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A Salute to Sales People


Here is a long overdue salute to the sales people who work in the retail technology industry. Over the years I’ve had an opportunity to work with many sales people, both good and bad. The one constant is the impact that sales people have on business – whether you are a large or small company. Whether selling a high-profile customer or the first sale in a new market segment, good sales people can make a difference every day of the week.

Interestingly enough, the success of a sales person has no relation to age or years in the business. There are old experienced sales stars and duds along with newbie sales stars and duds. It has to do with a passion for the business, a drive to be the best and empathy for the customer. Here are some best practices I’ve observed from the sales stars.

Sales stars know the playing field.

Here’s an analogy – don’t dress for a hockey game when you’re playing baseball. Know the playing field before you enter the game. I had an opportunity to see a brand new sales person rise to number one in sales the first year on the job. They identified all of the prospects and customers in their territory and then identified the best prospects before calling on the customers. They maximized their selling time by knowing which prospects were in the buying mode before making a direct sales call.

Sales stars sweat the details.

The best product demos are not last-minute presentations. The best demos I have seen go right down to the lighting and what’s on the table in front of the prospect. Most importantly, the sales star is prepared to show the prospect a solution based on their business needs not simply a demonstration of the technology.

Sales stars listen.

There is an old saying from Yogi Berra – “You can observe a lot just by watching” and of course listening to the customer. Get the right picture by conducting your surveys when the customer is busy. Do your restaurant survey on a busy Friday night, not a Monday afternoon.

Sales stars know the industry.

As mentioned above, sales stars sell business solutions based on listening to the customer. To do that, you need to understand the technology, marketplace and the local community. Sales stars are part of their business community; they know the customers, they visit the establishments, and they know the latest business and technology trends. They are a source of knowledge and are constantly collecting new information.

Sales stars use all of the tools.

Today there are many new ways to engage a prospect and maintain communication with your customers. Sales stars use all of the new and established tools to make themselves more efficient and successful. Tweet best practices for your customer community to follow, use QR codes on your business card and don’t forget to knock on doors.

A sales star has a good working relationship with the rest of the staff.

That level of collaboration helps the entire company be successful. They never forget who they work for and balance that with maintaining excellent customer relationships.

Back in my days with DTS, Dan Smith (who was an instructor at NCR’s Sugar Camp prior to his time at DTS) used to say “Selling is simple, not easy.” He was right on target. I’ve only scratched the surface of what it takes to be a sales star. Good sales people take their position seriously and know that they are the first impression a prospect will see from the company and product they represent. So, here’s a salute to all of the sales people who work hard every day to bring in the customers that make their businesses run. Thank you!

One Comment leave one →
  1. 2012/02/02 2:34 pm

    great article! thanks. I especially like selling is simple not easy – genius!

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