In Death of a Salesman, the classic play by Arthur Miller, the story centres on Willy Loman, family breadwinner and failing salesman. His character is unstable, insecure, and self-deluded. He can’t seem to stop revisiting his formerly successful past and simply live in the present, and his inability to adapt to change results in his firing. It’s a sobering lesson for all salespeople; if you can’t keep up with the times, you’ll be left behind.
Sales come in many forms. You can sell a product, a business, information, or even an idea. On the shows like Dragons’ Den, contestants present their products to a panel of investor judges, with hopes of selling their ideas and securing the capital they need to jumpstart their businesses.
Being a salesperson takes confidence and the belief that you’re selling something that’s beneficial to your target audience. When you believe in your service, product, or idea, you work harder to make it a success. You put in the requisite time and effort into researching your marketplace, cultivating relationships with the people who can help you, and continually upgrading your offering. A strong belief in your product goes a long way toward helping you conquer any fear of selling.
Here are some additional strategies you can use:
Learn to Handle Rejection and the Word “No”
Being rejected hurts. In fact, research shows that rejection activates the same brain centres as physical pain. Some people are so afraid of getting rebuffed that they abandon their goals early. But rejection is a fact of life. Successful salespeople are aware that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “never”; it just means that you need to improve your strategy for the next time. Nobody who succeeds in sales gives up easily.
Build Strong and Lasting Relationships
Selling is the successful result of having built strong, mutually-beneficial relationships. When you understand your audience and stay on top of consumer demand, you’ll adjust your sales strategy to generate a positive response from your clients and convince them of the benefits of your product, service, or idea. Focus on establishing and nurturing those relationships, and you’ll find success.
Be Open to Change
Don’t be like Willy Loman; be open to change. Take Blockbuster Video, for example. Once a wildly successful movie-rental business, the company was the clear leader in its market and was at the top of its game but lost out when consumers began to gravitate toward competitors like Netflix. As physical media became a thing of the past, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have replaced the once-venerable Blockbuster, which finds itself a relic of a bygone era. More recently, the taxi industry has been desperately resisting the incursion of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. This is what happens when companies fail to adapt to a changing business environment.
Get Over Your Fear of Failure
Think of rejection as an opportunity to shift your perspective. Stay relevant. Continue to research your market and industry. Build relationships, learn from your mistakes, and keep on selling. If you follow these tips, you’ll find the sales success you want.
Veronica Pang | Contributing Writer