People in sales are a special breed. To succeed in sales, some say it takes courage, others say it’s having a thick hide, while others suggest it takes a ‘win at all costs’ attitude. Undoubtedly, there’s a little bit of all of these characteristics in a good seller. Good sellers insist there is an exhilarating buzz from closing the sale. Some say it’s addictive.
What interests me are the lessons from some of the internationally renowned sellers Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins and Tom O’Toole. The small business proprietor should be lining up to listen and learn from the top hands of selling. After all, small business owners are salespeople too.
For years I had heard and read about Zig Ziglar. His ideas on selling are as unforgettable as his name. He pointed out that renowned psychiatrist, Alfred Adler, defined the quality of hope as “the foundation quality of all change”.
The message is to keep your hopes up, never be negative, and keep working on your game. All small business people need to remember those clichés.
How to close the deal
My next question was one that has always bugged me: “Can everybody be taught to close a sale?” Ziglar carefully insisted that everybody can substantially improve the closure strike rate by improving the closure procedure. To sell well, he maintains, you have to do three things:
- Have an intimate knowledge of your product or service
- Have an absolute conviction about the quality of what you’re selling
- Back it all up with persistent hard work.
Don’t forget the three ‘Ps’. Do what you do professionally, politely and pleasantly, as selling is the transference of a feeling.
The Hopkins way
Tom Hopkins is often referred to by salespeople, who have done their homework, in the reverent tones usually reserved for Don Bradman and Mark Spitz. He is hailed as a legend in the selling stakes. He keeps it simple. He advises that you:
- Out-work, out-think and out-service your competition
- Follow up like never before
- Write thank-you notes
- Return phone calls
- Show up on time.
The key to winning in today’s fast-changing world is to become a reliable, dependable and steady partner to the customer. Hopkins knows small business and has devised the best game plans to help them win.
Sales is hard work and don’t get down if you get knockbacks as it’s all part of the game. If you need a recharge, then read articles about people who have been in your shoes, but somehow managed to get on with life and their business and do the most amazing things with both. One such person is Tom O’Toole, one of the most sought after speakers on the speaking circuit and an award-winning business owner.
Ask him to sum up why his business has done so well and O’Toole points to his belief that business success is based on innovation, outstanding product quality and first class customer service. Sounds easy, but most businesses struggle with these basics.
O’Toole’s philosophies are predictably straightforward and are worth at least a read:
- If you wouldn’t buy it, then don’t sell it
- Attitudes are contagious so be positive and let it rub off
- Remember: nothing changes if nothing changes
- If it’s to be, it’s up to me
- Don’t let someone else steal your day
- A goal is just a dream with a date set
- The most important thing about goals is having one.
Everyone in business should be on the lookout for mentors like O’Toole and if you can’t get them in person, get them through a book, magazine or video. But above all, enjoy your day – every day.