As an Air Traffic Controller in the United States Air Force I learned the truth about sales success, although I didn’t realize it until years later.
If you are familiar with the military or the Federal Aviation Administration, you know that their success is achieved through strict adherence to well thought out processes. They know that the processes they have established will bring success as long as everyone follows them. Deviation is not an acceptable practice.
Air Traffic Control is a prime example. All Controllers throughout the world, military or civilian, are taught the rules of air traffic control. These rules require strict adherence because the safety of passengers and crew members is dependent on established procedures. These rules apply throughout the aviation world. Failure to follow them can only result in tragedy. Pilots rely on adherence to these established procedures and are obligated to follow them unless they declare an emergency. Otherwise, failure to follow the rules by either an air traffic controller or a pilot mandates an Operational Hazard Report. Repeated violations can result in loss of a job and, sometimes, the end of a career.
After spending eight years in Air Traffic Control, I received an honorable discharge and entered civilian life, commonly referred to as ‘returning to the world’. After finishing college I applied for and was accepted as a sales representative with a national firm.
My first manager was a bright guy who could see that if he ‘required’ me to do what he said, I would obey him and be successful. He taught me the rules of selling and they required adherence to a process. Follow the process, make the sale. Simple.
The process he taught me was called The Ten Golden Rules. I was required to memorize them and to use them. He told me that if I violated the rules, even if I made a sale, I would be terminated. I followed the rules to the spirit and letter of the law.
Within months I was the leading sales representative in the sales division and my career in sales was launched. I became a trainer and then a manager and then a national sales manager. The teams I built were in the top 10% nationwide. This success inspired me to leave the company to become a sales consultant so that I could help many companies apply a standardized sales process to enhance their success.
The process we continually refined was based on following a step-by-step process and evolved into a complete, B-B enterprise selling system. Use of the process resulted in more sales that stuck. Sales representative who did not follow the process were outsold by those who did. Those who did not follow the process frequently found employment elsewhere.
The sales processes used by sales organizations are evolving today. They are relying more on big data and define how to use the data to more effectively. These processes are wrapped in tried and proven systems that must be followed to be effective.
If you want to be Cleared for Take-Off in your sales career, follow the process that your company has established. If your company doesn’t have one, look for another company that does. Your career can take off by strict adherence to a sales process. So will your income.
Harrison Greene, is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and partners with companies offering cutting edge technology solutions that revolutionize the sales process. He has been intimately involved with all aspects of the selling process as a sales representative, sales manager, and as V.P of Sales. For the last 20 years he has consulted with large and medium sized sales organizations throughout the United States.