The economy is tough; just ask me, I have lost my job in the last month. I'm now in the world of job seekers and it has opened my eyes to a new approach to sales. I'm selling the ultimate product, myself, and I'm passionate about my product. If I followed the approach of many salespeople, that would be enough, just go out there present myself and make the sale, get the job. Today that just doesn't seem to work. In a bad economy you can't just roll out your resume, collect the interviews, and choose from among the offers that come back. In today's economy, everyone has hundreds of resumes for every sales job, and they get to cull through, pick and choose, and find only the best match. This means, as a job seeker, I have to be smarter. No matter how good my record is, no matter how outstanding my references are, I need to know more than ever to stand out. The same thing should be happening in your sales career.
Many salespeople seem to think that if you know your product inside out and work hard, you're going to be successful, and I believe, at one time, that may have been enough. I had a manager who used to say, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. That as long as you are positive and look straight ahead, you'll succeed. That is one approach, but I'm not sure that it's totally realistic.
I think there is a way to get to a new level. I believe that you need to spend time understanding the climate that you and your customer are operating in. I think you need to be tapped in to social networks, attending local business events, and keeping your ears to the ground. The more you know about the conditions in your environment, the more likely you are to be able to adjust your approach and answer the needs of your customer. Has your competition lost or fired a salesman, has your customer lost competition, or gained new competition? How has the community that your customer interacts with, changed in this economy? The more you know, the better equipped you'll be. You always need to be thinking about your customer and their business, if you take care of them, they'll buy from you. Salesmen need to be problem solvers, your customer is looking for answers, and they are expecting you to be a partner and give them answers that'll help them succeed.
As I write this blog, I'm watching the news and hearing about the rage over the AIG bonuses, and as a taxpayer I'm enraged myself. I feel that the company should never have made the agreements in the manner that they did, they should have been based on the company making a profit based on the employees contribution. I really don't think you can just decide to cancel a contract that was made in good faith, and pull back money that was promised. When you sign up for a job, you are given an agreement and that's the rules of the road. If you want to change the rules in the future, and then let's sit down and negotiate, and if it doesn't meet my needs, then we part company, no harm, no foul. The government is now the majority owner of the company, and they can make any rules that they want going forward, but they need to honor the contracts that were in place. If Congress decides to tax the money away from the people, or pull back the money, we're setting a precedent that could harm us all in the future.
Labels: David Colomb