We've all seen a few people that have made it really big in sales. The problem is that is the extreme minority. In any sales, commision only, position 95% of the sales force is at or close to the poverty line. Yes, there are some positions that start people off at $40, 50, even $60 thousand per year - but they are not strictly commission and are usually reserved for highly degreed and uniquely qualified people. What we are going to address here is how to turn an average sales job, making average earnings into a super satisfying, highly respectable, and top earning profession.
Did you know that the top 5% of the sales force earns 75% of the income? I would rather be in that group. They don't ever have to worry about being laid off - something that the degreed non-full commission people do.
Rule one. Mornings are for prospecting. I know, everyone is afraid to call or thinks the customer might think you are harrassing them - basically, get over it. If you don't call your people then someone else will (previous customers, new customers, friends, business associates - anyone you do business with - hey it should be reciprocal - if I get my hair cut by the same barber I expect him to tell all his clients that I sell XYZ when appropriate, etc...). Morning hours should be reserved for making appointments. Did you know that a fresh customer that you have just met has a very low initial closing ratio - around 1%. Referrals and appointments are around 50%. Which would you rather spend your time with. Also, referrals and appointments, on average pay much more, are easier to close, and they leave great feedback scores - almost every sales profession is starting to grade people on these all important customer feedbacks.
Rule 2. Don't waste time. Ever see a group of sales people circling the water cooler or coffee area? Do not join them. They are usually commiserating on negative excuses for why they aren't making enough money - the economy is bad, its been slow, the product is too hard to sell, etc... Negativity will rub off on you and it will kill your sales and you are then guaranteed to be apart of the average 95% earning average or less income. Get busy. Buy a day planner, take the time to learn to use it properly, and plan your time to succeed. Make goals - use baby steps - easily attainable goals - you will not fail this way (the number one reason for failure with goals is making them too big too fast - they are unattainable and we get quickly depressed). But also don't get burned out. Prioritize your time. Go to work to work, and then know when and how to take time off. You will always do 10X better when you are fresh then when you are tired and worn out. When I came back from even a small 2 day weekend to the beach I would be so refreshed and ready that I would easily sell more in the next week than I did the previous month - always. Take little breaks once a month. Don't forget your family and God should be number 1 in your life!
Rule 3. Be interesting and educate yourself. If you live in a rural town where everyone knows everyone this is not as important. But in big cities and suburbs you need to keep abreast of the news. If you have the opportunity go to college. Take a adult learning course. Read Business Week, Newsweek, etc... They will keep you up to date on what is going on in the world and give you subjects to talk about - common ground you can more easily establish with your customers. The more you know and the more common ground you have the easier it will be to handle objections and other difficult moments. It will be easier for the customer to see you as being on their side. It will be easier to convert them to your friend(s) - this is very important as friends will buy from you 90% of the time and be your biggest source of referrals! It's simple. The bigger your network of friends, the more successful you will be. Follow this and you will become an order taker, not a hardworking, underearning average salesperson. This idea has propelled people to #1 in the country for everything from Car sales to Avon, to pharmaceuticals and furniture.
Be genuinely interested in your customer and learn to listen - God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. So we would hear twice as often as we speak. Let the customer speak and tell you what their needs are.
Complement them on something - this increases your odds of making the sale 40%! Find some common ground - do they fish? are they into dancing? Do they like the recent movies, etc... Even if you don't make the sale write this one little tidbit on top of their file. Then when you follow up with them you will have common ground. When you see an article on something similar clip it out and attach it to their file. Then next time you follow up with them you will blow them away with the fact that you remembered their interests and whats important to them - now, they will come back and be less interested in bottem dollar and, instead in buying from a friend who cares!
Surround yourself with positive successful people. In every business you have circles of influence - be in the winners circle. Even if you do have a bad day, which will happen, then this new circle will help pick you up. Do not hang around at the water cooler! If you aren't in sales, then its time for a job chaange - you will never make more money, have more career stability, and have more fun then in a successful sales position. If you are in an ineffective sales organization then move on and find a more succesful one - life is short don't waste it. Remember your family and God are #1. Take time off - small breaks are more conducive to success (long breaks can create stagnation and lethargy. Use the afore mentioned rules and you too can be in the top 5% of your profession earning 75%+ of the income! Then you will learn that the 1% of those 5% go on to super stardom as they establish their own businesses (this is how I started my various businesses - headlight cleaning and restoration, TCA peels, skin peels, various patents, etc... - we are the number 1 supplier in the world of all our products)- do not do this until you have been in the top 5% for a while and have a lot of success under your belt. When you become succesful - remember to give back or pay it forward. Give to help those in less desirable circumstance. Help those in need. It will make you feel good and help the world be a better place. Be nice, and learn to forgive and forget. Life is too short to hold grudges. Learn to enjoy life and those around you - your life will be more satisfying and have more meaning!
Good luck and I look forward to meeting you as a super successful salesperson and entrepeneur in the near future!