Why Patience is a Sales Essential?

By Paul Talbot

It's a pretty safe bet that few if any salespeople have ever been told," just be patient."

Patience seems to fly in the face of getting things done, creating urgency, and closing deals. Patience can often be mistaken for laziness, call-reluctance or any of the insidious forms of procrastination.

But sales professionals who dismiss patience overlook one of their most powerful, one of the most understood, and one of the least utilized tools. There are five vital aspects of the sales professional's world where patience comes into play. If patience is either dismissed or not managed effectively, optimum selling results simply cannot be achieved.

Let's start with prospecting. Prospecting is a sales professional's oxygen. It must always be present. Just as a
supply of oxygen needs to be continuous, so should prospecting. But when we examine why salespeople often fail to prospect effectively, the answer doesn't always lie in poor sales techniques. It often lies in a lack of patience. We know that roughly 80% of sales are made on the fifth call. The same holds true for simply securing an appointment. Yet the same studies reveal that after initial rejection, just 10% of salespeople plod
forward.

This plodding forward demands more than persistence and determination. Without patience, the determination and persistence will be subjected to unreasonable demands and they will eventually wither. A measured management of expectations in terms of the time, effort and thought it takes to set up an appointment is crucial.
Reasoned patience fuels this fundamental behavior of achievement.

Negotiating is an area where patience provides the professional salesperson with powerful advantages. Negotiations where concessions are made too quickly, where there is a rush to closure without appropriate understanding of the other side's position, or where artificial deadlines created by the other side are immediately agreed to, each tend to result in an unsatisfactory outcome.

The sales professional understands the crucial importance of constantly managing client and prospect relationships. This leads us into the realm of human nature. If we do not demonstrate patience in our dealings with the inevitable quirks, foibles and idiosyncrasies of the people we do business with, we will fail to effectively manage the relationship. Every sales professional understands this. The word we tend to use to describe the
process is "empathy." But without patience, empathy is hollow.

Professional salespeople understand that the task of identifying decision makers is both essential and complex. Failing to do this, rushing headlong into even an aspect of selling which would appear strategic and sensible,
such as a needs assessment, can prove premature if the salesperson hasn't demonstrated the necessary patience to understand the organization and how its members exert influence on purchasing decisions. This notion obviously holds true for less complex sales, such as dealings with a husband and wife.

We also need to be patient in managing our own business expectations. This comes into play both with individual deals we're working and our own career.

Selling is tough. That's why those of us who are good at it are so well compensated. Patience helps us all remember that what we do is difficult, that the relationships essential to success are not forged overnight. Neither is the ability to quickly use the sales professional's skills. Great salespeople are tough and demanding on
themselves. While this quality is basically good, it may turn sour if we do not administer it in a measured, balanced fashion. And of course this requires patience.
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Paul Talbot is the director of the Center for Inspiration and Motivation.

He invites you to subscribe to the center's complimentary daily newsletter, by visiting http://www.inspirationandmotivation.com/