Let’s start with what many may agree with and make the comparison between good soldiering and top selling. Veterans Day in the USA, Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falls on November 11. It may be difficult to totally decide what makes a good soldier, but here a few items to consider:
1. They are on the front lines. Soldiers are on the front lines for their country. Salespeople are on the front line for their companies or themselves in the case of self-employment. Let’s recognize that soldiers may actually die when fighting for their country. Salespeople do not have to lay down their lives, just hold out their hearts.
2. They get regular training. Soldiers get trained in many things including their warrior tasks. A top salesperson invests in training, coaching and other self-improvement. Like a soldier who isn’t trained going into battle, a salesperson that isn’t trained in selling, product and service understanding, and people skills, might as well stay safe in their office because they won’t be prepared.
3. They maintain their equipment. A soldier is responsible for the care and ownership of equipment issued to them. Because top salespeople are not born, this means that the equipment salespeople gain must come through reading, training, or perhaps a bruised ego from an occasional lost sale, and mostly through having customers buy from them! A salesperson’s equipment to maintain and upgrade as needed is their attitude, belief system, character and behaviors.
4. Their profession is described with admirable words like courage and loyalty. Okay – this is really important to understand as this relates to selling. Because many of our own personal experiences as buyers are negative, we have underlying beliefs about the process of selling being manipulative, aggressive, pestering, shady and the list goes on. Soldiers believe the admirable words they hear and that drives their determination. Salespeople must focus on selling experiences that also are admirable. Think of the times when you know customers raved about your honesty, reliability, superior product, and were willing to go beyond what you said you would. You have to believe those words, like a soldier.
5. They believe what they are fighting. Soldiers are always ready to deploy; we know that from hearing any one of them speak in media interviews. Salespeople must have just as strong a belief in what they sell and in themselves. Limiting beliefs, low self-confidence, procrastination, or getting caught in a sales slump can keep you from the very people who want what you have to offer. Why would a salesperson not fight to help their customer?
6. They put service before self. Soldiers are on the front lines with a belief in something bigger than themselves. If salespeople what to put service before self, reflect on the true value of what your product or service does for the customer! Let go of what will happen for you with increased commissions, more awards and greater recognition by your peers. Keep the value, the benefit, of what your product and service can do for your customer above yourself. It will give you the strength you need when you want to procrastinate on the cold call or follow up or any other sales piece.
There is a United States National Salesperson Day – the first Friday of March that recognizes professional salespeople. There’s time in between Veterans Day and that holiday to think about and act on the similarity between the soldier and the salesperson. And why do so? If you want the results of good selling to be like the results of good soldiers, then actions are important. Certainly there is no absolute, no concrete quality of good soldiering. There are, however, good soldiers and top salespeople.
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