The following are my personal views of the steps involved and repeated day in and day out by successful salespeople—I like to call it the “The Salesmen’s Circle.”
There’s an art to being a successful salesperson—you can be the nicest person in the world and loved by everyone, but that doesn’t make you a successful salesperson. You can demonstrate strong product knowledge in a vast array of areas, but that doesn’t make you a successful salesperson either. While order takers offer cheap prices, salesmen offer experience, competitive prices, and top-notch customer service. I’ll share with you (on what my experience and insight may offer) as to what I think makes a top shelf industry salesperson.
Don’t get me wrong, having the traits of being liked and knowledgeable on products are great and essential factors to have for sure, but I see the most successful salesperson as having the ability to demonstrate the following:
Following the Salesmen Circle.
- Whether it’s a current customer or a new prospect, always qualify that individual or company before you spend any time working on bids and so on. Your credit department manager is a key factor in this process. Once you qualify the customer/prospect—assuming they meet your company’s criteria—move on to your next step on the circle.
- Once the customer is qualified (in a timely matter), get their bid request completed and back to them within three business days (sooner is obviously better). Always try your best to go over your bid in person, as the customer’s body language will tell you more than an email or phone call.
- The next phase is the most important, “Follow Up & Adjust” within three days of presenting your bid. Tell your customer you will be checking back with them in a few days if you haven’t heard back from them. Adjust your bid as necessary, discuss options, and build your relationship.
- If all the steps are taken in the circle, your efforts stand a very good chance of producing a sale.
Seasoned sales professionals are disciplined about following the Salesmen Circle; they figured out long ago that spinning their wheels only increased their fuel bill, and that was about it. Time is money, and the more time you spend on the road focusing on qualified customers, the more sales you’re going to make.
Yes, people like doing business with individuals they like (who doesn’t), but what happens if your buddy suddenly leaves the company you’re selling to and they replace him/her with a person you don’t know? Never take anything for granted. Situations change so fast it creates unpredictability in the market place. Sometimes this situation can work in your favor, and if so, take your shot. But always stay focused on the “The Salesmen’s Circle” because it may help you become a seasoned sales professional.