Sales is a mindset
Peter Koijen from in2motivation, an Amsterdam-based motivational training company, discusses the sales mindset.
"Sell me this pen!" was the first thing I was asked to do in a job interview I did a long time ago. Of course, this was intended to test my sales skills. I got the job, though I failed at this particular task.
Over the last 20 years, tasks such as this have been set in interviews by dozens of sales managers. We still write, talk and train in "sales", and still ask candidates the same questions for sales positions.
Did we not learn anything else about sales? Do we still believe that sales is not for everyone? Do we still think that there is such a thing as "sales people"?
How mindset can make a difference
Much has already been written about the subject. There are a lot of different sales models available, attempting to provide a company's sales department with the "right" way to sell and the magical tools to make the sales figures grow.
Yet, while we see a lot of companies investing in "tips-training" (training that only gives tips or advice), we don't see many companies with an experience in sales that persists over time. Why is that?
The answer is easy. Models oversee one important element in sales, namely mindset. Mindset is the way you use your mind before, during and after sales. Mindset is the way you believe and create beliefs: beliefs about yourself, about your product, about the market, about your client, and about the thoughts you have about all of this.
Mindset is literally how you set your mind, and metaphorically how your mind is set. Mindset can make the difference between a good and an excellent sales professional. Mindset determines how you deal with victory and how you deal with defeat.
Sales is like a top sport. It is a profession that you will master by mastering all the elements. And mastering doesn't only mean following some 3-, 4-, 5- or 7-step process. It means really putting your heart and mind into your profession.
Mindset: perception, trust and passion
I would like to give you three examples of mindset: one about perception, one about trust, and one about passion:
The first example is about how sales is perceived. Sales is not about sales. Too many sales professionals focus on selling. People don't like to be sold to; they like to buy, which is a different thing.
We know that people don't buy products, but the sensations, feelings and emotions they are going to experience once they have bought the products. So, how can you sell to your client if you don't know what these sensations, feelings and emotions are?
Sales is about buying. It’s about finding out why people buy in your market. Why do your clients buy products from your company and what is your relationship with them?
Focusing on the client means not thinking in a classical 1970s solution-based way or even in a more modern “value-selling” or “consultative” way. It is being very interested in the needs of your clients and their motivations for buying.
Because when you have a great product or service, a great relationship, a great price, and clients trust you and your service, they might be interested in buying from you.
The second example is about trust. Sales might have changed over the years; in approach, in markets and in methods, but trust is as important now as it was 100 years ago.
Trust is built on different levels. Trust is built when you know your product. Trust is built when you tell the truth about your product, the delivery times, return policies, etc. Trust is built when you really care about the client and not just about your figures at the end of the month.
Trust is built doing what you say and therefore being congruent by honouring any commitments that you have made. Trust means having an excellent rapport with your client. Because the moment the client really feels you have a rapport, and you think alike, your relationship will be based on trust.
The third example is about passion. Too many sales professionals still believe that sales is about the product. Let’s be very direct; sales is about people and the products they like to buy.
Sales should be a passion: a passion for your clients first of all, a passion for your product or service, a passion for people in general, and a passion for finding out about the needs of others.
When you are curious, you will ask different questions, more questions, and your focus will always be on someone’s needs first.
So, whenever you get asked to "sell me this pen", you don't need to follow a 7-step model or copy the answer from the movie "the Wolf of Wall Street", but you can show real interest in the other person, which they will be able to feel. When you keep doing this, your clients will keep trusting you.
Sales is a mindset
Everyone is in sales. Some have a formal profession in sales. Some are recruited into sales because of past experiences. Some believe that they are great at sales just because they were 10 years ago.
Some people who don’t have a formal profession believe they are not in sales at all. And some believe that sales is only about selling.
Sales is not just sales, it is always more than that! Sales is a mindset.