I left the house bright and early this Monday morning and like the beginning of all my trips, I tune in some sort of talk radio. Most often I listen to something sales related or something that motivates me.
This morning the talk on most stations, sports related anyway, was the College Football National Championship. There are so many channels to choose from today and the amount of information one can pick up just from listening is amazing. A regular 'Joe' can pick so much deep information and back stories on the players, coaches, families, etc...just by listening and darn near be an expert by the end of the day. I know a few guys like this where I come from!!!
I really get into the underdogs, the guys that worked to get where they are by not taking no for the answer and trying to achieve their dreams with a chip on their shoulder. The QB on one of these teams had a great story, not getting a chance to play football at the college his Dad and brothers played at, yet he finds a way to win the Heisman trophy and play in a national title game. However, there was another that shared a story of perseverance. Coach 'O', head coach Ed Orgeron of LSU. That guy has fought over and over to be on the sideline of the national championship game. Only as a salesman can we understand how many times he must have received rejection and continued to stay focused. What a story. It would make for a great book to listen to while behind the wheel.
I was listening to a book where a inventor/salesman way back in the early 1930's, had a product that revolutionized the automobile manufacturing industry. Over and over he took rejection after multiple presentations sharing his product. There is no count to how many 'no's' he must have heard. And the real interesting part is he had a product that everyone he shared it with agreed it was needed but nobody wanted to get behind him to help fund the product. Down on his luck, he met a guy who did not take No for an answer and he sold his idea to him for a handful of money. The guy he sold it to, Henry Phillips.
It is hard to take rejection and it can be hard for most of us because no just feels like the end! The thing is, its not, we just need to condition ourselves to see no as not right now. And that's not an easy thing to do! I cannot begin, in all of my sales endeavors, to share how many times I was told no, rejected, or told they had no interest. I'll bet sales reps reading can agree! It is especially pain staking when you see the value the product will bring. Looking back I see that more as an experience, patience, or maybe a maturity issue. As I've gained experience for every year I've gotten older I believe I've changed my process when I sell or share a presentation with a potential customer and have become accustom to accept and respect the decision. And unless its a yes, I realize now that no is not the end, its just no right now. Be patient and when you do see your that customer, kill em with kindness
This whole process of dealing with rejection can really be summed up into how we all approach a potential sale of the product or service in which we represent. When I was younger and had a almost 'sure thing' in front of me, I made the mistake of seeing dollar signs in my mind. Wow!!! How selfish, but it happens and it happened to me over and over and in the end some of those deals never came full circle and I can't remember how many times I was mentally crushed. I wanted to quit, but I did not. I picked myself up and stayed with it.
Like I mentioned earlier, in my opinion, its a maturity thing. I know now, at this point in my sales career, with all I've experienced and those that I have come across (KW), and sales information I have read or listened too, in the end I finally learned that its not about me. Its about my customer. I read a quote a while back that sums it all up and they are great words to live by for all sales representatives...'Stop selling your product/service, and sell the problem you will solve'. Does that not hit home? And the cool thing about that line is it applies to almost all sales positions no matter if you sell a service or a product. Heck, I bet it even works in the doctors office! I'm serious. We seem to listen best when were in the exam room or a dental chair. If the doctor or dentist is telling us how there procedure is going to eliminate our pain, we don't seem to be as concerned about the bill!
I love that line. I do my very best to take that approach every time I talk to a customer. Ask a lot of questions and learn about your customers pain and how you can help. Sounds easy enough and its easy to sit here and type, but it all came in time for me.
I had a young person who is very, very close to me get turned away for a position they really wanted. At that younger age its tough to hear no or be turned away for something you feel you can do well and where you feel you can make a difference and build a future. I used a bits of the advice written earlier. Staying positive is so important and No is just No right now. I hope that made sense. I know picking myself up when I was 25 was not easy...but we all do it.
I start Tuesday in front of a new customer. Prior to my position here, this customer felt unimportant and forgotten. Its funny because after my first few meetings, I felt I was back in the door. But history said otherwise. I found out I was not as welcome as I thought. A few days after my second call I was sent a email that stated my product would never be sold in this customers yard again! It was something beyond my control. 15 years ago I may have thought it was the end of the world. This time around I was disappointed at first but decided to do what I usually do, kill em with kindness. Patience and time. I happy to say they are now back as a dealer, better yet, they are great people.
I had to end this on a good note. I would love to hear some of your stories on your sales experiences. And Please, Please share my website and blog with other sales reps, inside or out.
Thanks for reading and Good Selling!