Sales Lessons I Wish I Knew When I Was 25

Since there is no mathematical formula to dealing with people, mistakes are going to consistently get made, however with those mistakes lessons are learned.



 After turning 30, I look back and think about the different style I had when selling I had partly due to experience, partly due to age, though regardless there are certain things that I know now that would’ve been great if I knew back then.


 Here are three of a few:


Pretend You Charge By The Hour Or, If You’re Good, You Can Get Taken Advantage Of



Many salespeople fail to understand just how valuable their time is and because of this, many lack even average time management skills.


Even when some salespeople feel that there is a 90% chance that they are not going to make the sale, they maintain a skewed glimmer of hope and still spend hours upon hours filling out long, complex RFP’s that will never see the light of a printer. Further, the sales professional combines the empty work hours with having hour-long conversations about nothing with the decision maker’s assistant, thinking that they are slowly breaking into the organisation from the ground up.


As a sales professional, right off the bat, you must gauge whether or not the client’s company has the money. Forget about who you think the decision-maker is, and forget about your current contact within the company. First focus on the company’s ability to write checks, then worry about who the main players are and whether you’re speaking to them. Typically, there is an inverse relationship between how much the potential client discusses cutting a check and the odds of them doing so. This is a trap that many young sales professionals fall into and that sales managers should be cognisant of.


When You Have A Shot At Making The Sale and When You’re Doing Free Consulting:


Another rule that sales people want to implement and often hold themselves back from is to only give consideration to RFPs from decision-makers. Sales professionals need to start realising that they are a free knowledge base in their industry if they’re teaching every inbound caller the intricacies of their industry and giving out insider information as to the inner-workings that only people who work in the vertical would know.


Every e-mail that leaves your inbox has knowledge that the buyer wants and can leverage with other vendors in order to better understand your industry and how you work.  Your time is money. However, as a sales person, if you know what you’re doing, your e-mails are worth even more than you think. Business intelligence is a big industry, as good knowledge is hard to come by. As a sales professional, don’t be the one that gives the information out gratis.


Some Mental Exercises To Help You Determine Who Is A Real Decision Maker Without Asking:


A great way to tell whether you are speaking to the decision maker in any selling situation is to simply listen to the individual speak, then gauge his or her knowledge about their industry and business, in general.


Then ask yourself whether they are confident in themselves in a genuine way. They say the meek shall inherent the earth, however they will fight for 2nd place with the over-arrogant. Beware: people who hype themselves up too much do so because their accomplishments cannot do it for them.


If you find someone who has very in-depth knowledge and is confident (not arrogant) in their knowledge as a business professional, you can rest assured that they are a decision-maker. Every now and again, there are exceptions and they usually come in the form of a disgruntled business expert who is stuck in a bureaucracy and, despite his or her expertise, can’t get ahead. Then, you might know so little that you can’t tell your own kind.


Listen to the individual and also, since you should get to know the people whom you call clients, ask them their past history or simply look it up on LinkedIn. If they spent years in a huge corporate structure as top management you can almost always bet that that individual is in an empowered decision maker within their organisation, because people leave big companies many times for the increase in responsibility.


 When it comes to learning sales, the learning aspect is always continuous. The moment you stop is the moment someone else continues and wins.

You can read all of Ken Sundheim’s articles at his blog.  Ken is the President of KAS Placement Sales Recruitment 

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