After speaking to a friend recently, I was inspired to write this blog about selling, jobs and life.  I hope that you, (whether you realize you are in sales or not), may find this useful.

The older I get, the more I realize we sell ourselves and get sold to all the time , constantly.  When I first got into sales, (12 years ago now. Woah!),  I was apprehensive and a bit depressed. Sales, in my mind, always had a negative image associated with it. Am I going to be a slimy or shady salesmen? I would often think to myself. This isn’t what I went to school for or wanted to do with my life!

But the more life and career experience I had, the more it seemed like so much of what everybody does (whevether they know it or admit to it or not) is to sell everyone else on their ideas, their services or products, their way of thinking, etc…

The teacher is selling the children that they teach on their knowledge, the cashiers at Barnes and Nobles are trying to sell me on their Rewards Card or yummy Lindor’s chocolates, and the people in a company’s marketing department are trying to sell to  their own peers on their ideas and images. That religion wants to sell me on this belief and this church wants to sell me on that belief.  BUY BUY BUY SELL SELL SELL. That is so much of our daily game and interaction with each other, we hardly know it’s happening anymore.

So why not properly arm yourself with some Professor Dave life nowledge?!  If you’re currently interviewing for a job, looking to get into sales or even just curious about sales,  here are a couple of tips from your old pal.

1.    PEOPLE EXPECT TO GET SOLD TO But that doesn’t mean you have to come across as…as…such a salesman. However, you DO have to be direct, a good listener, firm, control the conversation subtilely, compassionate, a clear communicator and ask good open-ended questions. You DO NOT have to  be pushy, overly aggressive, sleazy, lie, or bash the competition.

Your job, if you want to do well in sales, is to come across as more of a consultant. An expert. The best compliment I get is that the doctors do not call me their Sales Representative. They now introduce me to new people or others in their office as, “This is David, our respiratory expert.” This didn’t happen overnight of course, I had to prove myself as more of a consultant than a salesman. Someone  who they didn’t think is just their to make a quick dollar. 

The other thing I hear is, “You know, all these years you sold me on your company without ever trash-talking anybody.”  Know your product inside and out and if applicable, your competition’s, and then see below:

2.     ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS!!

People love to hear themselves talk. Good God, if there is one thing about people I’ve learned, is that most people love to talk about themselves or what they know.  WHICH IS GREAT FOR HELPING YOU SELL.  Try this fun game; Never ask questions that they can give you a yes or no response to.

Example:  Question from me: “Are you happy with your service?”  Answer from them : “Yes” or “No.”

Instead, try, “What about your the current service you have would you like to see improved?”  or “Help me understand what it is that you’re looking for in.…”

This forces the person talk, which can give you valuable information about themselves or the company and helps keep the conversation going. Then follow up with  a question starting with “Why” or “How”. Example, : “How are you looking to improve xyz…”  or “Why is that important to you?”

3. Sales is acting. Act damn it and have fun doing it! 

In some ways, is an actor who sells his/her performance any different than a salesman who sells cars?

They both want the people who they’re speaking to to buy into what they’re saying. They both want them to like them and to believe their performance. The actors have the stage and the car salesman has his lot. Both are exciting, frustrating and emotional adventures. It’s just how you want to look at it, I guess.

If you don’t act like you care about your customer or client, you have lost. If you don’t act like what you’re telling them is important or what they are saying back to you is equally important, you have lost. It certainly helps everything if you have or sell a product/service that you actually care or are passionate about. I tried to sell Blackberrys and the software and servers that came with it to mid-size business owners. I lasted barely a year because I didn’t care about the boring-ass technology I was selling.

4.   If you interview for a job and don’t “close them “at the end of the  interview, you  are hurting your chances of getting hired. 

VER Y IMPORTANT thing I learned. I’ve had several sales jobs and the hiring managers let me know, that because I closed them at the end of the interview so well is why I went on to the next step or got hired.

Example: If the interviewer for the job you’re hoping to get says, “Well Dave, do you have anymore questions?”

You better say something like, “As I’ve  demonstrated, I have the know-how in each category to begin working with little or no training. I look forward to taking the next steps and becoming  part of  the company. When can I expect to hear from you?” ORAs you can see, I believe I have the qualities and experience you are looking for in this position. Are there any issues or concerns that would make you think otherwise?”  

See? This sounds much better and is more powerful of a statement than, “Nope. I don’t have any questions at this time.”

5. IF PEOPLE SAY NO, HOW CAN I MAKE THEM SAY YES? (A.K.A REJECTION MAKES MY TUMMY HURT)

Your mission is to help them realize what they DO want by presenting them with possibilities. That comes with asking good questions, uncovering the customer’s needs and being a very good listener. You’re not going to always sell everybody all the time. Realize that, be O.K. with it and learn how to deal with rejection and objections. It’s part of life, kids.

Well, that’s it for now. Feel free to ask me any other questions. I like to think I have much nowledge to share when it comes to selling, getting a job and the like. Take care, have a great day and happy selling!

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