Seven ways to defy the sales ‘rules’: Trent Leyshan on being a sales outlaw
“Defy the rules, drive change, deliver more”: Trent Leyshan, author of Outlaw: Fight for your customers and sell without fear and founder of sales company BOOM!, believes the game is changing.
According to Leyshan, the internet has allowed consumers to be more informed than ever and has changed how businesses need to approach sales.
Leyshan began his career as the head spruiker and national sales manager at Big Kev’s, with iconic cleaning products entrepreneur and salesman extraordinaire Kevin McQuay. He has gone on to form his own company and work with partners such as Melbourne’s Crown Casino and the National Australia Bank.
Leyshan told SmartCompany his new book was inspired by his experiences in sales and the need for a sales book which outlined in concrete terms the strategies behind a successful salesperson.
“I guess from my perspective having worked with a lot of high performance salespeople over the last seven to eight years I’ve discovered a lot of insights. This book is the best of the best in terms of my own methods and principles and a lot of things I’ve learnt from others.
“I found lots of high performing salespeople don’t have a set method which can be replicated, which is partly what inspired this book,” he says.
In Outlaw, Leyshan outlines seven key methods to ensuring sales success: Dare to prepare, inspire with words and actions, create a cult personality, harness the power of process, ignite the passion of contagion, influence with a difference, and fight ‘til the end.
SmartCompany had a chat with Leyshan about these sales tactics and what it takes to be successful in a changing game:
1. Dare to prepare
Leyshan says preparation is one of the keys to sales success.
“Often it’s overlooked as it’s not a sexy or glamorous element to the selling process and it takes work. But you’d rather have pain at the front end then the back end. It becomes a real tool not only for being on your game, but being able to transfer value to the customer.
“Preparation actually gives you more time in the end. Working with no preparation relies on things falling into plan, but preparation demonstrates credibility to your customers, peers and managers.”
In the book, Leyshan discusses the idea of “unlocking your inner game” through preparation.
“You need to really focus on what you know works. Passion is not just engaging the customer, it’s actually having a deep passion for what you do and for learning about your product and making sure you’re actually really on your game about your product knowledge,” he says.
Leyshan says, as part of the preparation process, salespeople should also get to know their enemy –the competition.
“Lots of people often disregard their competitors. Most are so focused on what’s in front of them they don’t look outside. Across the board, not enough time is spent on learning and researching what competitors are doing. But taking the time to learn about their practices can translate into improvements and strengths in your own techniques,” he says.
2. Inspire with words and actions
Leyshan sums up the essence of inspiration with a quote from Confucius: “A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” Leyshan writes, “What you say, and how you say it, along with your corresponding actions, determine just how believable and trustworthy you, the salesperson, really are.”
“Actions speak louder than words, you’ve got to talk with the best but also deliver and be accountable. Salespeople that don’t believe in the product won’t be effective. One of the best ways to sell the product is to show how it’s benefited you,” Leyshan says.
He gives the example of animal activist Paul Watson, captain of the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling boat. He says Watson’s cause is powerful because “his actions sell what he does”.
“That’s the best way to actually sell a product or message.”
Leyshan says social media should be used to “connect” and get to know a company’s customer base to better enable the salesperson to target their actions and words appropriately.
“I guess the biggest misnomer is using social media as a blatant avenue to sell stuff. It’s all about the sell and very ‘me’ focused. But the real benefit is in the ability to connect and get to know people and your customers. Never before have we had the ability to have direct access to this information.
“Before you would need someone like Magnum PI, but now we can access this information so readily and easily, but you’ve got to use it in the right way. Businesses must have a social media presence, but not at the detriment of other methods.
“You are still most effective in person and you can’t hide behind social media. It needs to not replace but complement the existing strategy,” he says.
3. Create a cult personality
Leyshan says to distinguish yourself from your competition you must assert your own personality. He writes that “identifying and developing your personal brand is essential for all sales professionals”. This, he says, is because personality can be used to build a sense of commonality and mutual trust.
“Personality helps create a following with your customers where they become fiercely loyal. If you’re true to yourself, this will resonate with people and demonstrate you genuinely want to help,” Leyshan says.
At the end of this chapter, Leyshan states five key action points: Stand out from the crowd and be more interesting than your competitors, listen for the silent undercurrent and get to the heart of what is truly being said, bring back old-fashioned service, don’t forget your own importance, keep your communication simple and focused on the benefits for your customers.
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