Framework, V2I4

Nothing Moves Unless It’s Shoved

As one who is biased toward sales, I’ve always loved the quote, “Nothing moves unless it’s shoved.”

One thing I’ve learned since becoming president of Woodtex is that there are a lot of moving parts to the shed business. Sales, marketing, operations, production, accounting, etc. Each area is as important as the others. But I am, and forever will be, a sales guy. I get sales people. I understand their language. I appreciate their mindset.

A big part of the salesperson’s mindset is to take action. Make things happen. After all, nothing moves unless it’s shoved, right? The problem, though, is that I see a lot of business owners who incorrectly define “action” as they try to sell. They have what I call the “Field of Dreams” approach.

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner hears a voice say, “If you build it, he will come.” Some people have an idea and believe that if they just build it (which is definitely a form of action), people will beat a path to their door. But this isn’t the movies.

There’s more to selling than just having a great idea. How will you produce it? How will you make others aware of what you offer? How will you show them you can meet a need of theirs? What will you do to convince them your product or service is worth the money they will pay for it?

These questions are answered by the person you look at in the mirror. You must have energy, passion, guts, smarts, and integrity in the sales world. Those traits will cause customers to move—toward you.

For example, at the writing of this article, I am in the market for a used car for my daughter. She recently had an experience involving her 2009 Nissan Altima and a telephone pole.

First, let me say that, thank the Lord, she is fine. Second, she learned a valuable lesson about distracted driving. Third, as you can imagine, she needs a new vehicle.

I immediately called Jeff Chandler, my “used car salesman.” Used car guys get a bad rap because this term is synonymous with bad service and being untrustworthy. But when I say Jeff is a true used car salesman, I mean it as a compliment. I’ve probably bought seven or eight cars from him over the years, and I do this for one reason—I trust him to do well.

Throughout the car-buying process, I trust him to move, to put energy and honesty into what he’s doing. I’m confident that he’s telling me everything about the car, good and bad. He has my best interests at heart. He gets me what I need, tells me what I need, and serves me how I need. Jeff moves things, and that’s why he’s my guy.

As I look across the country at all of the people selling our structures, I am astounded by the differences between
those who consistently produce well and those who struggle. I want to take the next few moments to share my insights.

Here are 6 keys to becoming a successful salesperson:
1. Promote, promote, promote. A key to being a top salesperson is to get your name and your message out there. Everything from business cards to conventions to social media are tools that tell people who you are and what you offer them. Look for ways to get the word out about yourself.

2. Build relationships. Patricia Fripp, a fantastic keynote speaker and speech coach, says, “You don’t close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”

Get to know your customers. Understand what’s really important to them. What’s going on in their lives? Do they have kids heading to college? Do they love deep-sea fishing when they go on vacation? Taking the time to learn about them personally will produce far greater results then just “getting to the product details.” Pardon the cliché, but there’s just so much truth in it—people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Ask questions. Take your time. Genuinely learn about your clients. You will have more success in two weeks showing a sincere interest in two people then you will in two years trying to get two people interested in you.

3. Follow up. Ever hear a friend say, “We should get together sometime. I’ll call you,”… then you never hear from them? Everyone has, and it doesn’t make a person feel valued. When you serve your customer and then follow up to make sure their needs are met, and communicate how much you enjoy working with them as clients and as people, they feel valued. They want to continue being your customers. They are also more likely to send you new customers, which keeps your advertising costs down and makes things easier for you. Everyone wins.

4. To thine own self be true. There’s a reason this is one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines from Hamlet. The best salespeople are genuine with everybody—starting with themselves. Play to your natural strengths when it comes to how you relate to people. Have a sincere interest in your product or service. If you don’t believe in it, find something else to sell because potential clients will sense any lack of enthusiasm on your part.

5. Always have integrity. Jeff Chandler is my used car salesman because he has integrity. That’s what led me to trust him before and why I trust him now. Integrity is as important to sales as promotion and relationships. Why? Because if word gets out that a salesperson has done something dishonest, their credibility takes a huge hit. That damage is hard to repair with your customers and your leaders.

6. Go the extra mile. There are millions of salespeople out there. A great way to stand out among them is to go above and beyond what your customers expect. Send them birthday and Christmas cards. Be attentive when they talk so you can pick up on little clues about other needs they may have, and then offer help without being asked. They’ll appreciate your spirit.
It takes many positive qualities to be a salesperson, and someone who does the job well makes a person’s life easier. I know Jeff has. And it’s what the people on our sales force work to deliver every day.


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