12th February 2009

Sales are King - not the salespeople, but the customer

What business owners need from salespeople is more of their first name: SALES.

Salespeople are not kings - they just think they are. Primarily stemming from the quote, "Nothing happens until a sale is made." While this is a partially accurate statement, there's a lot of preparation before the sale, it's a lot of work to deliver the sale, and there's a lot of work after the sale that others on the team have to make happen in order for the sale to take place, and keep reoccurring.

Think of a chess board. Which piece are salespeople? Salespeople are every piece BUT the king.

Like any chess master, salespeople have to be versatile, think three moves in advance, and watch out for the competition. They have to be willing to make bold moves within a certain time limit, know when to strike, and when to play defense - especially when the king is exposed.

In order to win the match for supremacy, salespeople have to study the game and, when playing, concentrate on each single move and opportunity. Not just gambits, but strategy, and psychology. Winners study and practice. Winners love to play the game. Winners are passionate players. Winners play to win, and are focused on every move whether they make it, or the competition makes it.

And whether they are wiling to admit it or not, they are also painfully aware of the potential consequences of every move. Including losing your king.

Ever play chess against someone good? Pretty scary. Hopefully it's not your competition.

Ever play "sales" against someone good? It IS your competition.

Have you prepared for the game? Do you have a strategy to win? Do you know who you are playing against? Do you have an opening move? How confident are you that you'll win? Do you have alternate moves? How many gambits do you have at your disposal? Are you willing to risk the consequences of your moves in order to get the king?

Every great salesperson was once a beginner. Think about your beginnings. You were a lot of things, and wore a lot of hats. One of them was not king. You were enthusiastic, eager to learn, willing, and humble. You were open to new ideas. Your mind was a sponge for all kinds of knowledge and information. I hope it's still that way. Or has a small amount of success changed your ways? Don't worry about your title, just keep doing it like it was your first day, and make a ton of sales.

KING WHO? The reality is you'd better know who the REAL king is: Your existing and prospective customers.

Like a king on the chessboard, they can only move slowly, one space at a time, and must be protected at all costs. Every player, every salesman, must know the king's presence and what his options are for survival.

Best regards
Iain Pepper


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Iain Pepper
Head of Lending

Iain Pepper is a Vice-President and the Head of Lending for the La Trobe Group.Read full profile here.

La Trobe is one of Australia's leading independent specialist mortgage Financiers. Its business includes residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, and investment services operating one of Australia's largest Mortgage Funds under AFSL 222213. It employs over 145 staff and has raised over AUD$10Billion to assist over 100,000 customers since inception in 1952.

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