THE 5 STAGES OF A “SIZZLING” SALESMAN
When each of us had the privilege of becoming a sales professional, we all had our own unique experience. There was one common denominator however that we all shared. We all had to go through the following 5 stages. As you read through them see what stage you are in, ask others what stage they think you are in, and become aware if you are stuck in a stage that you don’t want to be in any longer.
I think awareness is the key to personal and business growth. When I discovered that I was stuck in one of the following stages, just awareness alone jolted me forward in my sales.
The first stage is necessary because we all have to start somewhere:
STAGE 1 NO SIZZLE
The words tell it all. This is the stage where you are brand new on the job or new to the product line or even the location. In this stage YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.
This stage usually lasts 3-6 months.
I have watched so many salespeople in my profession come and go through this “learning curve.” This stage is very difficult for people that have always been know it all’s. They usually fake their way through this stage. They never want to admit that they don’t know anything.
When I started in sales I was in this stage for at least 3 months following instructions on a “need to know basis” I would pick up the phone make MANY marketing calls, get rejected, actually get used to being rejected, then bingo………someone wanted to hear more about my service. I would put the person on hold and get to one of the office pros to find out exactly what the answer was for this clients question.
I was told, “You are in a numbers game so keep calling” I became the top producer in a very short time always knowing to stay on the phone and that rejection was a big part of all the stages.
STAGE 2 Aware of “sizzle” but don’t know what to do about it
This stage comes along after you start knowing a little more about your product or service. You have had enough training formally or around the water cooler to realize
NOW YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
This stage lasts anywhere from 6 months – one year. It is a humbling stage because everyone seems to know the game your in but you. You now realize that there are so many other elements for making the sale happen that this stage can be quite confusing.
Information starts pouring in through others in your business, articles you read, or the questions you are asked by potential clients and still don’t know the answers. In fact you start wondering if you ever will know the answers. This is the stage where people give up, quit, or get fired.
I was in this stage at least a year, and suffered burn out . I remember telling my boss “I can’t do this anymore, I keep doing my numbers, seeing some results, but there is still so much to learn” She was a very wise woman, because she saw my potential and knew it was just a matter of time before I would go to the next stage and be hooked. She gently explained what burn out was (which helped ). She also shared the purpose and reason for what I was doing and formulated a “plan of action” that worked for me.
22 years later I am still in the same profession.
STAGE 3 USING “SIZZLE” BUT DON’T KNOW WHY
This stage was my reality check! When I reached this stage I remember exactly how I knew I was in it. The UC stage means:
YOU ARE NOW COMPETENT BUT DON’T KNOW WHY
This stage should only last a few months. Unfortunately I was in this stage far too long.
I was the top producer, enjoying all my recognition, when suddenly my Boss asked if I would share my knowledge at one of our staff meetings. I happily said yes only to find out as I worked on my presentation that I had no idea why I was successful. I certainly didn’t “feel” like I was at the top of my game and I was right.
I don’t think you can claim to be at the top of your game until you can explain to others how you got to where you are. . When you are able to dissect your sales techniques and explain point by point to someone what you did to become a top producer you will be able to move on to stage 4.
STAGE 4 AWARE SELLING THE SIZZLE WORKS …PREPARING TO USE IT OFTEN
This is a great stage to be in because you are now COMPETENT AND VERY AWARE WHY YOU ARE COMPETENT
This stage is where you still ask questions, still learn, role play…………….. but you are now having fun doing it because now there is a reason for everything you do.
You now consider yourself a true professional in your field. You have built rapport with clients, started a meaningful database and manage your time effectively.
You might even be the person at this part of the stages that would ask yourself “will this make me money today” I am sure you can’t wait to see stage 5 because stage 4 sounds pretty darn good to you. Well here it is:
STAGE 5 “SIZZLING” NATURALLY
This is the stage that you are now a NATURAL in sales. This is the stage where people might say “how does he/she do that?” Or “someday I want to be as good as him/her”
You now…….. KNOW YOU ARE COMPETENT, KNOW WHY YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL , AND HAVE BECOME A NATURAL.
All the training, reading, trials and errors have payed off Congratulations. You are the sale person everyone wants to be. You have learned how to be the ultimate professional and it looks like you do it effortlessly.
As I go across the country teaching about the ultimate salesperson there are not a lot of sale professionals that feel they are in this stage. In the next chapter I am going to share with you (after interviewing hundreds of the Stage 5 Pro’s ) what 7 habits they had in common.