Ten Steps to Professionalism in Sales

professionalism in salesTo demonstrate professionalism in sales, you must truly become dedicated to your craft. A  professional is a person who has dedicated him or herself to a career — regardless of the field. It’s the opposite of an amateur. Professionals also make more money; could there be a relationship behind that fact? You bet. In selling situations, and in life, the way you present yourself plays a big role in how people think of you and how much people pay attention to what you say. A dedicated professional commands more respect than a casual amateur. Always.

Step #1. Your Attitude.  Are you a professional? If so, let everyone know it. If not, maybe that’s why you’re not as successful as you would like to be.

Step #2. Personal Appearance.  Are you really satisfied with your appearance? Grooming is important, good clothing is a must, and how is your health? Shape up your body, and it will shape up your attitude.

Step #3. Business Appearance.  Your customers and clients relate financial success with competence. Does your car communicate financial success? How about your briefcase? Your time planner? Are they well-organized or are they stuffed to the gills with miscellany?

Step #4. Organization.  Customers relate organization to competency. Organization is recognized as being on time, having a neat desk, being ready with the answers, and diligent follow-up. All of these things tell your future clients that you are a person worthy of their confidence and the confidence of their friends.

Step #5. Talk Like a Pro. Avoid shop talk. Some people think that using all kinds of fancy terms means that they’re experts. A real expert can explain a complex, technological process in plain English. So ask questions. Choose your words carefully. And plan your presentation from the future client’s point of view.

Step #6. Stay in Tune. Ours is a changing profession. Pushy, obnoxious sales people are gone along with the less competent. People demand excellence from sales people, and reward that excellence with referral after referral. Devote a regular part of your week to learning new skills and sharpening existing ones.

Step #7. Respect Your Fellow Sales People.  They have the same challenges as you do. They deserve the same credit and recognition when successful, and the same help and encouragement when faltering. Everyone wins when the team gets stronger.

Step #8. Remember Your Family and Friends. They want a high quality relationship, too. Plan time for family and social needs.  This will assure you of their understanding and support when business takes you away evenings and weekends.

Step #9. See The People.  There are literally thousands of people in your area who need and deserve the professional services that you provide. Make them aware of what you do. Be vocal about your abilities and qualifications. If you don’t take it to them, they may get shortchanged by someone not as good as you.

Step #10. Integrity Keeps You There. An opportunity arises nearly every day to take unfair advantage of someone. Professionals know that today’s dissatisfied clients may prevent them from making transactions in the future. Professionals know how important selling with the facts is. Stretching the truth, omitting information, and avoiding present challenges by stalling or blaming someone else is for the bush-leaguer. Sell with the facts, and you only have to sell them once.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission of this article, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

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