Hi Matt! You recently posted a video (below) explaining why you love selling. How did you get into the sales profession?
I suppose it goes back to when I worked in banking in the 80s and 90s and changes in that industry meant that we were all going to have to learn how to sell.
A lot of people were uncomfortable with that, but I’ve always believed that everybody in every business is selling something and so it’s better to acknowledge that and try to get good at it.
In your video you state that no business was ever done until an initial sale was made. Tell us about the first sale you ever made and what you learned during the process.
I don’t think it was my first, but when I started working for myself in the training business I sold a customer care programme to a medical centre, which was very satisfying, and that went on to go really well.
I learnt that being good at what you do and knowing your product is not enough, you must make a case for someone else to spend their money, which takes you into the realms of understanding customer needs.
What do you think makes a good salesperson?
There’s a lot: being able to establish a rapport, being an expert listener, etc. But the overriding quality I think is resilience; just being able to keep going when it’s inevitable that most people will be telling you, “no thanks”.
You mention that that these days in the business you help individuals learn how to sell better. If you had to share one sales tactic with our readers, what would it be?
“Never give the next move to the customer”.
If you do it gives you that awful situation of having to follow up and ask, “I wonder if you’ve thought any more about xyz?”.
Such calls are purgatory for the salesperson and their customer, so always agree what follow up is needed and take responsibility for it yourself.
Can you recall a memorable challenge you faced in your sales career? How did you overcome it?
I think we’ve all had those pitches where someone asks a question you didn’t see coming in a million years. I have found that an answer of, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” is often the best and certainly the most honest reply.
What resources help you stay in-the-know and develop your sales skills?
We’re lucky that we’re selling sales development if you see what I mean, and Miller Heiman Group have the most amazing set of resources that we can benefit from as well as our customers.
I try to work through our online modules when I get the chance and I’ve just received my own copy of our latest book, Sales Enablement: A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force. It’s a good guide on how to boost revenue and reach quota attainment!
Finally, what do you find to be the most rewarding part of working in sales to be?
Well, again, what we sell develops people and helps them get better results so it’s when they come back and say they tried a technique or used a concept and found that it works. I love that feeling.
You can connect with Matt via LinkedIn.