Lisbiz Strategies: How good are your salespeople?

Home Columns Lisbiz Strategies: How good are your salespeople?

July 7/14, 2014; Volume 28/Number 2

By Lisbeth Calandrino

The other day I was talking with a retailer about sales training. I asked him about his sales force.

“Oh, they’re really good,” he said. I asked how much they were selling and he said, “Not enough!” This sounds like the jumbo shrimp salad bit.

There aren’t many amazing salespeople; they are few and far between. What makes them so terrific is their ability to be creative. They see selling as a game where both people win. They also see themselves as having the ability to talk with anyone. But the bottom line is to help the customer get what she needs.

There is a little luncheonette/boutique in my town called Country Trunk. A man called the store and asked the saleswoman on the phone if he had reached Ace Hardware. Instead of saying no, she immediately asked what he was looking for. He told her what he needed, and she replied she had it. He was excited and told her that was great and he would be in to pick it up. She even gave him the oldest line in the sales book: “I only have one left.” He gave her a credit card and the sale was closed. The only problem was she had to tell the customer she wasn’t Ace Hardware. The customer laughed and replied he didn’t care who she was, he was just glad to get the item. Pretty good, huh?

Remarkable salespeople don’t mind going up to bat. Win or lose, they are willing to take a chance. Like a major-league baseball player, they know the only way to shine is to get out and play. They know they can’t hit everything out of the park, but it’s worth a try. You can’t win if you don’t play. Basically, they are resilient. If they don’t hit one out of the park the first time, they replay it in their heads and evaluate what happened. Maybe the result is a change in grip or stance. They learn from trying and being evaluated.

Passion is another trait that is heard to teach. Doesn’t everyone have passion? It’s been said that passion is something you’re born with; if you can apply it to sales, you’re a winner. If you have passion for something it makes it easier to stay connected over the rough spots. I know I feel passionate about yoga. It took me months before I could do many of the poses but feeling the passion helped me get through the learning stage. Every time I learned something new it immediately spurred me to move on. Going to classes helped me learn, and practicing gave me the opportunity to try out my skills. The more I became satisfied with my progress the more I wanted to learn.

I think the most important thing is the desire and willingness to learn. Great salespeople never stop learning; they know times change and, to be successful, they must change. I have found not everyone likes attending classes, but if they go with a goal in mind they are never disappointed. I’m teaching sales training classes this week and I’ve sent out a survey asking people to tell me what they are dying to learn. It certainly will give me something to think about.


Looking to kick up your sales and product knowledge skills a notch? Join me at Mohawk University on July 10 and 11 in Panama City, Fla. Sign up at Don’t forget to send me the questions you’re dying to have answered.

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