The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
Secrets of a Sales Rep #5 - Knowing When to Stop Selling
The following article was written by Mike Wicks; He is currently a writer and author, but at the beginning of his career he was a professional salesman. He has developed dozens of sales and marketing courses and has provided hundreds of hours of sales and marketing training over the course of his career. He is also an advisor to the Innovation Center of Entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria. "Knowing when to stop selling" is the fifth in a series of articles in which he shares with his readers his secrets to sales success. The fourth "Secrets" article was published in this publication in May 2019.
The first salesperson to train me was a guy called John Abel; he was new to the company too and had actually got the job I'd applied for. The reason I didn't get it was that I was barely eighteen and had zero experience – I was taken on however as a trainee sales rep. Surprising what a good, if rather vague letter and résumé can achieve. The sales manager couldn't believe it when I showed up for the interview, but he was a good sport and interviewed me anyway.
John was middle-aged and a little rough around the edges, but he knew his stuff when it came to selling books to the railway station bookstalls that I mentioned in Secrets of a Sales Rep #3. However, when he introduced himself to new customers, he made me cringe saying, "Hi, my name's John Abel, able by name, able by nature." Amazingly, this seemed to break the ice and customers warmed to him immediately. He was quite hard on me especially when we discovered that he'd gone to school with my father who had punched him on the chin back in the day! What are the odds?
One of the things I learned from John that has stuck with me all these years (and there are a lot of them) was the time he allowed me to make my first sales presentation. For those of you who haven't read about my previous exploits I should explain that I was a trainee salesman for a book publishing house. We used to visit customers regularly to pitch them on our new titles. On this occasion, our lead title was a softcover book titled North Cape, by Joe Poyer which had sold well in hardcover and was expected to be a best seller in paperback.
I had done my homework and knew all about every title I was about to present. I was as confident as an eighteen-year-old can be and when it came to selling this important title to the buyer, I gave it all I had, and the buyer seemed excited. I told her everything I knew about the book, relayed some great tidbits about the story, got her excited about it. I spent more time on our lead title than all the other books put together. When I was finished, she gave me an order for 100 copies. This was a good order – in my mind amazing and I was very excited. As we left the store John turned to me, gave me the keys to his car and told me to wait for him.
When he returned, he reviewed my sales presentation. It was good overall, he said. He was impressed I knew my products and that I was confident. The only trouble he said, was that I had not spotted the buying signals and had talked so much about the Poyer book that the buyer started having second thoughts and although an order for 100 was good it could have been more. He saw the look of disbelief in my eyes so pulled out the order we had just received and showed me that when he went back into the store, he had managed to get the order raised to 250 copies. I was stunned. True story!
He told me that there is a point where a buyer is excited about what you are selling and will make a decision based on emotion; however, at some point, if you talk too long, logic and reason will take over from emotion and the quantity they were considering starts dropping. Take a look at the graphic above and see what I mean.
Where's the Growth?
Whether you are established, growing, or just starting out, it's always worth taking a look at the bigger picture; which industries are growing, and which are lagging behind? Knowing where consumers will be spending their money is always valuable. Ask yourself, is there any way your company can cash in on current and future consumer trends? In this article, we'll take a look at a few of the industries that will experience significant growth over the next few years.
Before we do that, however, let's look at one industry that isn't meeting its growth expectations and that's Cannabis. According to the Financial Post earlier this year, although the market valuation of Canada's top ten cannabis companies was over $43 billion, the industry in total is only predicted to be worth $5 billion by 2021. There are countless reasons for this disparity but suffice to say that if you were considering branching out into this industry, it would be good to know the facts and stats ahead of time.
On a more positive front, which industries are performing well and could offer you opportunities for growth? (Source: score.org; gazelle.ai).
Renewable energy, energy efficiency, green construction, electric cars and more are all booming business areas.
Don't think toys as much as commercial use in areas such as construction (the largest market), agriculture, defence, law enforcement, firefighting and more. This will be a $100 billion worldwide market by 2020.
e-Commerce is not slowing down, it's screaming ahead, so if your company is not trading electronically then consider how you might enter this lucrative market. For instance, online grocery stores are growing at over 20 percent annually. This is a $20 billion market that will experience phenomenal growth in the next decade. In the United States, eCommerce represented almost half of all retail sales growth in 2017 and that figure is increasing annually.
Everything Digital Marketing
As content marketing goes crazy, so the need for people to service the demand rises exponentially. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other methods of ensuring company's get their message out to the online community is a massive growth area.
In 2014, over 6 million Canadians were aged 65 or older, representing 15.6 percent of Canada's population. By 2030—in less than two decades—seniors will number over 9.5 million and make up 23 percent of Canadians. (Source: Government of Canada)
With an aging population the need for assisted living facilities, senior's living communities, and home care is going to rise significantly. Hand in hand with this will be an increased need for health and wellbeing services; everything from chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, dieticians, physical activity programs, homecare and more. The opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs to service the 65+ market are virtually endless.
Everything Cyber Security
Our computers are under attack like never before. The corporate spend on cyber security has more than tripled over the last ten years and can only continue north as threats to data and IT increase and become more sophisticated. According to source.org, "Online fraud detection software is projected to generate $1.78 billion by 2020, up from $817.2 million in 2014 and $48.8 million in 2005." This is a massive industry that offers huge opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Over two-thirds of Gen X's and millennials own a pet, which makes the continued growth of the pet care industry a good bet. In the U.S., Americans spend almost $400 million on toys for their pets! According to IBISWorld, Canadians spend $548 million on grooming and boarding alone, and the company reports, "Demand for pet grooming, boarding, training and walking is at an all-time high due to rising pet ownership, improved disposable income and changing consumer preferences regarding pet care." If you are looking for a new niche in this market, consider pet massage – it is becoming increasingly popular.
The takeaway here is that the more you know about growth industries, the more you can identify opportunities to expand your product lines, your services, or branch out into new business areas and markets, and the more successful your business can become.
Coach's Corner - What's Distracting Us?
"Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what's urgent, learn to focus on what is really important." Stephen R. Covey
We are often reminded of the importance of focus. Focusing on priorities and not being distracted from the task at hand. Distraction seems to be the barrier thrown up to divert our focus; to lead us astray; to inhibit our progress.
What can we do to lessen the distractions that become roadblocks to moving forward? Here are three thoughts to help you direct your focus to the important things whether in your personal or professional life.
Getting motivated. Finding your motivation for whatever you are doing is important. In his book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey writes, "Begin with the end in mind." Having a clear goal and purpose helps direct your actions to focus on the important things. Sometimes a daily reminder of your focus will help you move through your day and achieve what you desire. How do you keep your goal to the forefront?
Getting started and keep it going. Once you have reminded yourself of your goal, you simply need to get started. You will soon discover that whatever the task, and however foreboding it is, once you get started you'll manage to see it through. What you need to do at the outset, however, is minimize or eliminate any distractions that might divert you. To ensure distractions are avoided or at least kept to a minimum, think about the strategies you have employed in the past that worked.
Getting out of your own way. Self-talk is sometimes a deterrent and becomes another distraction. Self-fulfilling prophecies can be seen as either motivators or barriers. You need to learn to shut down those thoughts that get in the way of you achieving success and instead listen to those voices in your head that provide encouragement. How are you getting in the way of achieving your goals and objectives? What are you going to do about it?
"Your results are the product of either personal focus or personal distraction. The choice is yours." - John Di Lemme, Marketing Consultant
Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach
Beaver River Community Futures Development Corporation
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