The factors that contribute to the attitude of the best salespeople are focus, goal orientation, and resolve. When you visit a client, what do you take on board? Your specialised knowledge; that goes without saying, since that is the foundation on which to build your case. Next, your sales documents and the information you’ve gathered about your client, from A for area to Z for Zinfandel, her favourite wine. A suit that represents you as a sales professional, to be taken seriously. What else? A positive outlook, naturally, and the justified hope of a sealed deal.
Wait a second. What was that? The hope of a deal? No, you don’t hope. You are determined. Mark my words: Hope is disappointment deferred.
The kind of optimism that you take with you to the client is a joyful resolve. A focus on selling, on results, and on closing the deal. If you are convinced that it is a good thing for the client to purchase from you, then you will do everything in your power to joyfully close that deal. Joy is precisely what you need to exude.
When I see the typical sales team before my training session, what I see is a drove of walking corpses. A funereal mood. Blank stares. Diffident body language. Hushed voices. Seldom do I see fun.
Unbelievable as it may sound, a customer once said that I was the “St. Paul of salespeople”, meaning that my joy springs from my earnestness. From me you will never hear those dour and whiny mutterings that we hear from too many people these days. Nor will you hear the feeble stammering heard too often in sales presentations. I’m dead serious about salesmanship. Selling is not a playground to me; it is the solid foundation of my existence. Selling is my life, and I have dedicated my life to it. That is why I am as hard as granite when it comes to selling. Everyone takes me seriously. From this earnestness I derive endless joy. This joy simply means that I have a lot of fun doing it. Selling is not cool, calculated, and mechanical but highly charged and passionate. I ask you to compare this with your own attitude. Go ahead and be honest with yourself.
Born to Sell?
I can assure you that I was not born a sales professional. A born salesperson? There’s no such thing! Just as there are no born street sweepers, tax collectors, or professional athletes. All nonsense. Just like everyone else, I sought out this meaning and purpose and made it my own. Anybody who wants a passionate attitude toward their vocation must simply decide to adopt one.
Unfortunately, most sales presentations perpetuate the notion of selling as personal injury. Dull technical mumbo-jumbo, reeling off memorised catch phrases, a craven kowtowing to the client as king – none of that has any place in salesmanship, and it is neither successful nor sincere.
You have to sell with enthusiasm; the client has to have fun with you. And you have to have plenty of fun yourself! Once the client has had a good laugh, he’s more likely to buy.
Selling is an emotionally charged activity. After the sale is made, reason always finds a suitable justification for the decision our emotions have led us to. Emotion usually trumps reason. You can forget all of your meticulous arguments if you are not having fun in the process.
Once you have decided to have fun selling, then you’ll win either way, regardless of the outcome. In fact, you’ll be able to step into the ring as the winner. And therein lies a real mystery: Clients Only Buy from Winners—a powerful title of a book by H.C. Altmann. I fully subscribe to that.
What that means in practice is something you can learn too. Here's an example: When I travel by plane, I always take an aisle seat. That gives me a chance to have a little fun. On the typical half-empty flight during the week, there is usually someone in the window seat. Having the aisle seat means that they can’t get away from me. For the whole flight. Beautiful. I’ve made five big business contacts on an airplane. That's a winner's attitude. How about you?
By Martin Limbeck, international sales authority and sought-after keynote speaker, dubbed “The Porsche of Sales.” He helps sales professionals seal more deals. Martin has trained and inspired audiences in sixteen countries for more than twenty years. The Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) has been honoured as Top Speaker of the Year 2014, International Speaker of the Year 2012, and Trainer of the Year 2011 and 2008. He teaches at Reutlingen European School of Business, Steinbeis University Berlin, and St. Gallen University, and is the author of several bestsellers. His latest work is NO Is Short for Next Opportunity — How Top Sales Professionals Think.