Selling is an art, which some people have mastered, and others just hope to. The difference between the sales haves and have-nots are not the lack of understanding of some huge gigantic concepts and theories, rather, most of the time the difference between the sales success, and failure to register a sale is everyday soft skills and introspection. Your presentations (PPTs) do not make a sale, they are not capable of making one; it is you soft skills, your honest connection with yourself and demeanor that help you register one sale after another.
Let’s give you a personal account in brief to explain this more clearly. Couple of years back, I was employed in a space selling team of a national newspaper (for convenience sake let’s call it X-Paper). My stay there was not long, but I learned quite a few things there. While in X-Paper, I made a friend, who was very polished, professional, and stiff and had a quirky sense of humor. One fine day, he was not in his usual mood, not cracking his kind of jokes, which made me ask, how he was doing. In response to this he started verbally bashing our bosses (we had a handful of them). As he said, his issue was with the way our bosses lick the clients boot by being polite (overly) to make a sale (perhaps he was referring o their soft skills), and to meet their targets. He felt, it was not being professional. He went on saying he was against such things; one should do what he used to do, make a good PPT, put all the necessary information in it, and deliver the presentation, as best as one could. And that according to him was how sales should be made; no personal chit-chat, no small talks. What he was suggesting was this: do not be friendly (over, as he put it) with the people on the other side of the table, they are just business associates, so, instead of showing concern to their matters, we should focus on solving problems in their business. As he said, we should focus on what problem clients’ business had, and how our product was going to solve it.
After couple of months in the only corporate job, I quit and started a viral marketing and buzz generation agency (I come from MARCOM background), and hired this person for sales job. Six months into the position, he was still looking to make his first sale. I tried convincing him the other method, but he did not listen, and shifted the blame on our agency being a new thing. His point was well taken. Interestingly even when he was with X-Paper, a very well established niche newspaper, his sale was still not justifying the salary he drew. I was naïve then, and due to lots of other reasons my venture failed, but while taking its last breath it taught me the power of soft skills. The power of a simple smile, saying sorry, listening carefully, politely disagreeing when the difference in opinion arises, and admiring heartily when come across wonderful thing. All in all it taught me the wisdom that lies in being a good human.
Why my friend from X-paper despite those glittering MBA degree from a reputed college failed in doing what my bosses found it every day affair? Most of my bosses did not even have an MBA degree, they were plain vanilla graduates! I am not planning to kill you by the length of this post, so return tomorrow and get the answers. Till then, so long!
Tags: Array, Business Associates, Chit Chat, Convenience Sake, Demeanor, Handful, Introspection, Kind Of Jokes, Nots, One Fine Day, Personal Account, Quirky Sense, Sales Success, Sense Of Humor, Solving Problems, Success And Failure, Targets