My top outside sales rep is an amazing salesperson – and what he accomplishes is not just inborn talent or luck… nor is it accidental. We’ve worked together for over 15 years and I’ve watched him build up his client-base and reputation from scratch to multiple millions in sales annually.
Here are three things I’ve observed that he does differently:
- PREP SO YOU’RE AN INSIDER
Despite supplying the lighting for often dozens of projects per day, my top sales rep makes SURE a thorough walk-through is done on every project (we’ve built up a support team that can be assigned by sales staff to do walk-throughs, take-offs, project photos, research, etc.).
He is obsessive about being intimately familiar with a project and having his ducks lined up before meeting with a homeowner or project manager. This allows him to make recommendations and position himself on the side of the client as a “vested in YOUR project” partner rather than just a general lighting salesperson.
That prep work is powerful stuff. It usually means clients appreciate and trust his advice because they don’t feel like he’s guessing or making assumptions.
- DISARMING CONFIDENCE & HONESTY
Near the start of every customer meeting, my top sales rep gives a very candid disclaimer:
“Now I’m just going to tell you up-front that if I think you’re considering something you’ll regret down the road… I’m going to tell you. Of course the choice is always yours, but as a lighting expert I don’t do you any favors as a ‘yes-man’. My policy is to be totally honest no matter what. I hope that’s okay with you.”
When that disclaimer is given, you can literally see the relationship change. The customer gains instant confidence in the process about to unfold. It’s remarkable. Very few people are confident enough in their expertise to let a client know up front that they will disagree or make alternate suggestions when necessary. You’re a lighting expert. Be the guide, not just an order-taker.
(note: On being a “guide”, I recommend the book Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller)
- BRING AHA! SOLUTIONS
My top sales rep is constantly searching for the next great solution to common customer problems. There’s an important distinction there. He doesn’t go down to Dallas just to see the new designs and finishes… he’s there on behalf of his customers, scouring for new solutions to their common problems.
Years ago, as LED disk/button lights were just starting to reach the market he started specifying them in place of mushrooms and bare bulb porcelains. He was selling LED disks a year before anyone else even knew that they were a thing because that’s the type of upgrade he hunts for. A better solution to a customer’s problem.
That “don’t sell stuff… solve stuff” mentality is a big key to his success.
Remember that a lot of technology may feel old-hat to you but is still completely unknown to most of your clients. Use great technology and lighting concepts to give your customers Aha! solutions they’ll love (and refer) you for.
Jason Petersen owns Hansen Lighting Inc. a lighting company with multiple showrooms in Utah.
Jason acquired Hansen Lighting out of near-bankruptcy in 2004 and turned the company around by implementing outside-the-box systems and ideas. The company is now one of the fastest growing companies in America (#3087 on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list) and has been recognized as one of the most profitable privately-owned retailers in North America.
Jason is also the co-founder of XOLogic and Lit Living Inc.