Guest Blog | The 4 C’s of Increasing SalesFebruary 22, 2018
I’m happy to welcome Thomas Miller, from Leaders Building Leaders, on the blog for today’s edition of #ThoughtfulThursdays. He’s sharing the 4 C’s of increasing your sales. He personally uses these tips to increase his sales leadership. As he mentions, “success in sales leadership happens in that space that resides just outside of your comfort zone.”
As a small business owner, I am constantly thinking about how to increase sales. This weekend, while watching a documentary with my five-year-old son on predators in the Arctic, the narrator noted that less than 20% of hunts end in a kill. For some larger predators, like the polar bear, the percentage is less than 5%. She said, “If the polar bear does not find food soon, she and her cubs will starve.” There are many nights that I worry about cash flow and the impact it could have, not only on my family but the families of our team who trust me to produce.
When I started my leadership training and coaching company in 2014, I had no idea what I was doing in regards to sales. Fortunately, my mentorship program through the John Maxwell Team provided me with training and a coach to understand that sales does not have to be a scary word. Some may question learning sales from a leadership expert. However, leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less. In order to sell, you must be able to influence the buyer to know, like, and trust you. Those that are most effective in sales seek to serve and solve problems for others to help others achieve their goals.
Over the last four years I have worked diligently to increase my sales leadership using the 4 C’s below:
Confidence in yourself determines your success in anything. Henry Ford captured this sentiment well, when he said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” First and foremost, this means understanding your value and how your programs and products will meet the needs and solve the problems of your clients.
Confidence is preparation. That means prioritizing what others won’t: Preparation and practice. Through preparation and practice, your inner growth will manifest itself as outer influence. Every day, I spend time learning from the most influential leaders and experts in their field, studying relationships and people by observing, asking questions, and creating new content to meet the needs of current and future clients. Confidence is not arrogance. It requires a level of maturity. There is no quicky, liposuction-like procedure for effective sales leadership.It compounds daily through preparation and practice. If you desire to be an effective sales leader, you have to do the work.
The Harvard Business Review noted that the number one criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively. Effective sales leaders communicate by asking questions and deeply listening to their prospects. You see, one mistake that most people make is that instead of listening to understand, we listen to reply…and to top the other speaker’s story. We let our ego drive our process. When we make presentations, we worry more about looking good or our perfect PowerPoint. Insecure speakers seek approval from the audience. The more they try to impress, the less they focus on their audience. I have learned that just because I say something, it does not mean that my audience heard me correctly. They might not have heard me at all because my actions may have closed them off to hear my message. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that just because we have spoken communication has taken place.
As a sales leader, you must be genuinely curious about the other person. That curiosity on the inside manifests as questions, high-quality questions that demonstrate an understanding of the person and his or her organization. Those questions lead to insight about which you can follow up with deeper, more provocative questions that uncover additional information and communicate how well you are listening and that you find this person, and these challenges interesting. Remember, people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Look for the signs that the listener is ready to buy: Leaning in, shaking their head, and being responsive and even animated; then give them an opportunity to say yes. This is the second part of being curious, the ASK. My first sales coach called me a secret agent detective. I never told anyone what I did or asked if they would like to do business. I now have learned to bring the words, “I believe I can help you with that,” “How do you feel about…?” and “Does this sound something that you would be interested in?” into the discovery session. Great sales leaders are those who failed, learned new skills, and tried again. I tell the members of our Maxwell Method of Selling Bootcamp each week, “Do not be too hard on yourself. You are constantly in training!”
Connecting with others is not about you. Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them, thereby increasing your ability to influence them.To earn more sales, effective sales leaders focus on developing relationships instead of focusing on closing transactions. This relationship comes from learning who you can best serve and how; your actions demonstrate that you are more interested in them than the transaction itself. I have earned many sales relationships after 12 to 24 months of adding value to others and maintaining a curious relationship in their success. Each day, I try to practice the mantra coined by Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Success in sales leadership happens in that space that resides just outside of your comfort zone. The keys to increasing your success in sales are to work to improve in the Four C’s: Confidence, Communication, Curiosity, and Connections). Just think, if you get just 1% better each week of the year, even after a two-week vacation, you will be 50% better! This 50% will be sure your children and your team-members’ children will be well fed!
About the Author
Dr. Thomas Miller is the founder of Leaders Building Leaders, the difference maker in the leadership development of individuals and organizations. Thomas is a certified speaker, trainer, and coach specializing in leadership development, as well as sales training and public speaking training for leaders through the John Maxwell Team.
Leaders Building Leaders has successfully turned around multiple organizations, saving them from imminent failure and guiding them to long-term success. A combination of successful experience in leadership roles and transformation with John Maxwell Leadership principles allows Leaders Building Leaders to provide elite-level leadership development instruction to those seeking to navigate a course from success to significance.