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Sales: Are You Playing It Right?

People often look at sales as a war; it’s them against the customer, or it’s them against the other salespeople in the industry. I completely disagree.

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One day, the customers are almost throwing money at you. The next day, it’s hell, and your sales staff couldn’t sell a bag of peanuts to a starving monkey. Is it just happenstance when things are booming (or busting), or is it something else?

People often look at sales as a war; it’s them against the customer, or it’s them against the other salespeople in the industry. I completely disagree.

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Consider this: how many times have you had a boomer of a day, where everything has gone well, and anyone who comes in buys a unit of some kind? It’s like they drop by with their wallet out and open, ready to buy whatever unit your staff suggests. For full retail. With no haggling.

Then, there are other days where every single client coming through the door has their wallet firmly planted deep in his or her pocket or purse, and every part of the process is a painful and a long, drawn out affair.

Now, I’m not talking about a beautiful day in May vs. a horrible overcast day in November, but two days of equal weather and time of year. One day, the customers are almost throwing money at you, and you can do no wrong.

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The next day, it’s hell, and your sales staff couldn’t sell a bag of peanuts to a starving monkey. Is it just happenstance when things are booming (or busting), or is it something else?

What makes the difference? Is it a full moon? Some toxin in the air? A curse set upon your store by vengeful gypsies?

No, it’s not. It’s usually self-induced. It’s an avalanche of events. It often starts with a small thing. The sales manager maybe gets all hyped up and berates a staff that is very much on the ball. Or you get one sales guy who had a fight with his wife, and brings his bad mood to work. Or you get that one difficult customer, and he seems to suck all of the energy out of the showroom. Or you have the sales guy who is always complaining. I myself tend to brood about stupid little things, and let events bring me down.

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Ultimately, I believe that it starts within us. I believe that sales is an inner game, much like sports. In sports, you are
looking for that next goal, or touchdown or running just that little bit faster.

Records are always dropping, because that particular athlete has something a little bit stronger than the last. And ultimately, the difference between two athletes of equal ability is what’s between their ears.

Salespeople are no different; they have an inner game that can work against, or with them. A great salesperson has a great inner game, where nothing will discourage him. Self confidence is high, and all whom he meets are at a disadvantage.

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If we, as managers of our sales crews, want to bring that extra effort out of them, you will have to create an environment where each person is able to have the best inner game of their life. Every day. Sometimes, a staff member will lose a deal, or something was done incorrectly, and it costs you money. Instead of berating, guide him or her. Be the leader and show them the better way. We’ve all seen sales managers who manage through intimidation.

I do not believe that intimidation works. I believe that the team leader should be the one who guides and leads, not the one who offers criticism without suggestions.

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We have to build the confidence, the trust in their abilities, the sunniness of mind that creates sales where there may not be one before. Focus on the right now. Focus on the good. Create an atmosphere where confidence and focus can thrive.

And get rid of the guy who is always complaining. Life is far too short.

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