One of my first jobs was that of a paper boy when I was growing up in Iselin, New Jersey.
I'm thinking I started my first paper route at 12 and did that until 15. At a young age I had to collect money, work for tips and also face complaints.
Thinking back, the best part of the job was that I was able to hop on my bike pedal about 2 miles to my first customer. The job gave me freedom, I was on my own and I learned to interact with good people and rude people at a young age.
Around the age of 17 (in the seventies) or so, I took my first real sales job (kinda) selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. On my first day, I was trained on the features, advantages and benefits. The manager demo'd the Kirby as the state of the art in technology for vacuum cleaners, boy was I impressed! At the end of the day he told us that in order to have continued employment with Kirby, we had to take a demonstrator home and sell a at least one Kirby to our family members at a price of over $300 each! Three hundred bucks in the seventies....was a lot of money. I bought my first car for $150, to the say the least the last thing I wanted to do was squeeze my parents for $300 bucks, I didn't take the demonstrator home and pretty much didn't go back. Sales was not for me.
I'm sure we've all had an experience or two in our sales careers like the ones I had. To tell you all the truth the last job I ever wanted was a sales position, and look how that panned out. At 23 years old I backed in to copier sales in the eighties. Prior to the copier sales I was trained for a good 12 weeks to be a copier technician. At the end of the 12 weeks I got my first copier tech gig and in three months I was brought for a review. The review kinda went like this,
"You've done a great job with taking the copiers apart and not so good at putting them back together, so we have to lay you off". I wasn't shocked since I knew it was the truth, I screwed up more copiers than I repaired.
Thus, in the same breath, as I was being laid off, I was offered a job to sell copiers. It was either take the job at selling copiers or enlist in the Army. Since I was never a good rule follower, I choose to sell copiers. To this day I remember one key question that the owner of the dealership asked me. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a "c" note ($100 bill), he then asked me if I'd like to labor for two days to earn the "c" note or try and talk him out of it. With out hesitation, I stated "I'll try to talk you out of the "c" note With that, I was offered a job selling copiers!
Over the years I've seen many sales people come and go. Most don't make it in our industry because there's too much rejection, endless prospecting, poor work habits and the same monthly grind over and over. But every now and then I'll meet someone that I someone that has that "Natural Born Salesperson" in them. They possess unique skills, such as the ability to communicate with anyone, they are cordial, pleasant, intelligent and able to offer vision to others when they communicate. They are very skilled with projecting a vision of the future to the client as to how their product, and their company is the right path to choose for many years to come.
So, how can the Natural Born Salesperson become the Super Sales Person?
The Super Sales Person that continually hits quota or above, is always prospecting, has the desire, determination and dedication to himself or herself to succeed (win).
Too me, it's all about your work ethic, if you don't have an awesome work ethic you could be the Natural Born Salesperson but you'll never conquer being the Super Sales Person. You may think you have a great work ethic because you're always on time and you work your 40 hours per week. But, ask yourself do you really work 40 hours, I mean, you're at work but does that mean you are spending 40 hours a week prospecting, setting appointments, reading about your products or are you taking personal calls, texting, emailing, taking long lunches or visiting web sites on your BYOD?
The average selling month is 22 days, or 176 hours per month. Every minute that you're not doing something productive in the office or in the field reduces your selling time. When I'm driving to appointments I'm losing selling time, it's safe to say that I'm in the car at least 12 hours a week going to and from appointments. For the month that equates to one week, thus my selling/prospecting days are reduced to 15 days. If I were to chat at the water cooler, or the coffee maker, check my personal email, text or check out my fantasy baseball league every day I could stand to lose another hour a day or 22 hours for the month, which is almost another 3 days that you would lose.
Your time is your most valuable asset when it comes to selling.
In order to be the Super Sales Person you need to have a great work ethic, and understand that sales is not a 9-5 job. When was the last time you picked up a product brochure and read it from front to back, maybe a sales book, and how about the product launch book from the manufacturer, did you ever read it?
Take some pride and out work others. So maybe you're not the best closer or the best sales person at presentations, but you could be if you spend the time and make the effort. There's many reasons that I'm still in sales (I like the freedom that I have because I hit consistent numbers) and I believe that over time I've learned that if I'm not working hard then someone else is going to outwork me and take a sale from me.
There's some quotes that I've remembered over the years such as "the harder I work the luckier I get", "prospect by day and quote by night", and "winners make things happen and losers wait for things to happen".
As to the title of this blog Natural Born Salesperson, I don't consider myself to be a Natural Born Salesperson, I'm just an average sales person with an above average work ethic.