This week’s blog is from our Commercial Director, Geoff Slaughter.

I have been in the sales business for a long time, some might say too long. During that time, I have learned many lessons, some good, some bad, some trivial and some fundamental to being successful in business. One thing that is always debated by sales ‘specialists’ is, what is the key to success?

In my early career I would read and absorb any material that might have given me the answer, or at least made the painful job of finding a prospect and then converting them to a customer, easier. Most of that material was written by Americans and came from the likes of Zig Zigglar and Tom Hopkins. For the British palate, some of their ideas were a little hard to digest, but without doubt, those guys had the ability to motivate and hold you with their stories…to make you the promise of greatness.

I liked what they said and often, one of their quotes would make me stop and think. One of my favourites is by Zig Zigglar, he said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”. After reading it a few times, it made perfect sense, if I could help my customer get what they want, whether that is as basic as a better service, or to save money, or to be more efficient, or more likely a combination of all of those things, I would then be successful myself. It’s not about me, it’s about them.

My whole sales career has been built upon putting the customer first, about listening to what they want and about understanding how best to deliver what they are looking for. But that is only part of being a successful sales professional.

It isn’t just giving the customer what they want. It isn’t even about delivering on my promises or giving my customer the best deal.  There’s another secret that is more powerful than all of the other lessons I have learned. This secret is more powerful for several reasons. Firstly, even if you are new to sales and haven’t fully developed your skills, it will still help you to be successful. Next, it will give you the ability to meet your potential, to be motivated on a day when you feel down, or to set an example to your colleagues and be the ‘Star’ of the team. 

What is the secret…the secret is simply to do it NOW. It cannot be stressed enough, if you just get on with taking action now, you will be more successful, guaranteed. Sound simple doesn’t it? You’d be amazed at how many professional sales people spend their days procrastinating, reading through their list of prospects, sorting them into alphabetical order or size of account; anything to avoid making that call.

I have had the pleasure of working with and managing, some fantastic salespeople. Some of whom have earned fortunes and been the most successful of their generation in multinational sales forces. Some have been highly educated, some have not. Some have been from a humble background; others have come from families that were comfortable. Many are happily married with a strong relationship supporting them and yet others are single and happy to dedicate long hours to their career. But, the one thing they had in common, they did it now! 

So, if you want to succeed in business, at whatever your level, regardless of experience, when you have finished reading this…do it now!