Written by: Nick Sotos
I started in sales in 1993. I sold portion cut meat to hotels, country clubs, banquet halls and other fine dining locations. It was a tough business but as I have found out over the years, every business you get into is a tough business. My first job in the plastics industry was at I. Stern & Company, a plastics broker in New Jersey. That is where I learned and developed the majority of my sales efforts. 5 of the main things I have learned over the years in sales are:
1. Bring your lunch bucket to work
What that means is that sales is not an easy job. As it was explained to me is that sales can be the easiest, lowest paying job or it can be the hardest, highest paying job. You have to do the work every day, making calls, sending emails, following up. I have been doing this job for over 20 years and I still do a lot of prospecting and cold calling.
2. Call with a purpose
When you are making your calls, the last thing you want to do is to waste someone’s time. That is why calling with a purpose is so important. I have always sold a number of different products over the years and when I call a prospect, I know exactly what I am going to talk to them about when they give me the time. You can always shift to other items during the call, but you need a good starting point.
3. Do what you say you are going to do
I know this seems obvious but it bears repeating. You have to do what you say you are going to do and then make sure you do it. Whether it is sending a sample, doing a follow up, getting a cert or anything else……DO IT. The plastics industry is a huge business, but you would be surprised at how small it actually is, meaning everyone seems to know each other.
4. Learn how to say no
A big mistake a lot of salespeople make is that they over promise and under-deliver. This could be avoided if they just knew how to say no. If you or your company can’t do something, let the customer know. This can mean a number of different things like pricing, delivery times, material specs, etc. that might make you uncomfortable and may even jeopardize the sale. Remember you have to do what you say you are going to do. In the long run, the customer will thank you for you honesty.
5. Above all……Be yourself
One thing that I have always found to be true is that people like to help other people, as long as they are genuine. Just be yourself. It will show and the opportunities will follow.
I hope these tips help in making that next sale. As I mentioned, I have been in sales for a long time and I truly believe it is a great profession that can be very rewarding in a number of different ways. I enjoy talking about sales in general and the different approaches that people have to the game. Please feel free to drop me a line and we can talk.