What was Bruce Lee trying to accomplish when he was studying so many different arts? He would train in Wing Chun, Jujitsu, Kung fu, Aikido, Boxing, Judo, had a collection of over 2000 books on philosophy, studied masters of a variety of martial arts and other subjects. I have been in sales for over 35 years starting out selling door to door to put myself through college and then selling advertising, office products, inventions on QVC, marketing professional athletes and entertainers and now working with companies helping them land national accounts and one thing that has always remained true is that there is no one way to sell. That is exactly what Bruce Lee believed in...there is no one way to fight. He had a statement that embraced this philosophy which was; "Way, is no way". Once you think there is one fighting system or selling system that works for everything you're in trouble. You box yourself in and limit your abilities to grow.
The more exposure you have to a variety of valuable resources and examples the better. We all need mentors and exposure to unique working models in the sales field that we can constantly learn from and apply the strategies to our own way of doing business. We then create our own unique way to sell that works best for who we are and who we're selling. Here are three important ideas to keep in mind that will help you sell it your way:
1. Distance yourself from a pack mentality.
Sometimes you have to take chances on a new idea that might be ridiculed by the group. Ever since we were kids we wanted to be liked by our peers so we wore the same clothes and tried to fit in to the group. If you look at top achievers you will see how they take chances on a belief they have that others say won't work. Remember there is safety in risk and risk in safety.
2. Trust your gut.
There are going to be many situations where after you've spoke to your mentors, done your research and looked at the facts, at the end of the day you're going to have to trust your gut instincts. It's the combination of all your knowledge and experiences directed by your gut feeling that will get you the best results. It will also help you create your own unique selling style that will differentiate you from your competition. Marc Roberts, a successful businessman and master networker says, "The key factor is you have to believe it yourself. If you're selling something you don't believe in you'll never be great at it...you might be good at it, but to achieve your maximum potential you have to believe in what you're selling 100%. The gut feeling is the confidence that what you're selling is the best for your client."
3. Combine your research with bold action.
Going after your goals with a well laid plan doesn't hurt, but it could if you let the planning stage get in the way of taking action. Ross Perot used to say so many companies plan their strategy by doing a ready...ready...ready...aim...aim...aim...and never fire the gun approach. His strategy was ready, fire, aim. He learned more from his actions that helped contribute to the next one in line.
Last month I wrote about Fearless Cold Calling, a program that I take to the field with companies ranging from technology to sustainability. When I introduce the idea to the sales team I usually get eyeballs that roll back in their head. So I tell them I will demonstrate the technique with any top target account they want to approach. Do I get nervous it won't work? Sure...can you imagine telling people you're going to make cold calls on CEO's and owners of large companies and then get thrown out of each one? Well, that never happens and there is always a breakthrough where you end up at a higher level than you would calling from the bottom up. Here is a response from a top rep after making seven cold calls in one morning and having seven successful calls in a row. Here is how we did it:
"Barry Farber was brought into my organization to highlight the "Top Down Selling" strategy. At first there was a skepticism amongst the sales reps. How do we go straight to the top and not "sell" anything and even more ensure we can get close to an appointment...with someone....anyone? We were assigned to make a list of our dream accounts and to find out who the CEO was and a few fun facts about them. After my first visit with Barry all skepticism was GONE. We walked right in asked for the CEO like we knew him for years. When the CEO walked out we discussed his recent interview with Inc. magazine on his personal journey to get the coveted top spot and what he learned during the process. The conversation was effortless pulling challenges that I have faced as an individual starting out in an entrepreneurial type position and how he has overcome most of the same challenges. He was impressed at the research we did and actually thanked us. At the very end of the conversation the CEO asked of course, "and what is it that you do." At that point I gave him my value proposition and his response was oh, you must meet my IT director who is in charge of those decisions. IT WAS BRILLIANT! I have never had to work so little to get an appointment and with the exact person I needed at that. Every stop after that went the same way. Everyone should be taught this in sales 101."
-Jennifer M. Gallagher
Halsey & Griffith