Today I am going to offer you some valuable insight that has the potential to impact your sales career in a meaningful way. It is the importance of making sure a proper foundation was set as you are building your sales career to new heights. It does not matter if you are a new sales associate or seasoned veteran, we all have a foundation that was set at the beginning of our sales careers. The two question’s I have for you today is, “What type of foundation have you laid in your sales career?” and “Will it stand the test of time throughout your career?”
As I look back through my career in retail sales there are a few things that come to mind that are relative to this article. The first is that my great success would never have taken place had I not set the foundation of my sales career with the core principles of trust, honesty and integrity. From the very beginning I have been wired to serve my customers, look out for their best interest and impact their lives in a meaningful way. This was not something that was taught to me by anyone in the retail industry. It was instilled in me at an early age by my parents who taught me to be humble, respectful and dynamic.
It was just over 20 years ago that an opportunity was given to me to work in the jewelry industry and allowed my journey in retail sales to begin. I remember vividly that I was a 21 year old kid with zero knowledge of jewelry and honestly had no clue what I was doing. All I wanted to do was serve customers, give them a show and make people happy. So it was a big surprise in my very first month that I finished second in sales in the store as a part-time sales associate. My managers and fellow sales associates were all astonished. They chalked it up as a fluke, or lucky start, but quickly decided I needed to be a full-time sales associate. Make no mistake about it, it was not a fluke! Since then I have never looked back as I began to learn new selling skills, gained the proper product knowledge and went through many experiences.
You may be asking yourself, “How did a 21 year old kid with no experience become a star from the very beginning?” The answer is that I had a solid foundation that helped me stand out to my customers. My customers were used to being sold by sales associates using the same old sales tactics, but there was no real connection. What they got from me was someone who connected with them and made them feel special and important. I sold my customers with passion and energy, and focused on impacting their lives in a meaningful way. It did not matter how much the sale was or how much commission I made. The bottom line is I was making connections with my customers that established trust and loyalty and opened up the lines of communication. It made selling easy, fun and almost effortless.
As I have continued to build my sales career with product knowledge, selling skills and experience it has taken me to heights I could never have imagined. I am now a two-time published author, national speaker for WCD Enterprises and monthly columnist in various retail publications. When all is said and done, it was a solid foundation that has helped me create a beautiful sales career.
The second thing I recall as I look back over my sales career is a few elite sales associates who thought they had it all figured out, but built their sales career on an unstable foundation. These were the dynamic producers of sales who cared very little about their customers and focused on all the wrong things. In each instance I saw the same things happen. First, they made a lot of money and became recognized by those above them. This lead to quick promotions and a fast track to success that appeared to be a beautifully built sales career. However, because they did not care for people, look out for others’ best interest and impact peoples lives in a meaningful way, it never lasted. In the end it all came crumbling down at some point and everything they had worked so hard for was gone.
So today I will ask you again, “What type of foundation have you set for your sales career? Will it stand the test of time?” If the answer is yes then I encourage you to continue building your own creation of success with trust, honesty and integrity. However, if the answer is no, I have some good news for you. It’s never too late to lay a new foundation that is solid and will stand the test of time. All you have to do is rewire your thinking and focus on the things that truly matter. In many cases there are sales associates who started out with a solid foundation, but were lead astray by poor leadership or sales training fueled by greed and selfishness. In these cases it is important to understand that the foundation is still good and solid. All they have to do is tear down the bad parts and rebuild based on the knowledge, training and experience they have obtained throughout their career. It is never too late for anyone to lay a solid foundation for building future success!