When it comes to business development, one of the best parts is that each day brings new challenges and opportunities with it. Whether you're an Account Manager or an Account Executive, or even a hiring manager, you're constantly selling. You make phone calls, pitch customers, try to save the deal, entice investors, and try to hire top niche employees.
And there are myriad ways to find inspiration and valuable lessons, sometimes in the most unexpected places. Sports, social media, relationships, and parenting, for example, can teach you a lot. Here are some ideas for inspiration that you can get from unexpected places to help your company's sales team.
Relationships: Don't always talk about yourself
On a first date, it's not a good idea to talk exclusively about yourself. It's critical to demonstrate an interest in the person you're with by asking them questions and engaging with their interests. Although it's difficult for salespeople to avoid discussing their products, remember that the final sale boils down to one question: How can your product meet the customer's demand?
People buy something to alleviate a pain point, and the only way to learn about their pain is to get your prospect (or date) to talk about their struggles. To create value and recognize your competitive edge, you need as much information as possible. Keep in mind, however, that not everybody is aware of their pain. Using pointed questions can be highly beneficial in this scenario. Works on dates, too.
Parenting: Learn when to explain your decisions
Kids love Disneyland. But the truth is, you can't always vacation there. It's expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes parents just don't want to go. So you have to utter the dreaded two-letter word — no. Your kids may not respond well at first, so you may need to help them understand why you said no. The same goes at work.
If a prospect approaches you with a suggestion you can't adopt, and you say no, explain why. Make it clear why you can or can't do it. If one of your team members has an idea you won't implement, don't just say no. Tell them why, or provide some rationale or further explanation to support your decision. Giving people the information to have more context about a decision will make them feel more included.
Sports: It's a race to the bitter end
Every salesperson is aware of the importance of competition in the sales process. You can count on your competitors to will be right there with you if your team fails to keep its competitive advantage day after day. Bring your competitive spirit to operate, and you'll discover that it's a tremendous asset.
It doesn't matter how you choose to integrate this culture; what matters is that you do something about it. Possibilities are, it's included to some degree. The key is to narrow it down, and tap into the motivating factors of your group. For example, if you're a member of a sports team, you'll have a much greater chance of victory as a whole than only the quarter.
Social media: Social networking relies on visibility
Social media is driven by the concept of visibility. You want your social posts to be interesting and easily discoverable to generate higher engagement. The same should be a part of a comprehensive sales model. You should ask yourself what you're doing to attract the interest of prospective consumers.
This relies on a strong relationship between marketing and sales. What are you doing to catch a prospect's eye? How can you take lessons from social media influencers to create your own visibility?
Teachers: Excellent communication goes a long way
Excellent teachers grab the attention of their students. They recognize the importance of communicating in ways to effectively reach each student. That includes interpersonal communication to relate to individuals, as well as presentation skills to maintain attention of the whole class.
Sales reps with charisma who create a sense of connection with prospects understand the same principles. Fantastic sales reps who project authority and credibility, as well as warmth, tend to establish stronger relationships. Salespeople can develop excellent communication skills to better get to know their clients.
Olympics: Team chemistry is as important as technical proficiency
At the Olympic, team results can be unpredictable. But a team with great chemistry, mutual goals, and trust will perform better than one that doesn't have those things.
High-performing sales departments have leaders who actively shape the chemistry within their groups. These leaders take time to find and nurture their employees. They will actively motivate their teams and find opportunities to strengthen the team's bond and expand their potential. A collaborative sales team is stronger than a competitive one.