By Lance Davis, Primary Intelligence
For the past 25 years I have been actively involved in the honorable profession of selling. I have worked with and next to many talented and successful individuals throughout my career. I have seen what some people would consider individuals with little aptitude in sales become rich beyond their dreams. On the other hand, I have also witnessed the “sales naturals” fall flat on their face and never reach their true potential or leave the profession all together.
Sales is an interesting profession, maybe more than any other. It is a profession that has unlimited focus on training and ever-changing sales techniques all in the attempt (sometimes with more success than not) to push the salesperson to the next level in their career. Many successful processes can be adopted and some techniques can be learned, but that alone will not determine your success as a salesperson.
I see a need for sales training, sales process, and sales techniques, however, I think their success on an individual is a direct result of alignment to the individual participating. In my opinion, there is not one program or approach that is more successful than another. The success really depends on the principles, process, and technique as it relates to, or fits into the natural character and instilled values of the salesperson involved.
What’s Your Unique Selling Point?
Every salesperson is unique. For that matter, every human on earth is unique. That is what makes us special, that is what makes us interesting. I believe our uniqueness is what makes salespeople interesting and successful as well. Gone are the days (or should be) of a uniform sales team where there is one pitch, one system, or one program that fits everyone. Our buyers, prospects, and clients are not all copies of one another. They do not have the same needs, characteristics, or organizational goals. We need to build on and develop our uniqueness and make it a strength in the selling motion.
Tailor your process, techniques, and approach to what is most comfortable to you and what most closely matches your personality.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” ∼ Bruce Lee
You can learn a lot from your mentors and from the training you received throughout your career. Do not try to change yourself to adopt the newest sales technique if it does not match you. Sales boils down to earning the right to have a conversation with your buyer about what is important to them, and then aligning (if possible) your solution to meet their needs.
You cannot expect to have an honest conversation with your prospect, if you build that initial relationship on a “you” that really does not exist. Don’t hide who you really are. Don’t try to mimic the best salesperson in your company. Be yourself! Your client will recognize your genuineness and that is what truly makes salespeople successful.
I could never be exactly like my first sales mentor, Sam, who was wildly successful. Sam was great at wining and dining his clients. He had a personality that was bigger than life it seemed. Sam could carry on a political conversation with anyone he met, and at the same time not offend anyone.
For years I tried to mimic Sam, but I did not have his radiant personality. (Plus I am not that good of a golfer!) Sam’s personality and fun-loving spirit is what drew clients to him. I am not built from the same mold. Yes, I have been known to be fun-loving and enjoyable to be around but those are not my strengths. I am considered to be soft spoken and reserved. My strengths are building trust with the client and analyzing the best solution to address their challenges.
Sam and I shared many of the same sales skills, but some were more dominant in him, and less in me. What it really boiled down to is that we were two completely different individuals with different strengths and weaknesses.
So my advice to you is to play up your strengths and keep refining those strengths. Downplay your weaknesses but learn to overcome them. (To sharpen your skills, check out these recommended sales books.)
You were hired in this position because you stood out as being different from everyone else who applied. Build on that one simple fact and you will not fail.
P.S. Did you know that there are tips that work better for certain salespeople based on their personality types? Check out this infographic from Ghergich and Salesforce Canada discussing the psychological keys to sales success. Knowing these can drastically improve conversions!