#1: Peter Snauwaert - How the sales leader had to evolve over the years
Would you like to connect with Peter inside our community?
It’s finally time for the release of our first episode of the Revenue Discussion podcast, with Peter Snauwaert as our first guest.
You might know Peter already from his own podcast “What’s on your mind”, where he talks about mindset, personal growth and selling. In his day-to-day life Peter is active as sales director at Dropsolid. In this episode we dive deeper in Peter’s sales career, the future of sales, what makes a great sales professional and so much more. Enjoy the episode!
In this podcast we covered a wide range of topics, below you can find the key take aways from our conversation with Peter.
1. How do you acheive success in something?
First of all you have to do something that you like to do and do out of self interest, so that In the difficult times you can easily persist.
Second of all you have to just do it. The key to prevent yourself from procrastination and just doing it is “to block yourself”. What does that mean? You have to put yourself in a position so there is no turning back.
For example: during one of his vacation Peter recorded a video of him saying he’s starting a podcast. Nevertheless he hadn’t even recorded one episode, but because the word was out he now had to deliver and start his podcast. Fast forward 2 years, he now has recorded his 144th podcast. You have to just do it and accept that it will be bad the fist couple of times. According to Peter practice doesn’t make perfect but practice makes progression.
Lastly you have to be consistent. In Peter’s case, he makes sure that the publishes a podcast every Tuesday.
2. One of the styles of sales will disappear
You have 2 styles of sales: Push- & Pull-style. Besides that, there are 2 types of sales: value- & volume-based.
The Push-style works better in the volume environment, these are the typical Wolf Of Wallstreet sales. The Pull-style works better in a value-based environment, where you only do a couple of deal a year, the sales cycle is very long. Because of that a seller has much higher value in a value-based environment, the deal depends greatly on your ability to build relationships.
In the future the Push-style of sales will disappear, because of the lack of value that they bring. They will be replaced by for example online stores.
3. What makes a successful sales professional?
In the past I would have answered: hard skills (to close, to convince,…).
In this digital world soft skills are much more important in order to connect to people, than the hard skills (closing, convincing, product knowledge,…). With soft skills we think of skills like: deep listening, going into a dialogue with people and building relationships.
Besides that sales professionals today need to choose education over entertainment. They need to educate themselves with books, podcasts, courses and videos about sales, business and general knowledge like digital transformation. If you don’t have this broad knowledge, it’s impossible for other people to see you as a trusted advisor. To do so, build in habits. For example by listening to an audiobook or podcast while you’re in the car or out for a run.
Another important aspect of a successful sales professional is that he/she must be passionate about the product or service he/she is representing, otherwise they won’t succeed.
Also, a sales professional should build a personal brand, so people know who you are and what’s your expertise. This is key because people buy from people, because they want to go in dialogue with someone.
Lastly, not every sales professional is going to be successful in every organisation. There is not such thing as one great sales professional that is going to be great in selling everything. Find an environment that works for you and is aligned with your values, that’s the key for becoming a truly successful sales professional.
4. Go slow to go fast.
All sales professionals have learned that they have to ask questions and show interest before they can start selling to their prospect. This is completely true, but the problem is that a lot of these professionals ask two questions, think they did the necessary to go to the next step in the process and start pitching. Thinking like this is completely wrong. Questions are not the goal, it are the means to show the prospect that you are interested, passionate and curious about him/her.
The slower you go, the more information you get and the more trust you get from your prospect. By asking good questions and by having great dialogues with your prospect, he will feel more at ease with you. Furthermore the prospect will see you as a trusted advisor and will provide you with all the information you need to make a business proposal later. Even more, you’ll only make a proposal on the moment your customer asks you to create a proposal.
Additionally, by applying this way of working you’ll also see that prospects qualify themselves. For example when you’re having a dialogue with a prospect and you feel that they are not qualified to work with you, you can tell them: “I sense that we are not matching right now”. “Right now” is key here, because you leave the door open for future collaborations. You relieve the person from delivering a hard message, which gives them peace of mind. Over time people will forget what you’ve done, but never forget how you made them feel. In this instance you clearly showed that you had their interests in mind and therefore they will feel like good about you and will think about you when the right opportunity comes along.
The last aspect of “go slow to go fast” is that you have to think in the long run. In order to do so you’ll have to make sure that you have to make sure that you always have enough opportunities in your pipeline, because you never know which opportunity and when this opportunity will convert.
5. In mentoring the mentor learns as much as the mentee
In general people think the mentee always is the one who learns from the mentor. In reality the mentor learns as much as the mentee does in a mentorship. The mentee looks at the world completely different then the mentor does, this provides the mentor with some fresh points-of-view on a variety of things. This fresh view is something experienced sales often miss. They found their magic circus trick and they are going to keep doing this over and over again, even though things are constantly changing and you need to stay up to date with them.
6. Sales targets are just a number
Lots of sales people judge themselves and their performance on the fact if they make their targets or not. This shouldn’t be the case, it’s not because you don’t make your target that you should feel bad about yourself or think you’re a bad performer.
The system of targets is a system in which you can never win. If you don’t make it you’re doing badly, but you’ll still have to make the same target the next year anyways. If you make your target, that’s great, but next year you’ll have to perform even better. So you have to know that it’s a game, but you have to play the game right.
In the end there is no sales professional that has been successful in achieving their target for every single year. You’ll learn from your biggest failures, hardest times and the years that didn’t went well. So If everything always goes well exponentially, you won’t learn a lot. Therefore it’s important to also look at your growth as a person and as a sales professional to judge your progress and success.