Great Advice to Tip the (Sales) Scales in Your Favor

Here’s a news flash: every business is in business to make money. That includes yours and ours. And the way you do that is by offering great value and service to your customers. That leads to more, and more profitable, sales. That’s why I’ve been talking a lot about your sales process lately.

Energy and enthusiasm are certainly a big part of that process. So today, I’d like to provide a little encouragement for your sales force, as some sales tips and advice. But not from me – from a few of the richest people in the world. It’s a pretty exclusive list; the lowest net worth among the people mentioned below is $30 billion, and the highest is more than twice that.

Some of these sales tips are direct and to the point; others are more about attitude or vision. And some seem to take opposing approaches. These tips are helpful and applicable to a variety of different situations you will encounter in business each day.

 “Always deliver more than expected.” 

               —Larry Page, CEO, Google

This one is easier for new businesses, but established companies often forget this and just ‘fill the orders.” When the customers are pleasantly surprise, they’ll be back – and tell others.

 “Solving big problems is easier than solving little problems.”

                 —Sergey Brin, President, Google

To me, Brin is recommending a focus on the big picture. Getting caught up in minutia can take valuable time and attention away from more important issues, and the payback is worth it.

 “If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail.” 

                  —Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon

While you can’t afford to get caught up in small details, you’d better know how your business attracts and satisfies customers, and exactly how that process translates to your bottom line.

“I think in business, you have to learn to be patient. Maybe I’m not very patient myself. But I think that I’ve learned the most is be able to wait for something and get it when it’s the right time.” 

                  —Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO, Louis Vuitton

I’ve found that most business owners are, as a rule, impatient. They want to make things happen quickly. But “now” may not be the best time for every pursuit. Your business may not be equipped to fully deliver, costing you future opportunities. Or an internal situation at a prospective client may make your solicitation more welcome (and likely to be successful) in a few months.

 “You have to act and act now.”

                —Larry Ellison, Co-founder, Oracle

However (and I think even Arnault would agree), when the time is right, aggressive action is called for. Over-analysis and too much caution can keep your business on the sidelines. Acting rashly is never a good idea, but being ready to seize an opportunity can put you in the driver’s seat more often. Your sales process should be geared accordingly.

 “It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfairly—but it doesn’t stop me.”

           —Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO, Las Vegas Sands               

It’s inevitable that you will feel, at times, as though you were mistreated in business. Either the fates, or competitors, or a skewed marketplace played havoc with your plans. To put it in the vernacular “tough love” phrase: deal with it. It happens to most businesses. The ones who whine and look for scapegoats seldom survive. The ones who move quickly past it thrive.

“If you don’t encounter setbacks in your career, if you don’t have doubts and disappointments, let me tell you, you’re not dreaming big enough.” 

                 —Michael Bloomberg, CEO, Bloomberg

Not only does Bloomberg move past doubts and disappointments, he regards them as markers on his road to excellence. The safest paths lead to the most predictable outcomes. But those that require the largest vision and imagination lead to the most life- and world-changing results.

“We cannot limit ourselves to continuing on the path we have already opened and once again we will have to be enthusiastic and exacting in order to convert ideas and projects into reality in a world that is advancing at great speed.”

                  —Amancio Ortega, Co-founder, Zara

Speaking of vision—Ortega recognizes that whatever realities you have “planned” for are, without a doubt, going to change. Your success will be determined by how ready you are to adapt, redirect and revitalize your efforts as that inevitable change comes. How flexible—and how forward-thinking—is your sales process?

“Individuals don’t win in business, teams do.”

                —Alice Walton, Wal-Mart heir; Chairman, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art 

I love this one. Valuing other team members isn’t just a courtesy. None of the top companies in today’s business landscape were started by a single person. Different strengths lead to greater combined strength. If you are in sales, take advantage of your team. Does your inside staff have resources to make you more effective? Could another rep widen or deepen your knowledge in an important area? Would tapping your vendors for their opinions and perspectives make you better at your job?  I know the answer to all three: yes.

“Everything I’ve done is an old Marvel comic in its own way.”

                 —Rob Walton, Chairman, Wal-Mart Stores

I don’t think Walton is calling himself a superhero here. I think he means that virtually every day in sales is another challenge, and some of them can be major obstacles. But by looking at them as opportunities and navigating your way through them, you can emerge successful. And it’s okay to feel proud of that. Maybe you aren’t saving the world or the “American way.” But chances are you are making a pretty big difference for a company, and in the lives of a lot of people who work for it. Take a bow—but don’t get your cape dirty.

Get Sales Tips a Bit Closer to Home

I hope you can take something from some of the quotes above, and apply it to your own sales process. Meanwhile, contact Superior Business Solutions for some very concrete sales tips you can use almost immediately to help your sales force succeed.

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