Some people say they are in Sales. Some even believe they are in Sales. They are not! Some are liars who will tell you ANYTHING to get you to sign up. Some are reactive and rely on you coming to them for something you already have a desire to buy.
The true salesperson is one who can appear out of nowhere, break down your barriers, explain their product in a manner that you can understand, show you how you will benefit from it to the point where you want to buy and leave you satisfied that you have made the right decision. No pressure, no lies, no manipulation.
I worked for many years at direct face to face cold calling and the pinnacle of that was my tenure at Cable London. The salespersons job was to knock on a door in London and convince the person answering the door to not only let you in and listen to your presentation but to give you cash or a credit card and a months rental for a cable TV service and a Telephone line. No initial appointment, just a list of addresses and you walked streets knocking on doors.
I was honoured to be employed by and work closely with Hal Stamford at Cable London for 5 years. Hal was my Mentor. He saw something in me and decided to pluck me from the sales teams and guide me from salesman to team leader, to Field Sales Manager and then Sales Trainer. He taught me all about selling and management. I am forever grateful to him. There isn’t a sales situation that comes up that I don’t think “What would Hal do?” He worked at Coca-Cola before working at Cable London and he had years of experience. He was the go to guy and he helped me more than anyone else I have worked with before or since. One day I will never forget was when he told me something that sounded funny but was very simple, very effective, and very relevant – He said, ‘Just remember David: Some will. Some won’t. So what? Next!!’ I have never forgotten it. “Ask for the business. If they say yes, great, if they say no, go somewhere else. Don’t let people who are never going to buy waste your time”.
He told me “You can’t lose a sale you haven’t got yet”. How true is that? So many salespeople worry about losing a sale before the customer has signed on the line. Until they sign on the line you can’t lose it because it doesn’t exist.
He also told me that there is a simple truth to sales. The secret to sales is…ASK. If they say no, ask again. If they say no again, ask again. If they still say no…ask someone else!
Be proud of what you do. Never apologise for being a salesperson. If you can’t be proud of what you do or sell, then do or sell something else. You can’t make people buy but you can let them know, if and when they are ready, that you will sell them a quality product at a good price and that you will appreciate their business.
“Instead of selling to them, put them in a position where they WANT to buy!”
“If they seem not interested it’s because you haven’t told them anything that interests them yet!”
“Tell them what you have to tell them in the manner they want to hear it!”
Remember one thing; Figure out what your features and your benefits are. It’s vital.
Because the feature is what your product does.The benefit is what it does for your customer.Get the benefit right and you are home and dry!
I will never be able to thank Hal enough for training me to the point where I could see a bright future as a salesman and I trained and read about and studied sales from that moment and still do. I built on the solid foundation that he taught. So good was Hal, and his Sales Training partner Harvey Rigby, that they got me to a point where I was standing in a man’s kitchen in Tottenham, north east London, having only met the man 15 minutes earlier, and he said to me, “I never buy at the door or over the phone. I just hate salespeople.”
I replied “I know what you mean…Just sign there at the bottom please.”
He signed a contract, gave me £140.00 in cash and I left. THAT is how great Hal was as a trainer.
If you are ever wondering what to do next in your sales career, if you hit a brick wall, if you have self doubt…just do what I do, Think…’What would Hal do?’ 😉
We lost Hal in 2011. Here are some words from his wife Jackie Stamford:
“David that was a lovely well written piece, If Hal was still with us he would be over the moon. Hal was a very committed man to sales, he would pass his knowledge onto every one who he saw potential in, going forward to become a great sales person.
I am not sure if you know how Hal started his journey to become a very talented, hard working professional sales person/manager.
This is what I know…
In his younger years he started work for Coca-Cola as a driver salesman, I don’t think it took him long to become a sales rep ( that’s what they were called in those days). He worked hard to become a Sales Manager then onto Depot Manager, looking after many people and a bottling plant in Enfield. Hal was transferred to Coulsdon depot to get it to the highest volume in sales. He was with Coca-Cola for 25 years when Coca-Cola was taken over and unfortunately he was made redundant. Hal was in his early 40’s. Hal’s ambition was to make it back to the top again when he managed to secure a position as a salesman for Roboserve vending company… and he did. Hal worked his way up another ladder to become Manager again, unfortunately another takeover and Hal once again was redundant.
Next step he took was with Cable London, walking the streets door knocking to sell their equipment (as you know TVs and phone line )
I know Hal has helped so many people over the years in all the jobs he had and in life generally even me… Yes Dave a true gentleman….”