I think that I have had some at least general success in sales for a few reasons. I do not think I have a “silver tongue” though I’m social. I may not always be the one with the snazziest powerpoint presentation. But in addition to consistent follow up, I feel that the following has helped me in sales:
Don’t be afraid, and just make the call
A Lesson from SPANX and Calling People’s Cell Phones
It is truly amazing what you can accomplish by simply reaching out to someone, whether it is in a business setting or a personal setting. I recently listened to a podcast where Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX, said she was asked by others how she got her product into Neiman Marcus. Her answer? Simple… “I called them.” Check out the episode below, it’s a great conversation.
We as business people and individuals overcomplicate things at times. Reach out, call, email, text, message on LinkedIn, be respectful, but don’t be afraid. Some of my best customers have communicated primarily via text. Also, don’t be afraid to cold call someone’s cell, especially if you have tried other avenues to get ahold of them. Cell phones are people’s main form of communication nowadays, whether at work or home. It’s not weird, it’s business.
Ignore “NO SOLICITING” Signs
I think the best sales advice I have received up to this point in my career came from a gentleman I teamed up with to go on outside calls for the day. It was my first year in an official sales role, and he told me to do the following. I can’t imagine how hindered my sales life would have been thereafter if I had allowed myself to be stopped by these little signs that serve as guidelines. In 5+ years of outside sales, I have been “reminded” by those in the office of the no soliciting sign on the front door only once that I can think of. Was he rude? Yep. Was it awkward? Kind of. Did I survive? You bet. And it made for a good story to tell my coworkers later on.
You never know who you might meet when you begin to break down the mental barriers that prevent you from being bold and ambitious. It’s not always easy. But what is the worst thing that can happen? They don’t answer, simply say no, and you either try again later or move on. Check out my third podcast episode where I talk to my former boss about sales and sales calls. A very interesting conversation with a true sales vet!
When Media Personalities Respond to You on Twitter
In today’s day and age, there are so many ways to reach out to others via technology. On a personal note, yesterday I tweeted (I rarely tweet mind you) at Alexi Lalas, a Fox Sports soccer broadcaster and former professional soccer player. I made a comment about his podcast that I listen to and guess what? He tweeted back at me personally! It’s crazy we live in a world where some random guy with 3 followers (…me) can directly contact a media personality with over 400,000 followers… and actually get a direct response. Granted the response was humorous, and I’m not trying to sell the guy anything, but still. Pretty nuts once you think about it! At what other time in history was that scenario so possible?
So whether in life or in business, for work or for a hobby or for personal reasons…
If there is someone you want to reach out to, THEN DO IT!
And don’t be afraid to be creative in your approach.