunity to enjoy a greater sense of freedom when you are a B2B sales professional. 

 

Work Freedom

 

You can work from anywhere and are not chained to a cubicle or stuck in a traditional office environment. You can perform work-related tasks from anywhere. The only tools you need are your smartphone, your laptop computer, and a good WiFi connection. 

 

If your business involves travel to customers, you can often service customers within driving distance through face-to-face meetings. Or if this involves air travel, you can live within an hour of an airport to make air travel more feasible.  

 

When away from home, your remote office workspace can be as near as the local coffee shop, your vehicle, an airport lounge, or a hotel. You can even work productively on an airplane while flying through the clouds.  

 

Schedule Freedom

 

You own your schedule… Sure, there are required meetings you will need to attend… but the sales professional often has more control over their schedule than other business professionals. You can squeeze in personal tasks in the middle of the day by blocking off time on your schedule for things like errands or picking up kids from school. 

 

While many sales professionals shy away from doing work while on vacation, some bring at least a little work with them. If you are facing stiff competition on deals, it might be disastrous to totally unplug for an entire week or two. Unless you are totally unavailable, such as off the grid while hiking through the wilderness, or on a safari in a remote country, plan to stay in touch to address urgent customer needs that arise. Waiting until you return from vacation could result in you receiving terrible news. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Wonderful World of Sales in the next briefing.