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About This Episode
“It is the only career where you can work for somebody else while being your own boss. You are responsible for your own destiny. You can decide what you want to get paid. You can decide what hours you want to work, and you can ultimately decide how successful or not you want to be. So have fun doing it.”
Clark offered his five tips on how to succeed in sales (without really trying).
Tip 1: Observe like a Cop but Speak like a Salesperson
Clark’s professional career has ricocheted from sales to law enforcement and back to sales again. “I got to learn a lot of old school tricks that are still applicable, including communication and decision making.”
The trick is knowing when (and how) to use them.
Folks in the law enforcement world use a very different, very direct communication style.
If you’re a direct person, remember that not everybody is accustomed to that in the corporate world. Figuring out when and where to deploy candor can be a big challenge.
Another hurdle is thinking too fast.
In law enforcement, you have to process a lot of information and make decisions very quickly. Making a quick call and being confident with it is absolutely paramount.
Not everyone has this training. People’s minds process information differently. When one team member is ready to move forward, he might be ahead of the game. “There might be something else I need to consider or slow down and take a look at,” says Clark.
It’s important to gather as much information as possible. “If I’m talking to a CEO, do I know what’s going on with him and his company, or am I so focused on my goals that I didn’t take the time to understand his situation? Perhaps [by listening more], I could find an angle that would be more immediately relevant.”
Tip 2: Train to Master Your Sales Process
Every sales process is different from company to company. Learn yours, memorize it. “It’s your sword, an extension of you,” says Clark.
Train yourself to:
- Anticipate several outcomes.
- Respond to objections.
- Roleplay with your team.
- Ask colleagues for critiques to keep your act sharp.
- Use conversational analytics data.
If you’re not learning how to take advantage of those things, you’re going to get outclassed.
Don’t be afraid to be different. Let people know you have something valuable, and do it in a way that triggers a different pattern in your prospect’s brain.
Instead of falling into the same pattern of every other sales rep, let them see you as something different, and have fun while you’re doing it.
Tip 3: Maintain Good (Data) Hygiene
You wouldn’t pull a dirty, wrinkled shirt out of the hamper and wear it to work. Treat your electronic sales tools with the same respect.
Keep your data super clean so it can help you do your job. Make sure that as you’re adding to your data, you’re taking a little bit of extra time to make sure your inputs are accurate.
“MIlitary and law enforcement personnel must keep their minds and bodies in the best shape possible. Keep your weaponry as clean and efficient as possible,” says Clark.
Your data is your weapon.
Pay attention to how your data is working for you so you can be truly effective. Be in command of it, it’s your tool and you are not a secondary party to that. You must control the process, or the process will control you.
Tip 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve
A lot of things that we do as human beings, we do because they have always been done that way. “I wake up every morning and I always ask ‘Why? Is this really the best way to do it?’” says Clark.
Today, we hunt sales prospects in an extremely fast-paced jungle. If you are using exclusively old school tactics, then your team is running around the jungle with sticks and stones. However, your competition has drones that are tracking the targets; people with night vision goggles; and advanced weaponry, targeting systems, and communications.
You can’t compete.
No matter how great your product is, if you don’t have a solid sales engagement strategy, coupled with your go-to-market strategy, then you’ll never be able to penetrate against competition that is more engaged.
You need to adopt new technologies to stay relevant.
“I love the phrase: learning agility. You have to be able to spin and look at something new and say, ‘okay, I see the value in that’ and try it,” says Clark.
Sales engagement is absolutely central to any business development effort. If employed correctly, it brings anything that’s relevant to the people you’re targeting. If you have a sales engagement strategy, you can pick personas, identify what’s important to those personas, set up a plan and follow up windows, and ensure that your tactics and messaging are on-point and consistent.
That’s the power of sales engagement, the process of separating out all the stuff we don’t need, picking what’s important, and applying it to the right people.
Tip 5: Lead with a Servant’s Heart
Clark’s personal philosophy of leadership is one of service.
It’s a leader’s job to make sure that the sales team has everything they need to be as successful as possible.
“I’m a caddy and they’re my Tiger Woods,” says Clark. “I’m going to help them figure out the distance to the hole, if the sun is shining a certain way, if the grass is bent a certain way. I want to give them the best ability to hit the prettiest shot they can. I can’t swing the club for them, but I can prepare them to swing it as true and straight as possible.”
If you’re not doing that as a leader, you are not putting your people in the best position to succeed. When you make the shift from habits and bias, to data and insight, that’s when you truly equip your people to be successful.
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