15 things I have learned about personal selling

  1. Selling is about making a personal, emotional connection that results in a sufficient degree of ‘LIKING’.
  2. Know your offer/ pitch/ proposition.
  3. Articulate it sweetly, easily, convincingly, appealingly. (Being authentically passionate helps a great deal.)
  4. The sale is made within the first 5 minutes. (The rest is just negotiation.)
  5. Don’t confuse making the sale with the negotiation process. (During negotiations the sale has already been made but you can still lose the sale.)
  6. Be aware of all he signals and respond appropriately. (Very hard to do.)
  7. Prepare. (Very easy to do; but am embarrassed to admit I had to learn that.)
  8. Paper, brochures, proposals don’t matter much. (If you need them to clarify your offer, you are in trouble. In later stages of complex products/ services this changes, but by then it is part of the negotiation, not the sale.)
  9. Never leave a meeting without a clear outcome – preferably a signed order, but at the very least clarity about the next step.
  10. Always be in charge of the next step. (You call them, not the other way around. Don’t leave a voicemail that puts the ball in their court.)
  11. If you have to push and bully to get the sale, it is inevitably not worth it in the long run.
  12. Don’t give up – and I mean never. Not until they explicitly tell you to go away. For some reason some people only become comfortable when they feel they have known you for a while.
  13. Stay in touch, even when you have not made the sale. If not, you will have lied about how serious you were about creating a relationship.
  14. Network relentlessly. (Networking is about what you can give, not what you can get.) You never really know where some sales may come from or where some conversations may lead.
  15. Do a little bit of selling every day. Don’t devote whole days to admin or other stuff. Even if you only make 3 phone calls, keep your hand in.

This raises many question of course since none of the above is a surprise or a secret (many, many books would have told me all of that.)

  • Why did I have to learn the hard way?
  • Are only some people genetically predisposed towards not being able to take advice?
  • Can some activities only be acquired through experiential learning?
  • Am I just plain stupid?