The seasoned salesperson knows where he/she is going and how to get there. It’s typical, however, to those new to the profession to feel insecure. In fact, it’s a good sign. Quoting Socrates, “The beginning of wisdom is recognizing the depth of your ignorance.” As a rookie, the young salesperson does not have a great deal of prior experience on which to develop his approach to a sale. Acknowledging this lack of insight is step one in overcoming the obstacle of inexperience.
Preparation and practice
Let’s look at what makes a great professional. An effective public speaker, for example, achieves success by beginning with a well-developed script. He will continually edit and revise his words to sharpen the message. Then, he will spend countless hours rehearsing his speech until he can say it in his sleep. By the time he is behind the podium he has complete confidence in his prepared remarks and no fear of misspeaking. The same pattern of intense preparation and practice is also true of the professional golfer who is able to make the winning putt, or the NBA star sinking his final shot. These professionals have overcome inexperience by developing the kind of confidence that comes from a practiced approach to their game. Their winning strategy is second nature to them and can be mentally played back at the right time and in the right place, like a tape recording.
4 Elements to a Winning Strategy
What does a sales professional need to develop and practice to overcome the obstacle of inexperience? Here are 4 elements that I consider essential to a winning sales strategy.
- Identify the decision maker(s) carefully and early in the sales cycle
- Determine which results will constitute a win for each decision-maker
- Know and use your personal strengths to create a win
- Find people with prior knowledge of the account and enlist their help in obtaining pertinent information
My advice to the new sales rep is to develop a winning strategy and embed it in your psyche. In that way — like the public speaker, the golfer, or basketball player — when the pressure is on you are able to instantly play the right tape.