While selling can be considered an individual activity, it also relies heavily on the support of others. You need help from people in multiple areas in order to be successful: operations, accounting, manufacturing, human resources, and especially your customers.
Great salespeople know it’s important to get help from others to ensure their sales success. How do they do it? Great salespeople do simple things to ensure others will be willing to help them when they need help. Here are three simple things you can do to help improve your sales:
Be a reverse gossip
Gossips are people who are always talking about others. I don’t advocate being a gossip. People will wonder if you’re talking about them if you’re talking about others, and that’s not good. But there’s a difference between being a gossip and someone who knows what’s going on. This is what I call a reverse gossip. You are instead a source of good company and business information, which is much better.
How can you be the source of good information? You strategically know enough people in your organization and your business to be able to ask tough questions of them when you need to.
Here’s an example: A company is experiencing change during a reorganization. While most of the employees may be wondering what’s going on, there are a few people who seem to be in the know, and employees will turn to them to find out what’s happening. It’s not like these people are disclosing unauthorized information; they simply know the key people to ask what’s going on.
When these people—or reverse gossips—share what they know, they reduce the stress of other employees during difficult times. Relieved coworkers appreciate reverse gossips who share information, so guess which employees will get help later when they need it?
What happens when you see a problem? Do you approach the person involved and immediately complain? Or even worse, yell at them? I hope not—that would be a recipe for disaster. You should instead assume innocence when you encounter something that’s not quite right.
Start out by pointing out what you’ve observed and then ask questions. For example, you could say, “I see that the report you promised came in late. What happened?” You might be told something that requires your understanding and compassion instead of anger and a rebuke.
Just remember, everyone messes up occasionally. You may need your own forgiveness one day, too. Occasional mistakes should be forgiven. Anger is a dangerous emotion in business—use it sparingly, if at all. And finally, never write an email when you are angry.
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Pay attention to your complaint ratio
There is an art to complaining. Transform a complaint into a suggestion before you speak. Notice that I didn’t say complaint? State facts about the situation without any emotions or emotional words. Your objective should be to focus on the process instead of criticizing the people involved.
You could say: “I noticed deliveries are late nine out of 10 times. Here’s what I think could be improved.” Here you are focusing on the delivery process rather than the person who is late. The key is you don’t want to be perceived as a complainer—people don’t like negative people. Watch your complaint ratio. For every five positive comments you give you’re allowed to make one negative comment.
Think about your sales and the last time you needed help from someone. Did they help you? Maybe it’s time to start acting differently so you will get help the next time you need it.
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