In essence, this player can do it all; he has absolutely ‘no’ holes in his game.
How about you; what are you bringing to the table? Are you a ‘five-tool player’ in your profession?
The reason I ask is because I see so many people in sales fall by the wayside in my profession; for whatever reason, they can’t put all the pieces together and maintain it for any length of time.
What are your tools?
I can tell you I’m ‘in’ insurance and that was even my degree: Risk Management-Insurance with a double major in Marketing. However, what I’m really in is ‘sales‘ as nothing happens until I bring a new customer through the door.
How do you like that green booger combo; insurance and sales, talk about killing a party conversation……..:).
In my world, the five areas I better have some game in is: prospecting; underwriting; sales; leadership; and diplomacy.
Break it down
Our insurance agency is NOT all things to everybody and neither am I. Just because we can write everything does not mean we chose to do so. We know what our ‘ideal’ customer looks like and we seek them out. I can count on one hand the successes we have had from random call-ins.
However, for our model to work means you need to have proficiency in networking and prospecting; ie – kissing a lot of frogs. And just because you know someone still does not mean you will be doing business together.
Underwriting -even though a business might be big and you know there will be lots of dollars involved, still does not make it an ‘ideal’ prospect. If they are just ‘shoppers’ and treat you no better than a vendor, then it’s probably best to ‘walk away.’ Also, if their management does not buy into a safe work place and what it takes to get there; keep walking on this one too. Finally, you have to know you will have a home for this once you drag this beast in the door. You can spend a lot of time getting it all pretty for the dance only to find out the dance was last Saturday; and you will be dancing with yourself.
Ahhh sales, the easy part, right? Well, once I determine this is ‘my‘ type of an account, I have to sell it to my marketing department. They have to believe we have a realistic chance of putting this on the books before we waste a lot of resources. Then, our marketing department has to turn around and ‘sell’ it to the insurance company so they will even quote for us. Once the carrier likes it, then I get involved and tell them why it’s a good fit for them. Finally, once we get the finished product back out, we have to go sell it to the prospect. No problem, huh…….your price is too high……..
Leadership; I am the captain and coach of the team. I have to put together a team internally and make sure they are a fit with the customer and with the service plan that was established. I have to empower the team to a great extent, but if anything breaks down it is ultimately my responsibility because it is my account after all.
Diplomacy, and this is always in play. You certainly have to be diplomatic with your customer because as you can imagine, you will deal with many personalities AND positions within the company. Internally, you have the same dynamics going on with your team. And finally externally with the insurance company, you have to deal with underwriting, marketing, claims, accounting, loss control, etc and each one has a different role and personality.
Easy stuff, huh?
Well, it’s certainly not rocket science but you do have to be able to juggle several balls at a time.
And that is the core of this post; over my career at @LanierUpshaw, I’ll bet I’ve seen at least 25-30 people with us in sales who did not ‘make it.’ Coming in, they appeared personable, intelligent, connected, etc, but for some reason or another there was a breakdown in one or more of the key components.
Is it sales? Is it too hard to maintain the confidence and drive day in and day out to sustain yourself over any length of time? If you hit a dry spell, do you think lack of confidence will come into play?
Is it the people? Sales, like social, can be very fickle. Just about the time you have it all figured out, you will get ‘fired’ by a customer and it leaves you scratching your head. You want to think you have ‘earned‘ a certain amount of respect and stature, but you can always get knocked out by the greenest of green boogs and it’s never fun.
How do you make it fit?
I would say over my career there are about 2% of the people in sales who ‘get it;’ they can sell the proverbial ice to an Eskimo, and sell them year after year.
Then there is the majority who have found a way to ‘survive’ and stick around for awhile; not too flashy, consistent and predictable. These are the ones who are most apt not to be job hopping.
And finally, there’s the 25% or so who have no business in sales because they can’t figure out any of the parts. They don’t have the discipline to do the basics primarily. They typically bounce around from shop to shop hoping they might get ‘lucky’ at one of there stops.
Sales are easy, right?
Sometimes the hardest thing to do in the whole process is just making the ‘ask.’ You might be ‘afraid’ they won’t like you any more if they think you are a ‘salesman’ and ask them to do business with you.
But if you don’t make the ask or the sale, what work will the people in your office have to do; who’s going to pay them? You might feel you get to the point where you you’ve done your share, but if you aren’t ‘selling,’ then who is? Sometimes in sales it’s hard to be ‘on’ day in and day out, but that’s what you signed up for, right?
It can be very rewarding but it can be very scary at times; good thing I don’t know any better.
That’s my world and that’s all I will say about it; it just happens to work out pretty well for me.
Are you a 5-tool player; or just a tool?