Sales Make it Happen
"Never Give Up!"
By Linda Kester
People have told me that I'm a natural born salesperson. In fact, one of my performance reviews stated, "Linda could sell ice to an Eskimo."
I started my career selling photocopiers. The ten months I spent in that job were the longest and most disheartening months of my life. I hated to prospect. My heart would pound, my hands would shake, and I felt like a nuisance. I would go out to prospect and I would end up at the mall.
I began to think I was never cut out for sales.
Then two things happened, almost simultaneously. First, a friend gave me an audio tape of The Psychology of Winning by Dr. Denis Waitley. Second, I was offered a job at Advanta Leasing Corp. Since my copier sales job was straight commission and the Advanta job offered a base salary ($13,500 + commission) I took the leasing gig.
I listened to that Psychology of Winning tape over and over again (truth be told, my car radio was broken-only the cassette player worked) The four biggest things I learned were:
1. Act enthusiastic until you become enthusiastic
2. Continually ask yourself "What is the best use of my time right now?"
3. Commit to yearly, quarterly and weekly goals.
4. Implement a calendar planning system, or a to-do system
I started to understand that if we narrow down the business of prospecting it's just one thing.talking to people. The best use of my time was to become successful at my job. To be successful I had to make myself call on vendors.
Then an amazing thing happened. I fell in love with leasing. My first day at Advanta Leasing, a fellow sales rep, John Forsythe, looked me up and down and said: "If you really sold copiers, you'll feel like you died and went to heaven in this job." You know what? It was like I died and went to heaven. I loved selling leasing!
I still got nervous while prospecting and to combat this I started studying sales techniques. To maintain my dignity I did my homework before making a prospect call. This is so much easier today with the internet. Thank God for the internet! You can get a contact name, and qualify a vendor just from their web site.
Simply stated to maintain your dignity while prospecting vendors or lessees:
1. Believe in your leasing services.
2. Gather as much information as you can before talking to a decision maker.
3. Ask everyone you talk to how decisions about leasing are made.
4. Have two objectives set before making a call. For example one objective could be to obtain their email address, a second objective would be to have them go to your web site.
5. Listen to the prospect-listen to understand-if they take the conversation to a different place than you wanted the conversation to go-just go with it. The goal is to establish a relationship.
6. Bring something of value to each prospect call. A new idea, sales tips, an interesting article or web site to visit. It's not about you-it's about them.
7. Ask them "What is most important to you in a leasing company?"
8. Make your calls with confidence and enthusiasm. I became eager and anxious to make calls because I had thought about the vendor, I studied their situation, and had some ideas I believed might be of value to them.
9. Find out what your prospects want and help them get it.
10. Never give up!
I believe I really helped my vendors sell more equipment. I was inspired to find creative ways to get difficult lessees approved. And that's what helped me succeed. I fell in love with what I was offering and I sold my enthusiasm to vendors.
Do I still get the butterflies while prospecting? Sometimes. I'm putting myself out there, and that is still a little frightening. However, I believe so strongly in my product that it's OK if they hang up on me. It's OK if they say no.
I just keep going because I know that there is an abundance of business out there and my services will be a match for lots of companies. We will create a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Linda Kester helps leasing companies obtain more volume. For more information please visit www.lindakester.com