Should I Quit My Sales Job?

The key to life is to become skillful enough to be able to do rewarding things. – Jim Rohn

The quote is meant to speak to all the new sales people who’ve had a rough couple quarters and are considering throwing in the towel. You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “maybe sales isn’t for me” or you heard someone say “you have to be born to sell” and now you’re starting to believe it. I get it. The year is wrapping up, Q4 is when all the pressure is on and you aren’t seeing the results you’d like.

By challenging the common beliefs about the profession I want to prove to you that sales is for everyone. It doesn’t have to be everyone’s career path but It’s a fundamental skill that is worth your time to acquire, not to mention the ability to drastically improve your quality of life if you take the time to master it.

In University I remember thinking, “this skill isn’t that important, I’ll just start my own company and hire other people that can sell for me”. Turns out it doesn’t work like that. That’s like Steph Curry saying I don’t necessarily have to be a good shooter to be a good captain in the NBA, I’ll just get on a good team and get other people to score.

If you’re looking for examples here are a few people who’ve had humble beginnings in sales:

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The truth is anyone can be good at sales and the best part is it doesn’t even take years of experience or thousands of dollars in training; all it takes is a change in mentality.

When I started I lucked out by being in an environment that let me fail. This was mainly because I was able to quickly learn from my mistakes and try something different until it worked. (And the fact that I was basically getting paid with food stamps). On the way to adding almost a million dollars in ARR to various software companies I heard a lot of genuine fears in regards to selling.

Typically there were three major fallacies or excuses that people who weren’t succeeding or weren’t even willing to give it a shot would come up with. First, people will rationalize that the best salespeople are more charismatic than themselves. If not that then they must be impervious to rejection. If neither of those things then it has to be the fact they have the years of experience and were born with special skills. As a last resort they might even start criticizing the industry as a whole, saying they don’t want to be perceived as a salesperson anyway, by nature those people are deceitful and selfish.

If you were to hear these types of people talking you probably knew they weren’t true but because you didn’t have a better argument or the results to prove otherwise you would end up agreeing.

Let’s uncover the myths.

First, and most importantly, we need to challenge the fundamental definition of what a salesperson represents.

“Great salespeople are not great because they have mastered ‘the close,’ or because they give a dazzling presentation, or because they could shoot holes in any customer objection from fifty paces. Genuinely great salespeople are great because they create a vast and spreading sphere of good will wherever they go. They enrich, enhance and add value to people’s lives. They make people happier. – Bob Burg

Burg’s definition is a good baseline to build an argument that anyone can be good at sales because it’s based on the idea that the modern salesperson isn’t trying to “win” anything, their mission is to helpWhen your mentality shifts from focusing on you and your delivery tactics to helping solve their problems the walls of fear and insecurity around sales should start to crumble.

 

#1 Fallacy:  I’m not charismatic enough.

When you think of the best salespeople you know, the guys that could “sell ice to an eskimo”, what are their unique qualities? You’ll probably quote the classic definition of a salesperson; charismatic, well-spoken, quick-witted etc.

Now think about the last time you had a really good experience buying something. Maybe you bought a tailored suit, or you were buying jewelry for a significant other, maybe even something as simple as the last great restaurant you were at. If you can remember the person that helped you make your decision I’d be willing to bet they didn’t look or talk anything like the image of your ideal salesman.

How can there be such a big difference between the people we idolize and admire as salespeople and those who are excelling in the industry on a daily basis?

It’s in the quality you probably didn’t list to begin with, compassion. Or in other words the way they made you feel.

A successful salesperson relies on gaining a deep understanding of what motivates their buyer rather than making assumptions and trying to “sell” them on something. A common mistake salespeople make is trying to motivate at all. Everyone is already motivated by something, as a salesperson it’s not your job to motivate. It is however your job to find out the desires and dreams your prospect is motivated by and help them achieve those things.

In general, the way to do that would be to ask more questions that start with ‘why’ rather than ‘what’. ‘What’ questions tend to get responses that deal with facts where as when you find out why something is the way it is, usually you start to understand personal motivation. Some examples:

Why did you get into this business in the first place?

Why do you think you’ve been able to have so much success already? Why do you think your company isn’t growing faster?

Why is this an urgent problem for you to solve right now?

Why haven’t you been able to solve it in the past?

When you take interest in people’s lives and their businesses they will open up to you and you can uncover if you can help them solve their problem in the first place.

Fallacy #2  I wouldn’t be able to handle the rejection.

If you are employing what’s already been mentioned and are trying to help people rather than sell them, your rejection rate will instantly go way down. The conversation shifts from “hey you should buy this thing!” to “hey, can I help you solve your company’s problems?” Even that is a misrepresentation of this sales method because you’re never talking at people, you are joining forces to help them.

With that being said there will still be some rejection. Maybe initially you won’t be great at communicating you’re there to help or the potential customer is married to the idea that salespeople are all out to scam him. All I can say to that is if your intentions are in the right place and you stand behind what you’re selling don’t worry about it. The easiest solution to rejection is to have more options. Like Grant Cardone says have so much going on missing any one deal can’t hurt you.

Listen to Grant Cardone, sales training expert, talk about how he thinks about rejection in this short two minute clip.

 

Fallacy #3 I wasn’t born with the skills to sell.

I remember getting my first job out of University and my boss at the time was using the fact I had no “relevant experience” as leverage against me when negotiating my contract. Even though it was true it pissed me off. I didn’t know it at the time but what I did have as leverage was an empathetic mindset. I understood our target market (it happened to be the family business) and even though he was right in saying I had no former sales training or “sales experience” I genuinely wanted to help our customers and try to provide insights where ever possible.

Yes, building skills around the buying process will improve your success but the mindset should remove the fear. Once the fear is gone it’s just two people talking business, finding out where one person might be able to help the other.

 

Here is a brief example of how you move through the buying process with this new sales mentality even if you’re not equipped with expert sales skills:

First. The demo or meeting process is obviously going to be unique to whatever type of product you’re selling but if at all possible give the buyer information they didn’t have access to before. New insights about their business while also solving the immediate problem they came to you for are a perfect combination.

Second. As for the “closing” portion of your sales interaction there are entire books written on this topic. It’s like because this is where people get intimated and avoid it all together, or sometimes worse, start discounting and making promises before they hear any objections. – The single best way to close any sale is to get the buyers criteria up front, summarize it so you both understand the qualification for the sale then when you’re done your presentation ask if he’s seen enough to make a decision. It doesn’t hurt to check in along the way to see if he thinks the product will be able to solve his problem.

Third. Rather than trying to remember “tactics” and closing lines, with this new mentality if you and your prospect both agree your solution will solve their problems you’re just helping him get the solution implemented as fast as possible. I might ask something something as simple as, “It sounds like we both think this is going to be a good fit for your company, how can I help you get going as soon as possible?”

or

“When you’ve made similar purchases in the past what were the next steps that your company would follow?” (assuming you’ve qualified them to have made similar purchases before) There are a million ways you can complete the sale, the only important thing is that you ask for their business. Even if you think the meeting went poorly, ask. Simple as; “{{prospect’s name}}, Are you ready to move forward with this?” You may be preconditioned to thinking that there are some flaws in your product but in the client’s eyes you are making their life way easier even considering the limitations. They may not be ready to move forward which is completely fine, you just need to agree on next steps and do your best to follow whatever process necessary to get the best solution implemented for them.

 

I’m sure there have been times when you went to make big purchases and thought the process was a nightmare. You had to spend so much time researching all the options, weighing the pros and cons etc. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have someone you trusted to walk you through the process and help you make the best decision that addresses the things that motivated you to buy? That’s it, that’s sales.

 

In summary, if you’re at a sales job right now and things aren’t going well, whatever the circumstance, rather than dwelling on how you can “close” more business to help out your situation think about what you can do to help the situation of your clients. Really get to know their problems on a personal level by asking them a lot of ‘why’ questions. Show them solutions to the specific problems they told you about. Make sure that you are on the right track by getting their approval throughout the conversation. Summarize using their own words and ask

 

“Your Income is directly related to your philosophy, not the economy.” – Jim Rohn