I had a typical start in sales. On the first day of my first sales job, I was:

  • shown my desk and my phone
  • introduced to the person to whom I should give my completed order forms
  • handed a catalog of products
  • given a list of crappy clients from the just-fired salesperson who left the desk I was to occupy, and
  • told “good luck”.

I quickly found my way to a Brian Tracy audiobook, and started a long, iterative process called “the school of hard knocks”. Many of the most successful salespeople I know got their degree from HKU (Hard Knocks University), but it is a painful way to go, and the attrition rate is high.

As I wandered through the sales related blogsphere the other evening, I realized how much easier it has become to find professional input about sales since the start of my sales career in the late 1980’s. But I also realized that a salesperson starting out, or a veteran who scrapped their way to success faces the same problem I faced in my first sales job, and a problem I see in many veterans who are successful, but can’t articulate why or how.

What is that problem? For “newbies”, it is information overload. There is too much information to be found. How can there be too much? Easy, if there is no context. Have you tried to figure out Sales 2.0, or investing strategies or anything about which there is a lot of information on the web? You can find plenty of information, but it has no meaning, no context, no framework within which to fit. Your mind becomes a big bowl of quivering jello as you are bombarded with contradicting information that all comes from “experts”; or that makes sense, but in a vacuum. A technique might make sense, but where does it fit into the whole process? Learning several disparate techniques can’t tell you where to start, and how to finish.

And what about the veterans? In the martial arts, there is an expression that practice does not make perfect, but rather permanent. The results of poor practice is hard to reverse. So when our veteran gets a new sales job, can an adjustments that lead to success be made to a new sales environment, or was the success of the last not fully understood, and as such, not transferrable.

These may not seem like the same problem, but they are, and the solution to both dilemmas is the same. As implied above, it is the creation of a sales “context” which provides a framework for “correct practice”. This blog post is getting a bit long, so I’ll conclude next week.

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David