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What's the magic secret?

I've just been thrown out of a dream job because I couldn't sell anything.

I don't mind cold calling, in fact I like it. I'm pretty good with product features but am no helpdesk brain. I have no ego. I listen to the person I'm talking with and quickly model their speech tempo. I ask people what we need to do to close the deal. My philosophy is that is there's a jerk in this conversation, it won't be me. I speak to people as if they were friends. I articulate. I am careful not to blab at length. I do everything that I ever heard or read that I should do.

And I can't sell anything.

What's the secret? - by Dr Why
Sometimes being the nice guy isn't going to get you where you want to be. This is especially true in sales. That doesn't mean that you have to be a total jerk, though there are very successful sales people that behave that way.

If you really want to be in sales, look at this job loss as a test to see if you really want to do this. If you do, you'll start doing the "heavy lifting." That is taking sales seminars, reading the articles posted on SalesPractice.com, etc. Buying books on selling and reading them. The magic dust is a result of learning. You can do it the easy way, by learning from those that came before you, or you can do it the hard way by reinventing the wheel through trial and error.

Your choice. Good luck with all of this.

Greg - by gstebbins
Dr W, that's a difficult question without knowing more about you. So let me ask you this: Why do you think you haven't been able to sell? Do you have any clues? Have you gotten any feedback from managers or mentors or prospects? Please share... - by Skip Anderson
Skip, the whole idea here is that I don't have a clue.

I know for sure that I can't do 40-50 calls a day and fill out from two to five forms for each call. And answer product questions and other sundry overhead. By 3pm at that rate I'm in a coma.

I know for sure that I shouldn't spend my time racking up five calls and emails to sexy@yoohoo.com, like management says I should rack up five calls and emails to every lead.

I know for sure that I should take the advice of the teachers in this biz, as evidenced in my original post. In fact I'd sign up for in-person training if I could find someone who could actually evaluate what I do and identify what my specific problem is (not some dummy who is just going to obliviously recite the same basic principles to me as he obliviously recites to everyone else). - by Dr Why
Thanks for the additional info.

I know for sure that I can't do 40-50 calls a day and fill out from two to five forms for each call. And answer product questions and other sundry overhead. By 3pm at that rate I'm in a coma.

I know for sure that I shouldn't spend my time racking up five calls and emails to sexy@yoohoo.com, like management says I should rack up five calls and emails to every lead.
Dr. W, are there others in your company that do what you do? Are others able to do 40-50 calls a day? And fill out the 2-5 forms for each call? And answer product questions? Are they in a coma by 3pm?

Does management's strategy of five calls and emails to every lead work for others? Is there a track record of success with that strategy? Or is this a new strategy?

What degree does your willingness or lack of willingness play into the situation? Are you giving it your best shot? I'm trying to understand if it's just that you hate your job, or hate your boss, or if it's truly impossible for a human being to do what management is asking you to do. Since I don't work in your company, I don't know the answers to those questions, but you might.

What say you?!? - by Skip Anderson
Do others make as many calls? No. I spent whole days leaving messages while others seemed to talk to live humans every time they touched a phone. Does everyone else have to do the paperwork? Yes. Is everyone else in a coma before the day is through? No. There were guys who could demonstrate software online, fill out the forms, and answer IM questions at the same time. They might be doing the New York Times crossword puzzle too for all I know.

I know this: I can't hold up like the others do (I'm not a kid). I liked the job and would have loved it if I were successful. The people around me were great. My boss wasn't real forthcoming with advice "Go sell stuff" but we liked each other.

If the ability to play two fast videogames at once for eight hours every day is required for this job I guess I'll never make it, but maybe I'm just doing it wrong. In fact I know I am.

I am looking for a legit sales trainer...

W - by Dr Why
Do you ask for the order?

A closing question is any question you ask that confirms that you are getting the order. Modeling, being conversational, being likable, all these things are part of being a good sales person but it is super critical that you ASK for the business.

Asking the client what "we have to do" as a general method of seeking information, what is called an open probe or open ended question, is not the same thing as laying it on the line. And, by going for it (the order) you can at least discern why you are not going to get the business (if you were not), the other way you learn nothing and go hungry.

This topic is one that we could spend an hour on ... be honest, did you try to close? If the answer is NOT ENOUGH, you now know why you got too few clients.

It is this honesty that is the beginning ...

And, if you have a little concern about how you are going to learn what you don't know, give me a call, I will teach you how to sell. It would be my pleasure!

Good luck. - by Gold Calling
I think you can sell. I think you can be at the top of your company. Don't give up. There's not a person in sales who has not gone through a "dry spell" and questioned his or hers ability. If you're not afraid of getting on the phone and/or talking with people, then it's just a matter of time before everything comes together. You may not like where your at, so look for other opportunities. Do you have the product that you really want to sell? - by mcaldwell
Before I could make a suggestion I would like to know a few things.

Tell me about the position you just lost.

What type of selling? Telemarketing, Incoming Calls, Outgoing Calls, or Business to Business Personal Selling or Calling People at Home.

Do customer contact you or do you contact them.

What is the product or service you sell.

With this basic information I can begin to offer some advice or possibly ask you a few more questions for clarification.

Have a great day!

Sell4alivn - by Sell4alivn
Goldcalling: I think I do. Everything I ever sold was a technical product and people either needed it or they didn't. Do you have a point? Probably.

MCaldwell: Thanks for the encouragement. Maybe I would be great at something, but that something might not be real promising here in the Rust Belt.

Sell4: It was telemarketing, software, business to business, sales came into the company at $750 to, rarely, $100,000. Great product but competitors were copying it and they had terrific marketing, including talk radio commercials. I was given leads that were, like all leads, mostly not promising -- lots of students fooling around, little kids answering the phone, stuff like that. I called and wrote, called and wrote, called and wrote all day. Wasn't allowed to demonstrate the product, had to tell the prospect to sign up for a demo later. Anyone who used a similar product had a yearly contract with the competitor.

Hence lots of filters but it seemed that others in the company just made a few calls and made a sale; picked up the phone and made a sale.....

I think they were intensely cherry picking the leads, which I did some but not a lot because I was trying to follow the rules and call everyone. If I wasn't supposed to follow the rules, that would be an unfavorable work environment for my temperament. - by Dr Why
I was given leads that were, like all leads, mostly not promising
Are you saying the leads are weak? ybrw;

I've been in a similar situation before. I did some time as an executive recruiter. Basically, I had commitments for both connections and talk time. I had to make as many outbound calls as I need to meet those commitments. There were days where I would make in excess of 120 outbound attempts. Imagine trying to bank 3 hours of talk time when just about everyone you speak to gives you less than two minutes of their time.

In the end, I left the position, despite a great opportunity with a great firm and exceptional colleagues, as I truly wasn't interested in water and wastewater management. It also didn't help that I was calling engineers, selling them on the idea of a better job, only so that I could get their permission to then go out and find them another job (I had to spin it as if I already had a client looking for talent). Felt dishonest, but it took a lot of work to do the job.

In the end, it might not be that you are not cut out as a salesman, rather not cut out for a sales position within that particular organization. Like the Devos video featured on this site from time to time, we are all salesman and we are always selling something; be that a day off work to play golf, an idea or joke among friends.

I'd suggest giving some thought to what you enjoy doing, personally. Look to your hobbies and things that bring you enjoyment. Then see if you can't find a sales position within that industry. As for training, I don't think there would be many people here who would fault you for picking up a copy of "How to Master the Art of Selling" by Tom Hopkins. It's an easy read and there are lots of neat ideas that you can have fun trying in your daily life. (Say, on an interview for another sales position, for example.)

Good luck, Doc. You can do it. - by D.M055
Far be it from me to bitch about leads. Everyone gets the same ones. As I said, "Like all leads..."

Thanks for the advice. I know that when I was talking with engineers, we clicked and it was a lot of fun.....

DW - by Dr Why
Far be it from me to bitch about leads. Everyone gets the same ones. As I said, "Like all leads..."
No worries. I saw a comment on the quality of the leads and I was reminded of Blake reaming the guys in Glengarry Glen Ross (one of my favorite movies ever).

I think it's important to try and change your mind about leads. A lead, even in it's most basic and seemingly worthless incarnation is the difference between approaching someone who might have the most casual interest in your offering and a complete stranger who might not even be remotely interested.

At a minimum, a lead is like the most basic of qualifications on a prospect. Someone did the research before getting that name. Maybe they're in the right area, the right industry, or maybe they filled out a free-information card in passing.

Look at it this way, would you rather "cold call" a list of names provided as leads or just rip a couple pages out of the Yellow Book and go for broke? I find that a lot of the sales game is perception.

Thanks for the advice. I know that when I was talking with engineers, we clicked and it was a lot of fun.....
I think that having fun at sales makes for a very rewarding day. Hope you can have another go at things. - by D.M055
Hi Doc Why:

I agree with D.MO55. It sounds like you should pursue a sales position in an area that triggers the passions in your life. When you work in an area that you are passionate about it doesn't seem like work...it's more life fun.

Sales can be the hardest, worst paying career in the world. Or it can be the easiest, highest paying career in the world. I wouldn't advise you to give up on sales yet. It's a fantastic way to earn a living. If you love sports perhaps you could work for a sports equipment manufacturer. If you love animals why not look for a position with an animal services company or foods producer. If you love computers you could work in that field. My point is, search for sales positions in the areas of your life that you are passionate about.

Sales basically comes down to 'relationships.' If you can present on the same 'wavelength' as your prospects/customers you will build personal relationships and these people will want to do business with you. It doesn't matter if it's a 5-minute relationship, a 5-week relationship, a 5-month relationship, or one of 5 years. Learn the skills and become a expert in building and maintaining relationships and you will become a highly successful salesperson in any field.

If you have a tuning fork in one end of a room and another one at the other end of the room and you strike one of them the other one will pick up the vibrations and begin to hum at the same vibrational level. When you learn to present to people and 'match' their vibrational level you will build instant relationships.

Good Luck...CoachDoug - by Dougd55
Sales basically comes down to 'relationships.' If you can present on the same 'wavelength' as your prospects/customers you will build personal relationships and these people will want to do business with you. It doesn't matter if it's a 5-minute relationship, a 5-week relationship, a 5-month relationship, or one of 5 years.
Well said, Coach! I agree. - by Skip Anderson
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