Wait, did this list say salesmen, or counselors?
I thought it was really interesting the cross over between what counselors do everyday, and what a salesperson does. Not so different, right?
So, what are these top 5 traits from Geoffrey James’s article, 5 Traits of Highly Successful Salesmen:
4. Problem Solving
From your training and practice as counselors, therapists, and coaches, I would say these are things you probably have down cold. And if you don’t, they are skills you practice every day. And look at the bullets he uses to describe “Problem Solving” – doesn’t that pretty much sum up exactly what you do with your clients?? So you pretty much have everything it already takes to be a great salesperson and marketer of your services, or at least 4 of the 5, so what is #1?
The assertive piece, as it is defined in the article (aka “closing skills”), may not be something you practice every day in your office with clients, but this is the last piece of the puzzle in sales! If this isn’t something you are already comfortable with, all you have to add to your toolkit is one thing! And general assertiveness (again, maybe not how it is described in the article, which is really more a “closing” skill) is probably something you are comfortable teaching your clients, right? and you are probably pretty comfortable being assertive about your boundaries every day too, aren’t you?
Sales begins with making people feel heard and appreciated. Sometimes you really don’t need anything else if you have done this!
And all sales really boils down to is: understanding the problem by asking the right questions, being empathetic about it, diagnosing the problem, and explaining to people that you have the best solution. And if it is outside your comfort zone a bit to convince people that you will solve their problems best, know that you have won more than half the battle if they feel like you thoroughly understand what that problem is in the first place! And that is actually where you, as counselors, have an advantage over a lot of other people.
I understand that there is a lot of trust that is essential to a client relationship, so it may not always be appropriate to be pushy- even in the assertive vs aggressive way described in the article, and I am very sensitive to this dynamic. However, you are excellent at what you do, aren’t you? And people should know it! You can express it in a confident and humble way. And if you are interested in any large organization contracts, they expect you to make a compelling case. They are probably going to have to convince their bosses, so if you do that work for them, they have no excuses not to hire you!
If you can make people feel heard and appreciated, I can take it to the finish line by helping you convince them that you are the best at solving their unique problems.