• 12th September 2007 - By proteman

    Do you want to become a better salesperson? Go to the training seminars, read motivational books…then spend a little time with a baby.

    Below are four baby characteristics that all great salespeople share. If you’re in sales, see how you measure up against the baby.

    Curiosity

    Babies look at everything with fresh eyes. Unlike most adults, they don’t make assumptions or think they know it all. They’re fascinated by the world around them and how things work.

    Why it matters in sales: Curious salespeople ask good questions – and as a result, uncover information that other less curious salespeople miss. For example, a curious salesperson who hears a customer problem, such as, “Our online sales are down” will naturally ask, “Why are they down?” The less curious salesperson won’t bother to ask why. He hears a problem and immediately jumps in with a sales pitch. (“I’ve got a great product that’ll help you increase your online sales!”). The less curious salesperson appears pushy and the customer backs off.

    Unjaded

    Babies are non-judgmental. They lack the cynicism of jaded adults who, based on bad experience, often take a negative outlook on life.

    Why it matters in sales: Cynicism and negativity are sales killers. That’s why so often new salespeople, fresh out of new hire training, start out like gang-busters. They’re enthusiastic, excited about their new job, and (like babies) haven’t yet been tainted by negativity. They’re eager to apply what they’ve learned in training are excited to make money. They have a winning sales attitude…until some crusty sales manager or veteran salesrep pulls that newbie aside and says, “Forget what you learned in sales training. This is the real world. Let me tell you how things really work.” Over time, the new rep gets infected with cynicism and adopts a jaded outlook. Negative attitudes like, “Customers are cheap” or “My quota is too high” become excuses that kill sales performance.

    Flexible

    Most babies can stick their feet in their mouths. How many adults can do that?

    Why it matters in sales: OK, to be a great salesperson, you don’t need physical flexibility (although being able to stand on your head or shove your fist in your mouth may come in handy when entertaining clients). Personal flexibility, however, is always critical in a consultative sales process. When your sales approach isn’t working, can you bend and adapt? We’ve all gone into a sales call prepared with our proposal, questions or presentation…only to have the rug pulled out from under us by a change in client agenda. (“We’re sorry…did we forget to tell you that the decision maker isn’t able to join us today? And that we only have five minutes instead of an hour?” And that our specs have completely changed since we last talked?”) Great salespeople are flexible enough to go with the flow and bend like a baby.

    Resiliant

    When babies fall down, they get right back up. They don’t quit when they fail. If they did, none of us would ever walk – we’d be forever on our bellies.

    Why it matters in sales: Most salespeople stop calling a prospect after three attempts or follow-up calls. (I’ve followed up with prospects for years before doing any business.) The really great salespeople bounce back quickly and don’t use obstacles as excuses for giving up. Ask yourself, Do you give up quickly when you fall? Do you make excuses why you can’t be successful? Do you blame outside forces – bad clients, bad products, your company, the weather, your internal partners – for your lack of success? Like a baby, when you bump into a wall, dust yourself up and keep going.

    In my next blog post, we’ll look at the baby-like traits that all salespeople should avoid. All whiners and those who work with them in sales should read this!

    © 2007. The Loyalty Group. All Rights Reserved.

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