Jack Daly is an experienced and inspirational sales trainer and coaching expert from the United States who motivates audiences to take action in the areas of sales management, corporate management and corporate culture. Having over 30 years of experience in sales and finance, Daly is credited for building six startups into national level firms, for which he received the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2006. Author of bestsellers including ‘Hyper Sales Growth’ and ‘The Sales Playbook’, Daly has also co-authored in books like the ‘Paper Napkin: Your Five Step Plan for Life and Business Success.’
In early March, Daly was in Kathmandu to attend an Entrepreneurs Organization event. Ashim Neupane of New Business Age caught up with Daly on the sidelines of the event to talk about sales and other relevant topics. Excerpts:
What is the purpose of your visit to Nepal?
I am here in Nepal to attend a session organised by the Entrepreneurs Organization Nepal. The purpose of the session is to teach entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses. I have been participating in events like these for over 20 years. Prior to that, I was building businesses primarily in the United States.
Joe Girard, famous for selling 13,000 cars over 15 years, said, “Salespeople are not born, they are made.” Do you agree with this statement?
Yes, I agree. I also say salespersons are made and not born. As long as you have grit, you can understand and practise the systems and processes that will enable you to be a successful salesperson.
Some people are comfortable with going into the market and interacting with prospects. Systems and processes can be learned, but if one doesn’t have grit, it will be tough to become a successful salesperson.
People today are increasingly guarded and have built up barriers to sales messaging because they are bombarded with so much of it including cold calls, door-to-door sales, and telemarketing. At a time when pitching your product is harder than ever, how can salespeople overcome these barriers?
I actually don’t like the word ‘pitching’. The customers also don’t like the word ‘pitching’. What we see in the world is the salesperson goes to the consumer and starts pitching the product. On many occasions, customers run away from the salesperson. Salespersons need to be aware of the needs and problems of the consumers and whether their product can plug that gap. If a salesperson feels their products and services are good for the consumers, then the salesperson should have the grit to convince the consumers. Selling is the transfer of trust. People do business with the people they trust.
“Sell me this pen” is an omnipresent question during sales interviews. Why is this question so predominant and what qualities of the candidates are being tested by the interviewer through this question? Also, is there a standard answer to it?
There could be many answers to this question. The salespeople need to ask more questions about the requirements of the pen to the interviewer. What salespeople do is - they directly approach the interviewer to buy the pen. That may not work. The salesperson should ask the interviewer about the requirements. The interviewer may reply - my signature is a blue felt-tip pen. The salesperson can again ask is there anything more you look for in a pen. After having a short conversation about the pen with the interviewer, the salesperson becomes aware of the requirements. This will help the salesperson properly approach the interviewer.
What are the qualities of a good salesperson?
A good salesperson should listen and care about the customer’s interests. The salesperson should always find out if the products and services are a good fit for the consumers. The best salespeople – less than five percent in the world – send the customer somewhere else if there is a better fit. That is the signature of exceptional salespeople. If I don’t feel my products are a perfect fit for the customers, then I must send my client somewhere else. Very few salespeople in the world do that.
In your opinion, what are some common mistakes that inexperienced salespeople make?
Salespeople try to sell the products at any cost. Inexperienced salespeople don’t care whether the offered services and products are a good fit for the consumers. That is the first mistake. The best salespeople say the same thing, in the same way, each time they encounter a difficult situation. If a customer says "I am happy doing business with someone else," then salespersons should have a standard answer to it; they should not answer it differently each time. Answering the same question differently each time is not the quality of a good salesperson.
In your book ‘The Sales Playbook’, you stress the significance of developing high-performing sales techniques and processes. Could you share with our readers what exactly a sales playbook is and why it is essential?
‘The Sales Playbook’ is based on sports teams that are run better than many businesses. When I go to the companies and ask - what is the playbook for your sales organisation? I find they don’t have a playbook. ‘The Sales Playbook’ has winning systems and processes, which will enable salespersons to differentiate themselves from competitors and sell more.
Lastly, sales is a field where experience is regarded as more valuable than education. What is your take on this and how significant is a dedicated degree to forward a sales career?
Experience counts in life; however, the world of sales is always changing. In the past, I didn’t have tools like a smartphone and the internet as a salesperson. Today, I can understand the needs of the customers by browsing the web. This is all because of education. I can research about companies and behaviour of consumers through my computer. Twenty years ago, we couldn’t do that. A person who is educated with new sophisticated tools, systems and processes will win the game in this era. I think experience has value, but if it’s not combined with education, succeeding in the sales world is tough.
Do you have any closing remarks?
If a salesperson doesn’t sell, then everyone working in the company will have nothing to do. The sales position is critical for businesses to succeed. I believe selling is a profession and professionals practise train and study all the time. Let’s go to ‘sports team are run better than the businesses’ – there is not a sports star who doesn’t practise. However, in the sales world, a salesperson rarely practises. In the business world, salespeople infrequently have a playbook and they seldom have systems and processes. If they would like to increase their success, then they have to figure out the systems and processes and should practise them.