Should salespeople be categorized as amateur, professional, or elite?
What is the standard definition of an amateur? Someone who…
- Does not receive a financial incentive to perform?
- Has raw talent?
- Lacks experience?
- Is inconsistent?
What is the definition of a professional? Someone who…
- Receives a financial incentive to perform?
- Has cultivated their raw talent through many hours of practice?
- Has experience and some expertise?
- Has become consistent when competing?
What is the definition of an elite performer? Someone who…
- Has the same attributes and experience as a professional?
- Can perform at the highest level of pressure to win – is a clutch performer?
So, how does this apply to sales? If you are “in” sales, you receive a financial incentive to win. You’re assumed to have talent, but in what – sales? And if you don’t win often, you are inconsistent – but in what, sales? You’re assumed to practice, but what are you practicing – sales?
Think about it. What does a salesperson need to become clutch in? In golf, the more consistent the golfer is with his swing when striking the ball, the more he will win. In soccer, the more consistent the player is with controlling and striking the ball, the more she will score and help her team win. So, what should a salesperson become consistent in?
What is the one skill that combines all the experiences of winning a sale – trust, rapport, listening, learning, asking questions, and expressing opinions? It’s your conversations. Conversations are to sales what a swing is to golf, a ball strike is to soccer, and playing a note is to a musician – they are the backbone of your performance.
If you are truly “all in” sales, you should become consistent and clutch with your conversations. But here’s the thing – the type of conversations you’re having probably don’t lend themselves to being consistent or clutch. Why? Your current conversations are pursued and constructed to position your technology and expertise in hopes that the prospect recognizes their value. These are sales conversations. However, your prospects don’t make a sales decision. They make a change decision. The real skill, then, is in helping your prospects debate and evaluate change. Maybe it’s time your conversations start aligning with what your prospects have to do – debate the uncertainty of change, vs what you want them to do – agree to hire you?
Thought, being elite is not predicated on you knowing your technical shit, or having years of experience. You are sales elite when you are able to help another human being evaluate, debate, and embrace the uncertainty and unpredictability of making a change – whether it includes you or not.