When I first started out in my sales career at 14 years old selling car cleaning services, I could never have realized how far it would take me or the amazing things it would allow me to do. Without realizing, those early experiences knocking on the doors of strangers taught me that initiative and tenacity pays off. In a short period, I built up a considerable business and had to bring a friend on board to help!
On reflection, this experience albeit short lived, taught me so much about selling. As soon as that door opened I had seconds to evaluate the person in front of me and adjust my short sales pitch to suit. I soon realized that 98 per cent of people buy on emotion. Most sales are won or lost before the initial handshake even takes place and in order to win anyone to your cause, you must first earn their trust.
Today, though my product line is considerably different and sold into the corporate market, my initial approach is no different. I have seconds when I get a prospective client on the phone or engaged via an email to grab their attention and make my pitch worthy of a few minutes of their valuable time.
Prospecting is without doubt the most important sales skill of all and one that so many sales people either don't have, or don't know how to improve. I have always loved the beginning process, and even though I now manage a growing team of sales professionals, I find it very hard not to stay involved at the grass roots of the sale.
I've never been scared to seek advice from the experts. In turn, I have worked with some amazing sales people and I have learned from every one of them. However a tip from my Mum many years ago; "Hunt the elephant, leave stamping on ants to others," has formed the basis of my sales career.
These few powerful words are my daily mantra as over the years I have learned that it takes just as much effort, often more, to pursue and win a small client as it does a large one. Chasing single small orders time and time again is time consuming. It's far more effective to find customers who will buy from you time and time again and providing they are looked after correctly, will continue many years into the future. After all, sales isn't just about closing deals, it's about building relationships.
In 2004, when my team and I first started as a re-seller of Burgopak (www.burgopak.com) in Australia, I didn't waste any time looking for small orders. I went straight to the big companies. Within six months we had won Vodafone and in the first year they spent more than $2million with us. Over the next few years I pursued and won their business in New Zealand, UK, Turkey, USA and Spain and in total, sold Burgopak over 35 million boxes.
My company bpak360 has now become the primary distributor for the patented SIM card packaging Burgopak manufactures, within the UK, USA and Australia.
For many ambitious young executives trying to make it in sales, the old adage, "The strength of an empty canvas crushes us from ever painting a masterpiece" rings true - their main barrier to success is their fear of failure. However, if you believe in yourself and believe in the end goal - the elephant, you will find the fortitude to start somewhere.