If you have cooked for other people and/or have been a server in a restaurant you may have a good start on the skills required to be a good salesperson. Ask your average person what makes a good salesperson and you will hear “a good talker”. In fact, success as a salesperson primarily is based on your ability to ask questions, listen and orchestrate resources and information to address the customer’s interests. There are many parallels with cooking and serving others. If you or someone you know is considering a selling role, check this out…I hope it provides some inspiration!
What is the customer interested in?
Whether you are cooking, serving or a salesperson you need to “qualify” by asking open ended questions. Do a great job qualifying and your chances for success increase.
- What type of food are you interested in?
- How do prefer it served? Family style? Individual?
- When would you like each part of your meal?
- When would you like to start eating?
The importance of ingredients and timing
Recently I made a Moroccan chicken dish for my family. There were about 10 ingredients and, of course, the recipe has a sequence of steps. In order for the meal to cook properly and have the right taste you have to follow the suggested proportions of ingredients and timing of steps. If you change anything, the results may change (I have been accused by my kids many times of overcooking!).
In a selling role your “ingredients” include the customer’s interests, the people involved in a decision process and information you need from them. There is a process to follow in order to eventually close the deal. Skip an ingredient (e.g. key person at your customer) and you may not get the result you want.
Dealing with things that can go wrong
In cooking there are many things you cannot control such as quality or availability of ingredients, performance of others doing prep work and functionality of an oven. If you are a server and deliver a meal to early, you have an annoyed customer. Your ability, in either role, to deal with issues when things go wrong is critical to success.
If you are selling for a technology manufacturer and deliver a large shipment to a building too early, your customer may not be ready and have logistics issues (and not be happy). Deliver later than expected and, well…you know how the customer will react.
Your experience in orchestrating with other resources to make things happen, to resolve issues can prove valuable.
You may be better qualified than you realize
If you have had success cooking for others and/or enjoyed a server role you may have more of the “key ingredients” for a selling role than you thought. If you decide to pursue a selling role, and someone challenges you on a perceived lack of experience…draw some of these parallels. You probably have some great stories to tell about overcoming adversity that surely will help you “connect” with the Sales Manager!
Feel free to contact me directly for ideas and/or help on this or other topics!
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