When you are in sales, it becomes much easier to make the sale when you know what the customer expects from you. Many sales people assume too much and often go about their business without a clue of what the expectation of the customer is. So what is it that customers hope you have:
- Values . . . an unwavering commitment to a clear set of values. Customers admire those who believe strongly in something, and are willing to take a stand for what they believe.
- Credibility . . . the need to connect one’s voice to one’s touch. Why do people believe in some but not in others? Why do some people choose to follow one leader while others reject that person? Which actions sustaing the relationship? Which destroy it? These are tough questions. Finding your voice is absolutely critical to becoming an authentic person. If you can’t find your voice, you’ll end up with a vocabulary that belongs to someone else, mouthing words that are not your own, or mimicking some other person who’s nothing like you at all.
- Uniqueness . . . being truly distinctive. There’s no advantage buying from a company that does exactly the same thing as the one across the street or across town. Only when your customers understand how distinctive you are and how you stand out from the crowd will they stand in line to sign up with you. A good example of this is Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. Think about the last time you were at your local grocery store to buy fish. Do you have that picture in your mind? Probably uneventful, right? Not the case at Pike Place Fish Market. People from all over the world come to this market to see fishmongers throw fish and have fun with customers. It is a truly fun experience to buy fish at Pike Place Fish Market. Just see what I mean by clicking here and see them on live web cam! They are unique — they have reinvented themselves and made a commodity a value offering. What about you? How unique is your offering?
- Proactiveness . . . not waiting to be told what to do. Great salespeople search for chances to make something happen and they instill this in their support team.
- Courage . . . to triumph over adversity. We all have setbacks and defeats. That’s life! However setbacks and defeats are seen by great salespeople and leaders as temporary challenges that can be overcome by will and courage. It is a fierce determination to succeed that is characteristic of those who survive chaos. It is defying the verdict when it appears to be bad to worse. Like Lance Armstrong, six-time winner of The Tour De France, who said, “To be afraid is a priceless education. I thought I knew what fear was, until I heard the words ‘You have cancer.’ Real fear came with an unmistakable sensation: it was as though all my blood started flowing in the wrong direction. My previous fears, fear of not being liked, fear of being laughed at, fear of losing my money, suddenly seemed like small cowardices. Everything now stacked up differently: the anxieties of life — a flat tire, losing my career, a traffic jam — were reprioritized into need versus want, real problem as opposed to minor scare. A bumpy plane ride was just a bumpy plane ride, it wasn’t cancer.” And having what he called “conversations with cancer” he would think about the email he received from a military guy stationed in Asia who also was a fellow cancer patient: “You don’t know it yet, but we’re the lucky ones.” This personally reminded me of Peter Barton (Not Fade Away) also with cancer who wrote: “I began thinking less about what cancer was doing TO me and more about what it was doing FOR me. And I realized something wonderful. Cancer was giving me the opportunity to live more attentively, more wholly in the moment. It was letting me be as free and as focused on the present.” I cannot fathom their journey but they both took adversity and overcame it with courage and will. This is not just a matter of “where there’s a will there’s a way.” This old folk wisdom is only partially correct according to Charles Snyder, a psychologist and researcher. Hope, he has found, “means believing you have both the will and the way to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.” It takes both a will and a way to achieve and to thrive in a volatile and constant changing economic environment. If you have a goal, no matter what the specific goal — you have to work for it. And the more hope you have the more work you put in to get what you want. That’s how courage and action are connected. That’s what it means to surrender and go through adversity rather than avoid it.