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5 things my grandfather taught me about sales
Some of the best advice I've every gotten about working online, and off, was from people who have been in business for themselves for much longer than I have. Now I'm not talking about competitors telling me what they did and what I should do, no. I'm talking about the older people who are retired business owners who didn't always have the internet at their disposal to build up their businesses.Here are the 5 things my grandpa taught me about sales
1. Be patient, don't rush it.
I had a conversation with my grandfather a long time ago when I was going into business for myself, and it was filled with some of the best advice I've ever gotten from anyone over the years. My grandfather has since passed, but he gave me loads of information that I took to heart, and I'm here to share it with all of you
Older people tend to have a better work ethic since they had to fight for everything they ever earned. Nowadays we have the internet and we can figure out if something is going to be successful within the first week because of all the data we can acrue. Back in the day they have to fight to make something successful and wouldn't know right away if it was going to fail. For that reason, my grandfather who was successful, told me plenty of things and I took them old to heart.
The first thing my grandpa ever taught me was to be patient. He was a great fisherman and taught me many things on the lake when we were fishing, but he always told me to be patient and never rush things when it comes to business. He told me that one of his biggest sales took over 18 months and he didn't rush it at all. He also told me that if you pressure the potential buyer, it could turn them away and you'll lose the sale.
You need to be patient as well as keep a good perspective on what is going on. Build a good relationship with your buyers and don't treat them like dollars in your bank account, because they will know. Treat every sales opportunity as a lesson to learn something unique from the entire process from start to finish.
2. Actually talk to people
My grandfather wasn't too big into digital marketing because he was "old school" and would rather talk to people in person or over the phone. I totally understand why he did this too, because I've noticed that if I can get someone to come out to lunch with me, I have a better chance at sealing the deal with them instead of just calling them. He said that people are so disconnected that it's a breath of fresh air when you actually sit down and talk with an actual person rather that on social media, email or even a phone call even though you're still talking to them.
Calling someone on the phone is one of the most underrated sales tools we use today. This is simply because it's easy to ignore an email, but when you get a phone call you just want to answer to see what it's all about. You have a better chance of reaching the actual decision maker with a phone call than you do with an email or any other marketing tactic.
You can also get a feel for the person who you're talking to as opposed to an email where there's no emotion being expressed. With a phone call you can hear the persons emotion and their tone of voice which helps with figuring out if you should pitch them, upsell them or just avoid all of that for a later date. A good example of this is when I scheduled a call with a potential client and they were on the road driving when I called them at the designated time. I asked if they wanted me to call them back since they were driving, and he was happy I did. We later talked and he thanked me again for rescheduling the call and when we were done I signed him up on a $3,500 web design contract and $1,500 a month SEO contract that started when the design was done
3. There aren't any shortcuts
My grandpa taught me that if you want to be rich, you need to bust your ass for it. He said there aren't any shortcuts, so stop looking for them. You'll actually waste time trying to find the shortcuts, unless they will help you in every situation down the road. When he was doing sales he wouldn't stop until he got to the decision maker of the business he was trying to get a hold of. He would call any number he could get his hands on until someone would transfer him directly to the head boss in charge. By being so persistent, he was able to get to the decision maker and get the sale usually.
His exact words were "To cut out your own part of this business you need to be persistent, hungry and always scrappy. There's always someone at the target company that can help you close the deal, so find them and get it done".
4. You need to think long term, not short
My grandfather never targeted the one time customers because that's not where the money was. He would always want to get the long term clients who would be willing to sell a 1, 3 or even a 10 year contract with his company because that meant he had job security lol. He told me to give discounts for contracts, and I still do that to this day and it works extremely well when getting a tire kicker to convert into a yearly contracted client
Business to business sales are all about building relationships which will come back time and time again to hire you for your services. The best companies thrive from repeat customers and you can do the same if you target the right people and build your relationships with them.
5. Your integrity is everything
My grandpa was the kind of guy who did the handshake deal. That is where you would shake the hand of the man, or woman, you were talking to and that was your contract. This was the same as an iron clad contract that we would do today. No matter how many tools we develop to help us with our work and bring work to life, the fundamentals are the same: it's all about trust between two parties. If you don't have any good reviews or trust being shown, you'll likely not have many clients. Word spread fast back in my grandpas day, and even quicker now with social media, so trust goes a very long way in today's world.
A lot has changed since my grandpa has been in sales, but almost all of his business advice is solid even in today's world. You can't take advantage of people, you have to be a good person, you need to think about building relationships with your clients, don't rush anything, pick up the phone and talk with people and there are no shortcuts.
My grandpa taught me a lot about sales and how to run a business. I still use a lot of his advice even today when it comes to closing a deal. Remember when I mentioned the client I closed for a $3,500 web design and $1,500 a month for SEO? Well he was an older gentleman and he was comfortable working with me because I implemented all of the things my grandfather taught me
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