Make Yourself Vital
Salespeople, listen up! It’s time to shift…..
to embrace the new and to move towards where we are headed.
Holding on to the hope that things will return to “pre-COVID-19 normal” will render you stuck and you may struggle to catch up. The future is here and it’s time to stop fighting against what is, and go with the flow.
I mean it.
And I’m saying it because you’re my people and I want you to make yourselves vital – not redundant. I want you to be forever employable and desirably so: not just “holding on to your job in fear”…
So, I have a few suggestions for you to consider and act on to make yourself vital:
ONE: Head in the direction of the shift
Not every business is doing it tough. Find out what’s going on in different sectors by reading articles in business magazines online and by watching which sectors are recruiting. Then start a conversation. Be curious. “What are they finding? What changes have they had to make to their approach in order to take advantage of the current state of play? What impact has it had on their teams? Their customers? What do they think the next 6 months looks like for them? What action will they need to take?”
Not so you can get a “sale”, but so you can build industry insight. And the reason that’s important is so that you can make your service and product more relevant now and going forward.
This is why order takers will not survive. Proactive, consultative, interested sales people will.
TWO: Get into action now
Have conversations. There: I said it. Simple, right? Yet some companies have sales people (and I uses that term loosely) who are texting or emailing their customers! Fail. Not reading the room people! If ever there was a time to have an actual conversation it’s NOW. And, not just so you can sell, but to touch base, understand their world, understand how you can support them. Pick up the phone and talk. Listen. Use web based video conferencing tools as your next best alternative to an in person conversation.
But get in touch in person. Not via text. Not via email. Person to person.
THREE: Deepen your capability and your skills
There’s a saying that says: “If you’re not growing, you’re dying” and I guess it’s kind of true. Set yourself a challenge to embark on growing your capability as a sales professional. Read. Listen to podcasts by sales experts. The Advanced Selling Podcast is one I’ve subscribed to for over 10 years. Do your own professional development. Reps who are pleasant brochure deliverers (and let’s be honest: talking all about your business is a verbal catalogue) will not be vital. Sales people who consult will be. The economy needs sales professionals who are resilient, positive, professional, able to find opportunity, nurture it, win it, grow it and keep it. They will understand that they are their own brand and that how they show up everywhere matters. Connection is king and those who connect more deeply will get better results (they always have but with less of it around, these skills are more important than ever)
FOUR: Become willing, embrace the new
Holding on to old ideas especially when they no longer serve you is a kind of insanity! When you become willing to embrace change, there will always be a new benefit there for you to have, and quite often, it’s way better than the old was going to be. Seek and ye shall find. That really means, we find what we go looking for, so be on the front foot to seek out new opportunities to learn, to improve, and take the necessary action. Action drives competence. Action drives confidence. Don’t wait until you feel confident before taking action – it’s the reverse. Take action so often that you build a reserve of confidence.
FIVE: Educate yourself
Get some perspective and think about what this time means for you. What is happening in countries we trade with? How will that impact you and your business? What are the examples you can embrace? What are the examples you can learn from?
While this pandemic isn’t forever, its impact will be felt for a long while to come. What will it mean for the way we socialize? What will it mean for our national economy? What are the trends? What are the new emerging industries? Play it all out: how will that change the way we sell, communicate, interact, play, work, socialize, think even? And what qualities do you need to make these changes an advantage for you?
These are only 5 ways to make yourself vital, but each of them requires action. Get up, get talking and get moving people.
We need you!