My wife and I recently had dinner with some good friends and accompanying us was their son, a recent college graduate, and two of his former roommates.
One of those friends was in sales and we got talking. He asked me, “if you could give me one piece of advice; If you could think of one thing I should focus on or learn that would make me successful, what would it be?”
I had a number of responses ready by the time he finished his question:
• “Stay curious. Keep asking that question and others like it.”
• “Network. Build relationships.”
• “Become a student of sales. Continually study your craft. Continually improve.”
Someone else at the table gave their $0.02 worth and it gave me a chance to rethink my initial answer (for the record, I was going to say, “network. Build relationships.”) Here is what I told him:
“Learn how to read people.”
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called, Blink. In it, he talks about “thin slicing,” the act of making quick decisions based on little information. Good salespeople quickly ascertain the personality type of the person they are speaking with—whether they do it consciously or not—in order to determine whether or not they are a good prospect.
It’s a huge time saver.
We all have a target market. Most of the time when you hear that phrase, you think of the size of the company or the type of industry. But it is important to understand we have a personal target market as well.