Written by Sean McPheat |
I was talking to a client of ours last week and he mentioned something that made me stop, think and agree with him.
He said that he is getting tired of salespeople trying to sell to him without doing the necessary research on his business to identify where potential needs may be. He’s also tired of having to cover information with salespeople that they should have known beforehand.
But his most telling statement was that he is surprised by how little progress many salespeople have made in their own development. It’s an investment that he ensures his own sales team makes, in time, effort and money. In fact, he incentivises his team to improve themselves, paying for books to update their business library and keeping up-to-date with podcasts, DVDs and business CDs.
It got me thinking about how many salespeople fail to keep themselves up-to-date with the changing world of business and sales. It’s the mark of all successful salespeople I have met that they realise learning is a never-ending journey. No matter how successful you may think yourself to be, you still must keep improving.
How would a professional sports team fare if they thought, ‘We’re the best in the league, so why should we learn anything new? Let the opposition play catch-up and then we’ll improve!’
The problem with that is they lose momentum. All sports teams will say that momentum builds confidence and confidence instils belief and competence. If you fail to plan for your development, you start to blame other things outside yourself for anything that goes wrong.
Teams are always on the lookout to ‘get the edge’ over the competition, and that’s an attitude that should drive you forward. I’m not just referring to going on training courses; there is a plethora of other ways to keep yourself up-to-date with new developments in your field, like participating in sales blogs, linking up to appropriate groups on LinkedIn, attending events pertinent to your industry, reading business articles that build your business acumen, and identifying ideas that make customers think seriously about you.
As we have discussed many times, customers have changed the way they buy. They don’t just look for solutions to today’s problems; they want to know how they can be successful over their competition in the future. If your knowledge and expertise through your development helps them to discuss these types of subjects, customers are more likely to listen to your ideas, concepts, thoughts and recommendations. But if you don’t invest in your own knowledge, why should your customers think you have anything more to offer than your competitors?
So, keep up with the changing ideas in buyer thought processes, become the ‘go-to’ person when clients have questions and spend time investing in your future. It will serve you well. Invest in your own skills and give your customers reasons to invest in you.
Originally published: 11 February, 2015