Selling ice to an eskimo! Success in telecom sales.

He is a great sales person, he could sell ice to an Eskimo!  Really? Is selling somebody something they don't really need what makes a great sales person? [eskimo 2]

I suspect the 80/20 rule applies to most industries, but I have no doubt it applies to telecom sales professionals.  That is 20% or less of the sales executives in the industry close 80% or more of the deals.  This same elite 20% are also the ones ones who tend to stay with a company or organization for years while the other 80% tend to be job jumpers, moving from company to company, under performing and unfortunately, often leaving a trail of unhappy customers and sales managers along the way.  As a telecom sales professional, I have often thought about what it takes to be successful year in and year out.  As a small business owner, I have often considered how to identify the attributes of top performers during the hiring process.   Hiring a successful sales person or team can drive the growth of your business to new levels. Making the wrong choices can lower both employee and customer morale while draining the two most important assets of any small business, time and money.

After 20 years of selling myself while training, observing, competing against, and partnering with other sales people I believe these very basic ideas are keys to success.

Put the customers needs above your own!  Long term success is not about your need to make a quota or reach an income level. It is about helping people get what they what and consistently bringing value to your customers.

Offer products and services you believe in!  If you were the customer, what would you do?  Are you proposing the combination of products and services you would choose if the tables were reversed?

Be persistent and ask for the order!  If you have put the customers needs first and you believe in your solution, act like it! Help the customer buy and solve their problem.

Manage your most important asset, your time!  Time should be spent developing legitimate prospects, converting them to customers, and maintaining customer relationships.  Legitimate prospects have real input in the decision making process, value your advice, and are willing to provide feedback during the sales process.  Successful sales people know that not every potential deal is a good fit for their offerings and that a certain amount of respect should develop during the sales process.  If the fit is not there, or the respect is not there, they know when to walk away.

Happy selling and hiring!

Richard Hill has worked in the telecommunications field for over 20 years, 15 of those as the President and owner of SafeCall, a Charlotte, NC based company offering business telephone systems, VoIP telephone service, carrier consulting, and voice/data cabling.

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