|Six Secrets Of Top Sales Performers |
Who better to take career advice from than the top salespeople in the jan/san industry? Here’s a look at SM’s “Top Five” and their individual recipes for sales success:
Be Honest and Sincere
Nothing beats being genuine and truthful when it comes to sales success.
“The first thing to be successful when you first start out is to be honest and sincere with your customers — don’t oversell,” says Norbert Ratajczyk, Chudy Paper, Buffalo, N.Y. For him, trust is apparent when customers turn to him for their inventory control needs. When you gain the trust of customers and they let you handle their inventory completely, they realize that you’ve freed up their employees’ time, and they’ll be less likely to be swayed by the competitor’s lower price.
“It’s not price all the time, it’s the service that you give them,” he says.
Believe In Yourself
Maria Lemus’s can-do attitude has taken her to the top of the selling game.
“I think that’s the biggest thing: knowing what you want, believing in yourself and knowing you can do it,” says Lemus, Waxie Sanitary Supply, Ontario, Calif.
Lemus considers her fellow sales team members to be benchmarks for where she wants to be, performance-wise. “I thought, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’
“Your attitude is 90 percent of your success,” she adds.
Bob Clancy, PCS Industries, Crestwood, Ill., agrees, adding that success requires perseverance. “Never give up,” he says. “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Get The Support You Need
Salespeople just starting out need to be energetic and excited about selling, but realistic about what it will take to succeed, says Mike Watson, JanPak Supply Solutions, Fort Worth, Texas.
“Don’t expect to start off at the top. You have to work hard and seek out advice from those who are successful,” he says.
“You can’t do it yourself, either,” he continues. “You need good people around you. You have to be able to depend on the people you’re working with.”
Clancy offers this advice for salespeople just starting out in the industry:
“It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of prospecting, and just never give up,” he says.
Pete Hammond Jr. says goals are a necessity for any salesperson in the industry. “You have to have goals,” says Hammond, of Kelsan Inc., Knoxville, Tenn. “The most difficult thing in this business or for any sales rep is to avoid complacency.”
Whether you keep them in your wallet, tucked in your planner, or plastered on your desktop, write down your goals and keep them in a place where you can see them every day, Hammond suggests.
Put the Customer First
“I don’t sell them anything they don’t need,” says Hammond. “I don’t show up each week with a different flavor of bowl cleaner. I try to be a consultant to customers instead of just a salesperson.”
This includes listening to their needs. “Learn to be a good listener,” says Hammond. “We make sales calls and we can’t wait to tell our customer all the knowledge that we’ve got and we just don’t hear what they’re saying.”
Lemus says she approaches each customer with an open mind. “I look for the best interests of my customers and have a good and honest relationship,” she says.
These successful salespeople use the training their companies — and suppliers — provide as springboards for success. They say their companies all offer enriching, supportive environments and are generally great places to work. But salespeople must take advantage of those educational offerings — and also go the extra mile on their own.
“You’ve got to be very coachable,” Lemus says. “That’s a big thing. Even being [with Waxie] six years and with the success I’ve had, I always am open minded in learning not only from coworkers and trainers, but also from customers. Be a sponge.” — S.S.