Today I received a letter from Paul Pease, president of the Pease Group. He shared a letter his father wrote to his sister when she entered the sales field on November 25, 1988. What makes this letter so special is that it contains time-tested sales wisdom that hasn't changed to this day.
Now that you are firmly entrenched in the sales profession, I am submitting the following for you to chew on and digest. I was fortunate enough to work for a man (John A. Sexauer) who was tough, demanding, commanding, and sincere. I worked for him – straight commission – from 1947 to 1979. He had a formula for hiring people, and the formula was reduced to an acronym: AREA.
"A" is for Adaptability – using your talent to rectify errors that occur to the customer through no fault of your own (wrong merchandise shipped, poor quality, or a billing error). The ability to cope personally with the situation, without help from your superiors, is adaptability. While you must be consistent in your selling discipline, you must adapt your selling tactics as times change; experience molds you, and you learn from others. Adaptability on the call and over your career is a prime selling fundamental.
"R" is for responsibility – to yourself, to your company, and to your clientele. "To yourself" is probably the most difficult, since it requires self-discipline. Get up and get out every day. Make commitments (appointments), honor them (show up on time), and offer the customer something of value (to them) that is profitable to your business (sell). "To your company" simply means giving a productive effort for your wages. "To your clientele" is usually reflected by the results of the "to yourself" discipline, because it proves that you are reliable; hence, customer rapport that challenges the competition is established. You can serve a client without being subservient. There is a great distinction between the two: stand 10 feet tall, but remember, you are there to serve and not to surrender.
"E" is for enthusiasm – for which there is no substitute! Without this element, life is an abyss. No salesperson can afford to ignore it. It is the spark that ignites attention faster than any other medium of salesmanship. You cannot expect to sell something unless you are sold on it yourself, hence the reason for genuine sincerity in your presentation. When you have convinced the client that you are providing value, then price becomes secondary.
Like a good cook, add ingredients to boost the flavor, such as consideration and integrity. Consideration is necessary when you are about to close the deal and the client suddenly has an emergency that delays the order. You have to be considerate of the circumstances. Integrity can come only with time – time for the client to judge your character for honesty. Integrity is a priceless ingredient for any transaction. Your word is your bond, and never forget it.
"A" is for ambition – not only for the money, but it certainly does not discount it. Ambition seems to be inherent; either you have it or you don't. It cannot be taught. If it must be taught, then it is no longer ambition but simply obedience to the teacher. Salespeople who lack ambition are merely order takers because they have no spark.
Hope this helps you out. Nothing moves in the entire world until a sale is made. And if the day comes that you think you know it all, shoot yourself.