Our work habits, over time, determine our levels of success. Use the following checklist to get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses as a salesperson. Be honest with yourself, and score realistically to get an accurate picture of your professional strengths.
1. Do I take responsibility for my own success? Do I blame someone else if things aren’t going well? If I am, I am misleading myself. No one ever has the best price, product or service all of the time. Superstars succeed despite periodic shortcomings of the company, or swings in the economy.
2. Am I truly knowledgeable? Am I doing my homework? Do I understand today’s environment, my products and my direct competition? Prospects are more concerned with knowledge and service than they are with product and price.
3. What am I doing that my competition is not?. Am I continuing my education? Do I have a reading program? Am I continually self-renewing and sharpening my skills? A professional who ceases getting better ceases being good!
4. Am I really sensitive to the needs of those with whom I interact? Do I truly understand their social styles? Am I versatile? People do things for their reasons, not mine. My future success depends on my people skills.
5. Do I understand that I can’t just sell anything to anyone? People buy only what they want. Do I work to learn their most important needs, and how I can help meet them? Am I mastering the sales process and do I know why it works? Do I really understand that selling is the transfer of trust?
6. Am I of good cheer? Is an interaction with me a positive experience? Do I maintain a positive attitude? Do I take myself too seriously?
7. Do I create a good professional image? Do I project whatever my message does and with whomever I meet? Am I visible, available, professional in my presentation, and am I businesslike? Do I exhibit self-esteem and competence? Am I known for resolving the problem – now?
8. Am I a good manager of business relationships? In my career, have I built loyal clients or just occasional customers? Clients give me 50 percent or more of their business while customers give me business sporadically.
9. Am I living on my own fat? Do I add a trusting client at least every quarter? Do I continually prospect for new client possibilities? Have I been a career salesperson for three years, or have I had a one-year career three times? Do I do my marketplace research and pre-market myself before I approach a prospect?
10. Do I make only quality calls? Do I avoid comfort calls with those who don’t produce? Do I understand that I should never make a call without a clearly defined purpose? Do I target my prospects and develop business opportunities, or do I do business with whoever will do business with me?
11. Do I conduct meaningful customer interviews? Do I determine my prospect’s or client’s highest value needs? Do I ask meaningful questions to focus on my prospect’s or client’s urgencies? Do I really listen and elicit what he or she is communicating? When on sales calls do I listen twice as much as I talk?
12. Do I provide quality solutions? Do I remember that the client’s needs come before mine? Do I know that no worthwhile effort is ever lost? If I do what’s right for my clients, I’ll be rewarded, and soon! Do I strive for win-win outcomes?
13. Do I exceed the expectations of those with whom I work-both inside and outside the office? Do I do exactly what I say I will, when I say I will, in the way that I say I will do it? Exemplary service builds customer loyalty and rich dividends.
14. Am I really goal oriented? Are my goals and objectives in writing? Have I defined a strategy to reach each goal? Do I know how much each hour of my time is worth? What motivates me? Am I controlling my time so as to be ruthlessly effective with it?
15. Do I make non-negotiable commitments to my family, my company associates, my clients, my friends, my industry, and myself? At times each of these must come first, and deserves my undivided attention. An absolutely balanced life is probably impossible; but we must continually try for it.
16. Do I express my sincere congratulations to those who have achieved greatness? Do I sit at the feet of the masters, sublimating my ego, and model them? Do I praise good deeds in my family members and support staff every day? Do I always remember to say “Thank you”?
17. Do I understand and practice the Japanese concept of Kaizen? (Constant—if only minimal—improvement) My future will be determined by my success in getting a little bit better every day!
Go ahead, run through all of these questions and give yourself that sales pro tune-up that you know you need. If you’re willing to be honest with yourself and make the adjustments necessary, the exercise can pay huge dividends. Or….you can just make some more cold calls! Your choice.