March 5, 2014

In one of his WASHINGTON POST columns, Thomas Heath begins: “I said something disrespectful about salespeople many years ago, and my wife Polly, upbraided me straightaway. ‘Selling is a real talent,’ she said. ‘If you can sell, you can always find work.’ I immediately gained a respect for salespeople that I have never lost.”

Heath’s column is devoted to a story that features Karen Edwards (owner of a successful printing company) who, “reveals secrets to her sales success.”

It’s an interesting story as Ms. Edwards advocates much of what we have referenced in previous blogs: “(she says) her sales trick is being direct, reliable and creating a close relationship that her clients can’t live without. You build their trust. I made unbelievable relationships that I still have.”

Each of you needs to find a Karen Edwards, whom you can trust and with whom you can partner in order to increase the success-chances of your own training initiatives.

While I’ve written about the attributes of a partnering salesperson in earlier blogs, it is important to remember that a truly professional salesperson is both committed to the benefits offered by her products and services —- and, to your challenges and opportunities, as well.

As we will see in the following paragraphs, exceptional salespeople will always deliver on their promises. And, long after the sale, will continue to stay in-touch in order to make certain that you are still happy and free from any problems that their products or services may have caused you.

Jeff Thulls’, “. . . How to Recognize a Great Salesperson,” which appeared in THE CEO REFRESHER summarized this issue well: ‘. . . There are many, many companies that claim to offer the products and services your customers {or your trainees} need. Yet, all too often the strategy of the sales force is to battle the competition on capabilities and pricing in order to capture the customer’s business. Reality is, that succeeding in today’s marketplace is not about price. It’s not even about products. Instead, success means being able to understand the very real, very complex problems that customers face and sort through all the available alternatives. The right salesperson should be able to help the customer do so, and to create a solution that the customer would not have been able to come up with on their own.

It is this characteristic, the ability to collaborate with the customer, stimulate their thinking and create revenue-building solutions that they don’t have the time or the wherewithal to create for themselves, that the customer should look for in sales professionals who they want to work with. This kind of salesperson is able to provide a competitive advantage for the customer’s company. They don’t sit across the desk from the customer, spewing information and hoping for a commission. They actually become an integral part of the customer’s business, making their life easier and contributing to their measurable success. It is the savvy salesperson who knows that the sales process is not “done to the customer,” but “with the customer.”

Don’t try to go it alone with your training initiatives. A partnering professional salesperson will be worth her weight in gold. Together, you can explore solution choices that will help you and your company become more successful.

Teaming with a genuine sales professional is a win/win for everyone —- and, that’s “what the wise trainer once said . . .!”

More on Monday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning