Last time we spoke of many attributes of a salesperson’s mindset, knowing that before a salesperson goes out to meet a customer or prospect, they need to be in top-state. These tips are universal, but were added here to help those interested in working in sales positions while they are in Japan. Special thanks to David Sweet, Senior Manager at Specialized Group K.K. For putting together the list.
The desire to succeed.
You should always be prepared to go the extra mile for your customer. This may be extra administration or putting in extra hours to complete the job. The best salespeople, like the best athletes, move beyond required action and into the exceptional, whether going through sales training, putting added information in the database, or making more sales calls — they take the one extra step others ignored, forgot or neglected. Sometimes, but not always, this equates to more hours of work. But what I’ve noticed is that it is just a mind set that goes for the throat win: the desire to be #1.
After this, I look for salespeople who never say die. Their sheer willpower helps push through what seem like impossible sales situations. They don’t “hope” for a sale to happen, they “expect” it to. This self-fulfilling expectation, or determination and tenacity, create consistent sales. You may confuse this with pushy, but I don’t think this is it at all, though it is often mistaken for aggression. I’ve also seen inexperienced sales people who didn’t know better, did what they were told, trusted in what they were told, and in the end, expected success and got it! Like a child, they just expected something to happen and it did! We call it beginners luck.
Experience can sometimes destroy this belief and expectation. After years of experience, we again learn that determination can take the place of naivety. Those are the players you want around you to help you drive forward, and use as a model to help you succeed. Another key area that I have found with brilliant salespeople and their mindset is that they are responsible and see themselves driving their environment rather than the environment controlling them. Rather then blame, a salesperson will search for solutions. They don’t blame a poor market, bad customers or natural disasters.
Great salespeople see what is in their power to change and are responsible for making things happen. They drive; they are not driven. Salespeople that continuously succeed, continuously learn. Though pictured as aggressive, go-getters, the best salespeople desire to improve themselves. Not all action, they stop and take time to read and improve themselves. They listen to others and what they have to say. They observe what goes on around them and put into practice what they see working with others. Curious to understand their customers’ needs, they turn to their customers and ask them how they do what they do. They continually look at their product and service to understand how their customers need and use the product or service. Books, podcasts, seminars, classes, and training are a regular part of their regime.
I also find that this continuous improvement includes physical as well as mental. Energy comes from physical well-being. As we learned in school, things in motion tend to stay in motion. After all, the physical fuels the mental. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness will really help you grow as a salesperson. There are two belief systems I often hear: First, “play to your strengths.” Second, “improve your weaknesses.” I think somewhere in the middle is more accurate.
I definitely believe you should know your strengths and always use them as a sales person. If you are excellent at cold calling and business development, then you use this to open as many doors as you can. If you’re weak on closing, and it’s a weakness, you need to learn this element and master it. However, you may oftentimes find that you can combine the two. For example, ask yourself, “How can I build business development into my closing?” If you are weak on administration, ask yourself, “How will administration build on my cold calling?” You’ll soon find that your strengths will absorb your weaknesses, and the barriers that you once placed around them were false. This is our next round. Next time we will complete the list and then discuss how to implement them.