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Successful or Unsuccessful Changes in Employment

There have been a number posts from members lately who had been successful in one type of selling, and then decided to accept a new position in either another industry, or in a position that required another type of selling, and are not now experiencing the same level of success they had previously.

Would anybody want to share stories about how you either successfully--or unsuccessfully--made a transition from one type of selling to a very different type of selling? Or from one industry to a completely different industry? Or from a position that used one selling methodology to another company that required a completely different methodology? Did any of you try a second kind of selling, but because of lack of success, decide to go back to an earlier position or earlier type of selling?

Please share your stories! Thanks. - by Skip Anderson
Well, I personally believe that your personality and skills dictate how well you do in a certain sales field.

Some people can build instant raport but may not have the best follow- up skills. Perhaps these people are better in retail sales or insurance?

Some people may not build instant raport, but can understand complicated issues better. So possibly these people would fare better in capital equipment sales?

So, I'm only three years into sales, but I do feel certain people sell certain things better than someone else. Maybe false expectations are a result of poor sales performance. I would love to sell golf clubs, but I know I'm a better Bto B seller than a Bto C seller. So because of that, I am taking my love of machines and selling them to businesses. - by ScotS
Some people can build instant raport but may not have the best follow- up skills. Perhaps these people are better in retail sales or insurance?

Some people may not build instant raport, but can understand complicated issues better. So possibly these people would fare better in capital equipment sales?
Good point.

Does anybody have any stories from their own lives, or from friends or acquaintances of how someone became successful by switching what they sold? Or became unsuccessful when they switched what they sold? - by Skip Anderson
I've been out there for over 30 years and I can tell you that (in the early years) I would never have gotten outside the "comfort zone".

However, with a number of years under-my-belt, I finally realized that listening skills were at the root of all of the sales processes. It really didn't matter if it was PSS1, PSS2, PSS3, SPIN, Miller Heiman ... whatever! If I was listening to what the customer was sayin, I was always in-the-game.

After selling office equipment for 3M in Ottawa, I moved to Toronto and sold flooring! I stepped into the technology world with Xerox and moved to Apple Computer (in the very early days). Then I went on to sell computer vision technologies to RR's and steel mills. I've sold software for laptops which dialed-in if stolen. Clearly, it wasn't a question of working where I was comfortable. Rahter, I was hungry for sales!

When you actually digest the essence of formal skills-based training for sales, you'll see that it becomes part of your character. Your conversation patterns will change and you'll find yourself able to comfortably ask questions that you found intimidating before: "what projects are currently funded?". Questoins which cut to the chase: "is there anyone else involved in this decision?".

It's not rocket science. You MUST "want to be in sales".

Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
I've been out there for over 30 years and I can tell you that (in the early years) I would never have gotten outside the "comfort zone".

However, with a number of years under-my-belt, I finally realized that listening skills were at the root of all of the sales processes.
Yes, OUT, I agree that listening skills are right up there at or near the top of the list of important selling skills, and I also think that many salespeople think they have excellent listening skills but really don't. - by Skip Anderson
There have been a number posts from members lately who had been successful in one type of selling, and then decided to accept a new position in either another industry, or in a position that required another type of selling, and are not now experiencing the same level of success they had previously.

Would anybody want to share stories about how you either successfully--or unsuccessfully--made a transition from one type of selling to a very different type of selling? Or from one industry to a completely different industry? Or from a position that used one selling methodology to another company that required a completely different methodology? Did any of you try a second kind of selling, but because of lack of success, decide to go back to an earlier position or earlier type of selling?

Please share your stories! Thanks.
I've gone from phone selling to retail selling and covered a number of different products and services.

Due to a combination of factors including:

- Being bisociative
- Analytical
- Serendipity

I've been able to build my sales skill from one job to the next. By reviewing what has happened in prior times helped me further my sales knowledge.

Whenever I've encountered difficulties with management have I seen my sales suffer. I'm now at the stage where I regard any legitimate product or service as salable by anybody so I would suggest for new sales reps to pick a product or service they feel
comfortable with (along with the company they work for) and work
at it to achieve their sales goal(s). - by Wonderboy
Skip, you're bang-on when you say that most SRs think they have good listening skills.

Last year, I standing in the parking lot of a big car dealer in Toronto with one of the new guys on the team (not new to sales). We were reviewing the call and I'd just asked how he thought it went. "... it was good. It's the first time we connected and I believe we established what the company has to offer." We discussed the call further and I asked if there was anything he'd do differently? "... no and I have notes on a number of topics for follow-up so we're well-positioned for the next call."

I asked him, "John, did you get a sense who was talking throughout?" We drilled down on this because I had a point to make: the client referred on a couple of ocassions to certain issues relating to storage (we were in the systems integration business so the topic is our sweet spot). I pointed out that he missed the chance to gain some specific information on these topics which were key to the customer.

He realized in the parking lot that he'd really monopolized the talk-time and acknowledged that he didn't even have these topics in his notes for follow-up.

Listen ... confirm ... probe more!

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Skip, you're bang-on when you say that most SRs think they have good listening skills.

Last year, I standing in the parking lot of a big car dealer in Toronto with one of the new guys on the team (not new to sales). We were reviewing the call and I'd just asked how he thought it went. "... it was good. It's the first time we connected and I believe we established what the company has to offer." We discussed the call further and I asked if there was anything he'd do differently? "... no and I have notes on a number of topics for follow-up so we're well-positioned for the next call."

I asked him, "John, did you get a sense who was talking throughout?" We drilled down on this because I had a point to make: the client referred on a couple of ocassions to certain issues relating to storage (we were in the systems integration business so the topic is our sweet spot). I pointed out that he missed the chance to gain some specific information on these topics which were key to the customer.

He realized in the parking lot that he'd really monopolized the talk-time and acknowledged that he didn't even have these topics in his notes for follow-up.

Listen ... confirm ... probe more!

Pat
A great story, Pat. Despite all that's been written about the importance of listening, the importance of getting the prospect to talk, the importance of not dominating a sales conversation, it continues to be a major challenge for the sales profession.

Your post also illustrates what a good sales manager does if they're a good coach.

Good sales coaches are rare, and whether you, Outsource, do it as a sales manager, or as a sales trainer with your clients, you are to be commended. The reason I do what I do is to make "light bulbs" of understanding go off in the minds of salespeople I'm training or coaching. When that happens it's a beautiful thing.

Skip - by Skip Anderson
I'm now at the stage where I regard any legitimate product or service as salable by anybody so I would suggest for new sales reps to pick a product or service they feel
comfortable with (along with the company they work for) and work
at it to achieve their sales goal(s).
Thoughtful comment, Wonderboy. - by Skip Anderson
i've seen lots of reps come to our business that fail even though they did well in something else before. i think different sales are different. i don't believe everybody is good at all kinds of sales situations. - by BobSales
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