In this instalment of interviews with high-performance sales professionals, Tom sits down with his good friend James Le, who works in Major Accounts Sales at ADP Canada. Spectacularly, James is now in his 10th year at ADP and has qualified to be part of the President’s Club 4 times – an elaborate overseas trip only select high-performance sales professionals can achieve. In fact, Tom remarks that in past conversations with James, he’s been impressed by how seriously ADP takes sales and sales training. Therefore, in this short interview, Tom and James discuss what has helped them become high-performance sales professionals and how James learnt how to sell.
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Table of contents | How a top tier sales professional learnt how to sell
How did you learn how to sell?
I’ve been fortunate to work for one of the best sales organizations in the world that prides itself on sales training. I’ve had consistent, ongoing training since I started my career in sales. I remember being assigned a mentor, role-playing, online webinars, learning from my peers, instructor-led training, online and in-classroom courses, and most importantly, applying what I learned in the field in front of my clients. Most recently, I’ve learned to sell through social media from social media Gurus and experts within my organization. There are many people throughout my career that have influenced me and helped me get better as a salesperson.
What do you do to improve in sales?
I read online blogs, research documents, and follow websites that discuss the latest in sales, insights etc. My company also does ongoing sales training that I participate in.
What is your greatest sales success story?
This sale included strategy, diligence, beat out the competition, patience, teamwork and hard-work.
One of my clients was using a legacy product that they wanted to upgrade to our latest cloud-based solution. During my initial meeting, we had discussed their requirements, and one requirement that came up was a deal-breaker. The meeting went well but ended very shortly as we were not able to meet their one requirement.
I had followed up with the client and thanked them for their time. I did some research and sent them an email with some data that would help me overcome the requirement we couldn’t meet. I did not hear back for 4 months until one day, and I received a phone call that they were interested again and wanted to meet.
Something had changed during the 4 months, and they had many discussions/meetings around that topic. They had advised that they were going to put out an RFP (request for proposal) to select a vendor. We went through a 200-page questionnaire document and submitted our RFP. We were shortlisted to move to the next step and demo our solution. After 8 months including subsequent meetings, emails and phone calls, the client had let me know they were going to proceed with us. All that hard work was not just done yet, as we went through our terms and conditions and pricing negotiations. The client signed the agreement several months later, and we are currently working with our consultants to set up their new solution.
What tips can you offer fellow sales professionals?
I have several tips I can offer.
- Heavily research your prospects. Search their website for their goals/mission, understand who the stakeholders are, search on LinkedIn and find out who you are meeting with and their background.
- Customers will buy if you can show them the value of what you are selling.
- Find out what their business challenges are and how your product/solution can help them achieve their goals.
- Put yourself out of your comfort zone. The only way to learn and get better is through experience. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as you will only get better.
- Seek opportunities that will challenge you as sales is consistently evolving and look to move to the next level of sales.
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