Don’t be this guy.

Being in sales is a tough gig.  You don’t get “off-days” and you are constantly scrutinized.  It is no wonder that when you get into a slump, it is so terribly difficult to get back on track.  And many times, when you start feeling burned out, you begin to make excuses why you can’t sell – we have all done it.  Excuses like; the economy has changed, my price point is too high, we aren’t getting quality leads, etc.  So salespeople and managers begin to look for ways to drive their business with ideas on how to present their product, closing techniques, or even negotiation tactics.  Many times they forget there is one simple secret to success in business – especially sales.  It is ALWAYS about people.

Give a Shit.

That’s right – Give a Shit Sales or G.A.S.S. This is the one and only tip that doesn’t require any specific training, experience, or strategy.  But it will allow you to create a long-term, sustainable business in ANY industry.  It may sound simplistic, but too often, you can get caught up in the day to day activities that need your attention. How much time do you spend on dissecting your sales process, your pipelines, forecasts, and CRM data to determine how to get that extra percentage?  Stop making excuses why you can’t sell and start thinking about how you can build better connections with your customers, and learn more about yourself in the process.

There are two areas that you should focus your GASS efforts on:

  1. Your customers
  2. Yourself – your own personal development

Give a Shit about Your Customers

How often do you forget what it is like to be a customer?   Think about this.  How many times have you walked into a business and your first interaction was unpleasant?  Why was that?  Did they seem pre-occupied?  Did they seem uninterested?  Were they just really busy and made you feel like an intrusion?  Now think about pleasant interactions you have had.  Do words like attentive, caring, and genuine come to mind?  You need to tap into these emotions to grasp the GASS concept.

In my post about effective listening skills, I talked about the bad habits we all have when it comes to dealing with people such as waiting for your turn to speak and attention somewhere else.  As a salesperson, your most fundamental skill is being present in the moment – being genuine in EVERY interaction.  It is a very tough skill to master because of all of the pressure that surrounds the sales position.  It is difficult to slow things down and really listen when you have your sales manager in the back of your mind telling you that you need this sale.  As soon as you lose sight on that customer interaction you are lost.

People can smell if you are selling to them from a mile away – especially if you are desperate.

To be effective in sales for an extended period of time, you need to build a personal brand that people trust.  It is not about being everyone’s best friend – in fact, don’t do that.  It is about being someone who is sought after for your unique way of understanding your customers’ challenges and providing the BEST solutions to help them solve them.  Focus all your energies on becoming an expert in your industry and not just about your own features and benefits.  Sometimes it is even okay to tell a customer you don’t have the best solution for them.   And maybe it was because I was lazy, but I always liked when potential customers came to me and said, “I hear you are the one that can help me.  Where do I sign?”

“Let no one leave you without being better or happier.” – Mother Teresa

Give a Shit about Your own Personal Development

As soon as you think you know everything – that’s when you should realize that you really know nothing.  Never stop learning.  If you are reading this right now, you possibly have some questions that need answers about how you can sell more.  (Or you just think my writing is awesome)  But this is the first step.  The best sales people are those who constantly improve their skill set.  And many times, the best salespeople are those who are willing to do it on their own dime.  They buy books, they download articles, and they go to workshops and seminars.  They are hungry!

One of the challenges in dealing with sales professionals – especially the best ones, is that ego plays a huge factor in how this message is received.  It is not a comment about your abilities, or your experience or even your attitude.  But it is a necessary conversation that you may need to have with yourself about your situation.  And realize that you are not alone in this.

Over the past five years, the economy has changed, and customers are increasingly more prepared.  According to Neil Rackham, author of Spin Selling, “The average customer today can access 20% more information about you and your competitors than they could five years ago.”  

Purchasing has become much more sophisticated and in turn, requires a more sophisticated sales person.  What are you doing to become more sophisticated?

I have dealt with many veteran salespeople who have gone from superstar to chump in the past five years.  The main reason is that they were not willing to adapt to the changes in the market and embrace new ideas.  I have also seen veteran salespeople who have stayed superstars, because they accepted that they didn’t know everything and embraced new ideas and technology.  They don’t make excuses – they adapt.

One thing remains the same about superstar salespeople.

They Give a Shit.   Do you?

I would love to hear your ideas around this subject, so please feel free to comment!  More to come on the GASS principles later!

Joe Girard
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