As a business owner, you're in sales whether you think so or not. Every day you have to sell yourself -- and your product or service -- to grow your business. If you're not sure you have the personality to succeed in selling, consider these 13 simple rules to create a superstar sales mindset.
1. Stay hungry. Every good salesperson I've ever encountered is driven. They have a strong work ethic and a high energy level. They work harder and longer than their peers. When the economy is poor, they are still out there pounding the pavement, making calls.
2. Never compromise your integrity. I've always believed that telling the truth is the best policy. In business, especially today, it's a must. A few years back, the Forum Corporation in Boston studied 341 salespeople from 11 different companies in five different industries. Their purpose was to determine what separated the top producers from the average producers. When the study was finished, the results were startling. It was not skill, knowledge or charisma that divided the pack. The difference came down to one trait: honesty. When customers trust salespeople, they buy from them.
3. Stay positive. Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. Success is 90 percent mental. You can alter your life by altering your mind. In tough economies, it may not be your fault for being down, but it is certainly your fault for not getting up. You have to be a believer to be an achiever.
4. Be authoritative. Sales superstars know their products backward and forward. They also know their competitors' products and are prepared to point out the differences.
5. Get prepared. I still remember the old Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared." Well, it's true. It takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to produce spectacular results.
6. Mind your reputation. You can't buy a good reputation -- you must earn it. If you don't have a positive reputation, it will be difficult to be successful in whatever you do.
7. Be genuine. I have never known anyone to buy from someone they don't like. Likability matters. Are you genuine? Pleasant? Easy to talk with?
8. Put your best foot forward. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Are you neat and well groomed? Underdressed or overdressed?
9. Set goals. Winners set goals; losers make excuses. Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day. They must be measurable, identifiable, obtainable, specific -- and put them in writing.
10. Become a customer-service fanatic. I've often said the sale begins when the customer says yes. Good salespeople make sure the job gets done on time— and done right. There's one thing no business has enough of: customers. Take care of the customers you've got, and they'll take care of you. You must have a fanatical attention to detail.
11. Remember to listen. You can't learn anything with your mouth open. For too many people, good listening means, "I talk, you listen." Listening is a two- way process. Yes, you need to be heard, but you also need to hear others' ideas, questions and objections. If you talk at people instead of with them, they're not buying in -- they're caving in.
12. Keep it all in perspective. It is impossible to underrate the importance of a sense of humor. When there are inevitable setbacks along the way, learn to laugh about them.
13. Develop a thirst for self-improvement. You don't go to school once for a lifetime. You are in school all your life. Sales superstars are constantly working to become better. They take courses, read books, listen to audiotapes and inhale everything they can to improve.
Bottom Line: A salesperson tells, a good salesperson explains… and a sales superstar demonstrates.
Adapted excerpt from The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World by Harvey Mackay (Portfolio Penguin, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2011).