Let me ask, have you heard the joke about the light being on inside the fridge? You know, where you were asked to open the door of the fridge and voila, the light was on. Now I know you know the light only comes on when you open the door. But the refrigerator is always on! It has to be to do its job.
Top sales professionals, like fridges, are always “on". This is especially true for those who need to prospect to find new clients.
One individual I know worked many years as an electrician for a major U. S. automobile manufacturer. At the suggestion of a good friend, he decided to pursue a sales career in the financial services industry. This was a pretty major change in vocation; he went from dealing with watts and volts to handling people’s investment and insurance needs.
Was he a success? Well, in his first full year he shot up to becoming the top rep in North America for his company. To prove he was not a one hit wonder, he repeated this feat his second year, and yes, the third year too! To this day, he remains one of the top reps with his company.
So how did an electrician, now a salesman, become so successful? If you ask this modest man, he will say “It’s simple really, you do the best you can for your client, and you always have to be on. "
To meet this gentleman, you would know someone with an insatiable appetite for learning. He wanted to know everything he could about financial planning and the products he represented. He was a keen student of his sales manager and a constant observer of the successful reps around him. He was a sponge.
One day, I asked him what he meant when he said being “on. " He told me “To be successful I have to meet a lot of new people. I have to be able to tell them quickly what it is I do and how I can help them. " He went on to say, “I look at everyone as an opportunity. " “When I go to the super-market I look for the longest line and stand in it, I know I’ll have a chance to strike up a conversation with the person in front of me, and the person who comes behind me. " Talk about captive audience.
I marvelled at one story he told me about when he went shopping for a bed cover and pillows. After he completed his purchase he thought, “I’ve done business with you, you should do business with me. " He proceeded to book an appointment with the sales clerk who had sold him his pillows. He also asked if she would introduce him to her manager and the other sales clerks. He left the store that day with five appointments booked in his day timer.
Why? Because he was always “on".
Top sales people maintain a laser like focus combined with a strong desire to succeed.
Don’t be as cold as a refrigerator, but do think about being “on" all the time.
Clayton Shold has 25 years of experience helping sales professionals increase their revenue and productivity. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org