Sales Success Starts on the Inside

At my company, we are right in the middle of building and developing a new office showroom. To be successful with such an undertaking, you need a great deal of effort from a great number of people. Indeed, the success that I am expecting can be attributed to everyone in our company, because the process directly affects the entire staff. The overall effect on our employees so far has been a positive one, and it's what we're after in the long run.

In fact, what we're experiencing during this transition is positive because of the way our people are perceiving the changes. People who either work for you or with you must be a part of the process to make things successful. Sales success starts inside.

Applying Principles
I believe in all of our people both individually and collectively. If you don't have confidence in the people who work with or for you, you will never enjoy maximum success.

When I teach attitudinal characteristics of business, I always ask eight questions. The first two must be answered "yes" for success.

The first question is "Do you like the company you work for?" Unless employees like the company they work for, their chances for success are limited. If they don't like the company they work for, all they're doing is limiting their opportunity for success and paralyzing the company's ability to be successful.

The next question is "Do you like your job description?" Our culture seems to be full of people who don't like their jobs. How can success be obtained by a person who doesn't like his or her job?

So, the challenge here is this: How can an organization convince its employees that each employee's individual success is reliant on the success of the others? How can a salesperson be successful if the accounting department, the delivery people and the installers aren't?

Success is limited when we operate alone, but limitless when our sales skills are synergized with the other necessary skills operating at a high level. Sales success in the marketplace depends on every employee selling each other on the idea that sales success starts inside an organization.

The success we expect isn't just dependent on the sales/design persons. Success is dependent on every person involved in the process believing in the concept, believing that they are important and that the tasks expected of them need to be performed at the highest level.

Now, how do we accomplish this? Here are some ideas.

  • Sell others in you company on the idea of being successful. Be a mentor and encourage everyone to do it the right way the first time. A major part of this is making sure that people are asked to accomplish tasks they are capable of doing by providing the right training and tools.
  • Adopt the attitude that not only is change possible, it's part of the success process. Therefore, encourage change.
  • Reinforce employees' successes with positive reinforcement. Say "thank you," "I appreciate that," "you did a good job," "you have been excellent help." These are old phrases, but they haven't gone out of style. Often, we are so busy that we forget the fundamentals of positive attitudinal development. As a result, the employee's contributions become expected and go without positive reinforcement. Don't let that happen.
  • Make sure the profits of being successful are fairly distributed among those who create the success. Once everyone believes in success, makes success happen and shares in the benefits of success, you will have developed a power that your competition will be hard-pressed to overcome.

Skillful Design
There are other, more specific ways sales/designers must create their sales success starting on the inside. Possessing or developing selling skills is a must.

I believe that, while you might be a great designer, a great design still has to be sold. I have also found most talented designers have so much passion about their designs that they are pretty good salespeople. On the other hand there are a lot of good salespeople who just haven't learned and developed their design skills. Regardless of which one of these descriptions best fits you, your success begins with developing both your design and sales skills to fit your circumstances.

You also must constantly be acquiring and keeping pace with product and industry knowledge. A major differential between the qualifications of designers/salespeople is knowledge.

I often refer to the "three ring binder comfort level" and the importance it plays in confidence in front of the consumer. I know that, if I understand the manufacturer's information provided in the company's three ring binder when I am working with prospects, my ability to develop value, to be creative and to solve customer needs, my opportunity to close the sale rises. When I don't have this confidence, my ability to earn the business is greatly diminished.

The process of skill development is an inside process. It takes time, and it may require a financial investment but, most of all, it takes an attitude of "I want to learn."

An area often overlooked in creating the success of your job is teamwork, or maybe better put, partnership. The words teamwork and partnership are easy to articulate and are used so often we that tend to believe they exist without our putting our effort into them.

Earlier, I mentioned that our success is dependent on the skills and cooperation of others. Their success is also dependent on how you fit into their lives with your skills and attitude. Make sure you are a contributor to the partnership for success. This requires a conscious effort in making sure that teamwork exists. If you cannot earn a place in the teamwork scheme for success, you will be isolated from the necessary skills to make you successful. In order to earn a spot on your team, you can't be just a taker. In fact, you must invest your contributions first.

Should you want to set yourself apart from your competitor, start on the inside with yourself and your team. Then, your outside appearance will not only attract prospects, it will create customers.