Professional Salesperson Holiday Season

Now, We have our own holidays to celebrate!

Recently, I saw a list of nationally “recognized days”.  It was in the thousands and almost none of them involved the one skill that every person needs in their life! Selling. 

We are going to fix that today.  It’s long overdue for professional salespeople to have their own dedicated days.

This week, on LinkedIn, I am releasing 5 designated Internationally recognized “Professional Salesperson Holidays”.  

If you would like to see Thursday and Friday, then go to LinkedIn and let’s connect.  My posts are once a week (except for this week).  All are on how to improve your selling skills.

DAY 1: Monday was international “Tear Down the Inner Company Silos Day”

It’s the holiday season and we are all looking forward to family, feasts, and fun. In that spirit, I am bringing you five little-known Sales Professional Holidays. Follow me this week as we celebrate one holiday each day.

On International “Tear Down the Inner Company Silos Day”, salespeople reach out to someone in another department or another product line. If you’re in sales, then celebrate this holiday by visiting or calling someone in production, marketing, tech research, or even accounting. The purpose of that visit is to tear down the silos between you (sales) and them.

We all operate to some extent within our own silos at work. Well today, we change that by reaching out to understand and help build relationships. Remember, this is not a conversation on how they can help you sell better. It’s all about seeking to understand. Start by asking how you can better help them or their department reach their goals.

The best part is that it’s free! No cards to buy, no turkey to cook, and no shopping to do. Just the short time it takes to make a phone call or pay a visit to them in their workspace.

You will be amazed at how it improves the relationships in your immediate network.

Celebrate by Picking up the phone or stopping by and making someone’s day today.

Good luck and let me know how it goes as you reach out and take the first step in “Tearing down the silos”

DAY 2: Tuesday was recognized by salespeople everywhere as “Make A Cold Call Day”

On this day, we do what most salespeople fear the most. They fear this more than asking for the sale. Training, coaching, and speaking with thousands of salespeople over the years, it’s the one skill most often requested.

To celebrate, “Make a Cold Call Day”, all you need is a few seconds of courage to turn the steering wheel. Trust me, it will go better than you think.

How do I know? Each time I am in front of a training workshop, I ask the audience to raise their hand if they ever had a terrible cold calling experience. Not just a “no” or some mean rejection from a busy prospect. I want to know how many of them experienced yelling, overly angry responses, got assaulted or threatened, or had something go so bad that it would hinder ever stopping again.

Guess how many times the group comes up with a horrible experience? that’s right, zero. So, I then let them know that in a room of 25 salespeople with over 250 years of making cold calls, we have zero terrible experiences.

Then I like to ask, how many positive or even neutral cold calls? And of course, the hands go up. My point in all of this is that we fear what most likely will never happen. And every time we let our fear keep us from making the cold call, we miss a chance to open a new relationship in our selling career.

To celebrate, take 10-15 minutes today and make at least one cold call. Dial them up or drop in and introduce yourself. Remember, you are opening a relationship and not closing a sale. You’re not selling anything until you understand their operation. So, take that big stress off of yourself and start with an easy 2-Step Intro…

Step 1. “Hey, I’m Bob from XYZ, and wanted to just stop a few seconds to introduce myself.” (Purpose: you sell to customers like them. You are in the industry. They should at least know you by name)

Step 2: Ask about their history: Everyone loves to talk about their favorite subject (Themselves). Their history of farming or producing livestock. Their history of how they got through tough times in the industry. Now approach their history with your product line (not your products, but your product line).

Final thought: no one cares about you and your products until you take the time to understand them and their business. If you get these two out of order, then your cold calls will be as cold as it is on this wintery day!

DAY 3: Today we celebrate the internationally recognized Professional Salesperson Holiday “Sell More by Listening” Day!

On this special day each year, professional salespeople the world over will simply shut up and listen.  Sorry, that’s too harsh.  They shush up or become quieter and listen more.

We are all told that we need to be better listeners.  Mostly by people who help remind us how many ears versus mouths we have. 

The problem is that very few advice givers ever tell you how to be a better listener. Well, here are 5 ways to be a better listener on this most wonderful day of the year!

  1. SLAP your customer!  No, obviously I don’t mean hit them.  I mean:
    • STOP talking by using any method that works.  Short of putting tape over your mouth, use a rubber band on your wrist, or a big note on your notebook reminding yourself to simply stop talking.  Silence will not kill you or your sale.
    • LISTEN:  When you stop talking, listen to your customer by focusing all attention and eye contact on them.  Quit looking at the field, the crops, the barn full of animals, etc.  Just focus on them and all the body language they are giving off.
    • ASK:  ask better questions.  Reach out to me if this is something you want help with.
    • PAUSE:  Get better at pausing.  After you hear the words and interpret the body language, yell inside your head the word “Pause”.  That helps me as pausing doesn’t come naturally to me.  In that pause, think about what you just heard and saw from your customer.
  2. Take notes:  It shows respect for what they are telling you and your memory is just not that good.  Especially if you are as busy as most salespeople are. 
  3. Tell your customer you want to improve your listening skills:  This may sound strange but it’s very effective.  To prove how effective it might be, imagine you are talking with the salesperson at a business that you frequent a lot.  That salesperson says to you, “Hey, I am always trying to improve my ability to help customers.  One way I am doing that is to be a better listener.  Any advice from me or do you feel like I listen to you?”  After the person is amazed by your honesty, they will most likely give you some great advice.  Make sure you write down that advice!
  4. Tell your manager and your peers.  This is an easy accountability method to ensure you actually improve your listening skills.
  5. Pre-call plan by writing down your critical open-ended questions:  We are all guilty of not listening because we are thinking of the next thing to say.  In a selling situation, most salespeople are struggling to keep the conversation going because they are thinking of the next question or comment to say.  Good, open-ended questions are better prepared in the pre-call plan timeframe.  You are more relaxed and have time to think.  Then, write them down so you don’t have to remember them. 

As we celebrate day 3 of the little-known Sales Professionals Holiday Season, please feel free to share these celebrations with others on your sales team.  Better yet, share them with the vendor salespeople in your life.  Who knows, you might make them a better salesperson to you.  And who doesn’t want a salesperson in their life that actually listens?

Additional Learning: In my LinkedIn post today, I made this promise:

“Like or share this post and I’ll send you the most powerful listening concept used by the FBI, and CIA to be better at listening!”

So go to LinkedIn and click like or better yet share today’s post and I’ll send you one more tip on how to be a better listener!

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