The first lesson in sales

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” -Babe Ruth

By industry standards, a sales professional is often given more perks than the guy who created the product. And it is also something I always wondered, “Shouldn’t the guy who created it, or coded it or compiled it be given an equal amount of incentive like the guy who sold ten units last month?”

In my personal experience, having worked in marketing for an IT firm and then getting into hard core sales with field exposure, I slowly realized why selling the product is as important as creating it. Not to take away the credit from all the creators of the world who are solving our problems every day, but, salesmen are the ones delivering the solutions to the world.

“You can create the fastest car or the smartest computer on the planet but unless it is brought out and sold, it will not make you any money.”

Today, let’s talk about Tom, who has recently started his selling career. Tom, a young ambitious guy with a good personality and above average talking skills thought selling his product, an advertising service, would be as easy as his reply to the ‘Sell me this pen’ during his interview. But he had to learn it the hard way. A month of settling in and three months of cold calling later he learned his first lesson in sales:

“Acceptance of rejection is the name of the game.”

He saw days when he called a hundred people and not even one invited him over for a meeting. He also saw days when he met four people a day but none of them closed. It was frustrating. And because of all the rejection, he slowly started to wear out. Soon, he realized that it was his mind set which was affecting his everyday work and while it wasn’t getting any better, it was only going downhill.

He decided to embrace every rejection he faced and rather than sulking over it, analyze it. He started looking deeper into insights such as competitor presence, cost factor, and the quality of services being offered with respect to industry standards. After understanding these statistics, he went through his memory and notes of all the people he had ever met or even spoken to, to understand the reason.

The manager of company X had told him that his prices were too high while the CEO of start-up Y told him that his services weren’t as good as their competitors. After going through all these reasons, he came to a conclusion that all the faults weren’t his. Yes, he needed to work on his communication and probably his approach, but, he also needed to understand and accept the fact that not everyone will entertain him with utmost priority.

But, he was a tough nut. Also, he believed in the ‘Law of Averages’ by Jim Rohn. Wikipedia states it as

“The law of averages is a layman’s term used to express a belief that outcomes of a random event will “even out” within a small sample.”

According to Jim, the law of averages says that the more you try, the more are the chances of that event occurring. If our Tommy boy here spoke to 50 people with no conversion, got disappointed and stopped, his conversion rate would be 50:0. But, since he did not give up and kept talking to new people, he finally found maybe the 70th person to be his first closure. Now his CR is 70:1. According to the law, this number will only increase.

Hence, acceptance of rejection should fuel your drive, not bring it to a halt.

And the day he realized this fact, he saw a change in his attitude and his approach and within a few weeks, he was already on his way to closing his first deal.