Hi John! You recently posted a video explaining why you love selling. How did you get into the sales profession?
I transitioned from an Operations based role to a Sales based role quite early in my career. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious effort to move, but when my previous operations role was carried out, my line manager recognized that my core skills of helping people, listening and an ability to think empathetically weren’t being utilized to the maximum, and he suggested I ‘give sales a go’, as my skills set seemed more suited to a sales role. I’m glad I took the plunge!
What do you think makes a good salesperson?
I believe that a good sales person has the ability to put themselves in the position of the customer, and to keep the customer front and center of the conversation. A good sales person listens and seeks to understand the issues, and is able to recommend solutions that are in the customer’s best interests – rather than simply forcing a solution on a customer, because that solution either is all the sales person has, or it provides the greatest revenue.
A good sales person becomes a trusted advisor to the client, someone who builds rapport, demonstrates a need to help the client succeed, and works with, as opposed to for a client to develop a ‘win-win’ scenario.
You enjoy building relationships and trust with your clients. What are your 3 tips for building trust with clients?
A ‘three-in-one’ answer here! I’ve always built my reputation on one simple mantra: Listen, understand, do.
Listen to the customer, to what they are saying, the issues they are looking to fix, accomplish or avoid.
Understand the issues the client has, so I’m not wasting my and my client’s time by suggesting solutions to the wrong challenge.
Do follow up. Talk is cheap, and making false promises to a client, and not following through leads to an unhappy customer, wasted opportunities and weakening of a sales person’s position.
I firmly believe that by listening, understanding and doing, we gain the trust and respect of the client.
Can you recall a memorable challenge you faced in your sales career? How did you overcome it?
I can’t think of any one challenge, but the most common challenge to any sales person is that of the client suggesting ‘that’s too expensive’ or ‘we can’t afford that’. In my experience, I’ve always sought to sell on benefit and the value – not the cost, making our proposition compelling to the customer, so that by the time the issue of investment is broached, the client is saying ‘we can’t afford not to do this’.
In your video, you state that you are passionate about helping individuals succeed; succeed in being the best they can be. What resources would you recommend for developing sales skills and knowledge?
There is so much resource available to aid learning these days, be that reading material, blog posts, videos or learning – be that classroom based, or online. My recommendation would be to embrace the opportunities, but stay focused – there’s a lot of ‘noise’ in the sales development arena these days, so be sure to utilize the resources that are relevant and current.
Miller Heiman Group is constantly looking to provide solutions to ‘real-world’ issues, that not only improves the sales persons results, but keeps the end customer front and center of the process. Constantly seek to improve. Be curious – whether enjoying the laurels of success or dusting yourself down following a result you weren’t looking for, ask the question ‘how could I have done that better?
Finally, what do you find to be the most rewarding part of working in sales to be?
It’s always nice to make a sale of course, but that’s secondary to seeing a customer achieve the results they strive for, by embracing and trusting in the solutions I have recommended
You can connect with John via LinkedIn.