Nearly two decades ago, my Dad was given the opportunity of a lifetime to take ownership of a Lighting Sales Rep company for the Pacific Northwest. Having several years of experience in lighting over the years, he stepped into it gracefully, & over the past eight years he's been teaching me all about sales.
Not only have I been able to learn to navigate & organize my life working from home (pre-pandemic), but I've learned a great deal about what it takes to own a business, & ultimately how to make a lasting impression on each & every client. While many salesmen may come off shady & unreliable, these things will have you not only feeling more confident around your clients, but ultimately someone they trust & enjoy working with.
KNOW YOUR STUFF
Whether you went to school for what you do or you've been learning things as you go, we have a TON of resources at our fingertips, from YouTube to courses provided by your boss & much more. Take advantage! Go to your clients knowing that you have the answers, & showing them that you are the go-to person.
When you don't have the answer, OWN IT. Say, "You know, that's a great question. I'll find out & get back to you." When you make a mistake, OWN IT. Be honest about it, & assure them that it won't happen again. Don't pawn your mistake off on anyone else. Not only is it more obvious than you think, but it's just down right rude.
Getting caught in a lie is the quickest way to show someone that you are unreliable. It may sound obvious, but there are people out there who simply don't get it. Yes - it sucks to give your client bad news, but it sucks even worse when they find out that you knew months ago but didn't tell them.
UNDER PROMISE, OVER DELIVER
It's as simple as that. When you over promise & under deliver, it just shows them how unreliable you are. You might as well be lying to them, even if you had every good intention.
Always do what you say you're going to do. Think about it - the most shady sales people out there are the ones who say they are going to do things & never follow through with them. Not only are you losing your clients' respect, but you're also slowly diminishing your self confidence. Truly.
Show your clients that you care & that you are organized & on top of things by following up with them. Ask them how their experience was, check in with them, respond to their email or phone call even if you are still working on getting them answers. They will quickly learn that you have their back & you'll be building serious trust.
The more organized you are, the better you'll be at keeping on top of things. Your clients see this! Find or create your own system, it will be worth it, I promise.
KNOW THAT IT'S PERSONAL
It's not just business, it's also personal. No joke. I don't care what anyone else says to you, business is personal. So take note of each client's personal life. Ask about their family, & genuinely care (because it's obvious when you don't). Know that it's not just about the sale or the longevity of each client, but about the relationships you're building around you.
LEARN TO NAVIGATE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS
In all honesty, I'm still figuring this one out. When things get heated (& they will on occasion), I panic. I get flustered & respond without thinking. I say things I later don't remember. Take some time to learn how to handle things when the going gets tough so that you can professionally handle each negative situation. *BONUS* Let them vent. Even if there's sadly nothing you can do to help, you can always lend an ear.
KNOW WHEN TO STEP BACK & WHEN TO STEP UP
There are times when you need to step back & let the client handle the situation themselves, & times when you need to step up & be the badass that you are. This is probably something you'll learn along the way, but consider setting boundaries to help you navigate this one. There is nothing more sucky than doing a favor for a client only to have it backfire & make you look bad. Watch your step!
Amy Riordan is a Coeur d'Alene Commercial Photographer & FAA Certified Drone Pilot specializing in helping small businesses succeed in online media. She is also a proud wife, boy mom, dog mom, writer & runner.