When we think of creative minds, we think of artists. Successful salespeople do not get the credit they deserve on the level of creativity they possess and exercise each day. The people who are at the top of their game are thinking out of the box. They are searching for creative ways to achieve their goals and close the deal. There is an art to selling that involves understanding the needs and desires of others. This requires patience, focus and consistency. In any market place, this also requires creativity. In order to stand out in front of the competition, salespeople need to be authentically creative in their strategy by tapping into their intuition.
This can be accomplished through the mindfulness we gain from mediation. In any creative field, mindfulness requires that the person become an observer seeking color, shape, design, smell and memories, to name a few. We gain a deeper understanding of people, places and things when we take time to observe. In these observations we can assess the truth and know how to proceed – and for a salesperson – how to close the deal.
There is another part of selling that goes unnoticed and that is vulnerability. Being vulnerable can lead to stress if not addressed. A yoga practice helps the salesperson process through this and many other emotions that come from the direct result of a fast paced pressure to achieve. More than this, through a yoga practice, we can learn that vulnerability is good and can help us achieve more.
Whether your work title is Salesperson or not, most of us are selling something in our careers. I have outlined 4 exercises I hope you will find helpful in successful selling.
1. Know Your Customer
In the book, Mastery, by Robert Greene, Benjamin Franklin is described as a master in several areas of his life. One area in particular, which I find fascinating, was his assessment of others. In his early adult life, young Franklin was sent to England on behalf of the Governor of Pennsylvania. With the promise of money and employment in England, Franklin soon realized the Governor did not have the means, nor the resources to fulfill the agreement. Penniless and stranded in England, Franklin reflected on other times in his life he had been deceived, vowing never to let this happen again.
Franklin began noting personal facts and personality behaviors during important interactions with others. He would not make any decisions before analyzing the type of person he was dealing with. He learned to assess the person’s actions and not their word. In this way, he could get an honest read on the situation and decide how to proceed. This process is believed to have aided in his success in business and politics – specifically the Treaty of Alliance with France.*
A successful salesperson does this in her/his own way.
Qualifies a lead
Knows what the competition is doing
Asks important questions
Creates a relationship using this information
Closes the deal
2. Know Your Product/Service
In observing the origins of the company that employs you, we can see that one day, long ago, this was a dream to a young woman or man. They built the company, your place of employment, from the ground up to where it is today. By taking a moment, reflecting on the origins of your company, you can find a feeling of gratitude and awe in how consistency and persistence can positively grow a business. You are now part of this business. You are selling more than a product or service, you are selling a dream. Your success in selling offers, not only hope, but evidence that all things are possible.
What are the values of your employer and the product/service you are offering? How can these values be transmitted to your client who is making the purchase? This is the added value that only costs a few moments of your time in contemplation. The product or service being sold is satisfying a need. The sale is honoring that design or concept. The sale is a tangible means of honoring and manifesting something that was once written down on a paper napkin, journal or vision board.
3. Connect the dots
This is a very unique opportunity in the sales process to build a relationship with your client. Let the person know you have been listening. Identify direct points in your client’s mission statement and how they line up with those in your own company. Clearly communicate common threads of purpose for each business. Draw parallels to unite your company with your client’s company and create partnership and establish trust.
There are also indirect needs being met. The support and production staff are able to continue the wonderful work they do. We are honoring the skilled women and men working behind the scenes to offer this product or service. With each paycheck that is handed out, each individual gets to chose what they will do with their money. Is it to pursue a dream? Is it to educate their child?
The successful salesperson does much more than generate revenue for a company. They develop unique creative strategies to achieve their goals. These unique talents given them joy and passion for the work they do. Recognizing the non-monetary benefits of their jobs leads to further job fulfillment.
4. Taking Care of Yourself
Notice the first three points are about taking action regarding others. I say all the time in my yoga class,
“We give so much of ourselves in life that we forget to receive.”
As salespeople give, in order to get the sale, many can become stressed and depleted from this daily work. The first point of contemplation is the vulnerability of uniquely being you in this extroverted career. Taking time during the week to honor your vulnerability and the work you do, it is an important way to give back to yourself. The physical practice of yoga allows the yogi to move this energy around their body. Yoga's major point teaches us to breathe through all of this. The inhale is an involuntary response from the body. The exhale is up to us. I find myself, during stressful situations, holding my breath. When I exhale and let it go, I am relaxed and find some clarity. The active breath or pose, followed by a passive breath or pose, allows you to see the ebb and flow of the practice so you see this is also about the ebb and flow of life. Taking action and then stepping back to take care of ourselves is the great part of this Path in Life.
*Greene, Robert. Mastery. New York: Penguin Books, 2012. Print.