Customer Facing Skills that Win!

There is no easy way to be the best.  Part of it is achieving skills and attributes, and part of it is just plain hard work    The skills in this post will make a noticeable difference quickly.  Paying attention to these, and you wil see the benefits early and often.  Always be the best!


I hope I never sound like a broken record, but there are some ‘rules’ that I believe in.  One of them is being prepared; another is mastering the relationship.  Those two are important, but there are more.  Realize that you can change the game with these skills and activities.

It is imperative that you have command of some very important skills to help you be successful.  We are going to make the assumption that you have a command of the requisite sales skills.  Warning…those skills are not enough.  You need skills regarding relationship building, responsiveness, and being effective.

It is work being prepared, just as it is work doing those activities that make you effective.  There is no way out around that.  I assure you…these things will reward you for the rest of your career.

Skills and Activities that Change the Game!

Be an Expert or a SpecialistThe Expert

Visit these BSJ articles - Your Customer Needs an Expert and More On Being an Expert

Yes, your customer does need an expert.  They may not have told you, or they might have used some key phrases such as, “I need someone who understands my business.”  Customers do not want pretenders so study your trade and your area of specialization.  When you specialize, you will want to get some certification, accreditation, or degree.  In the absence of those being available, you will want some recognition notoriety.  One way or another, you want to be recognized.  Don’t take this one for granted as it definitely changes the game.

Network Effectively

Visit these BSJ articles– Networking for the Black Sales Professional and Know Your Elevator PitchNetworking

Whether you’re a sales professional that works for a larger concern, or an entrepreneur who runs a one-person shop, you need to hone your networking skills to a degree that you are effective and efficient.  You know the importance, as the professional who is solid at networking effectively is never without someone to present to.  Yes, it is speed dating at its finest but there is no activity like it that can yield these types of favorable results.  You will get a lot of practice at this and a lot of time for trial and error.

Create Deep Enduring Relationships

Visit these BSJ Articles – Deepening Your Customer Relationships and Deepening Your Customer Relationships Part II.  I would also suggest visitingRelationship Should You Ask your Customer for Feedback?

Unless your sales job is transactional such as a one-time sale, you will need to have an actual relationship with your customer.  You will need to get to know them, listen to them, and be responsive.  If you cannot develop a relationship that is more than casual, you are always at risk for another sales professional.  Relationships take time, develop dependence, and generate trust.  Who will risk their position, project, and profits on you and your product if you have not been able to develop a relationship?

Be ResponsiveUltimate Sales Professional

Visit these BSJ articles – Responsiveness – the Objective of the Sales Professionaland Following-Up! – Correspondence Creates an Edge.

Being responsive and exceeding expectations can separate you from other sales professionals.  Excellent follow-up is an activity that needs more attention.  It can begin to give you a special preference that accrues to someone that others can only hope to copy.   The responsive professionals are in demand because they do the things that others only do intermittently.  They communicate, keep commitments, and look toward the future.  This is a requirement to be the Ultimate Sales Professional (BSJ – Ultimate Sales Professional 1Ultimate Sales Professional 2, and Ultimate Sales Professional 3) as it definitely separates the professional. Responsiveness is easy to talk about, but more difficult to do, as it requires you to exceed customer expectations, and be what your company needs as well.  It can be done, and you will see that at a point, these two different objectives intersect at a point.

Be Memorable

Visit this BSJ article– Make Yourself Memorable

Thank You NoteIt is not good enough to be good, or even the best, if you are not remembered!  Take the time to make sure they remember you as it will show well for all reasons.  Always be the professional and never miss a chance to present your (yes, your) brand, as opposed to the company you work for.   Your brand in addition to being responsive and all of the other fine attributes, you stay close.  You drop a handwritten note showing your appreciation.  You pass along emails and newsletters that should concern the customer.  You strengthen the customer’s knowledge and he becomes dependent on you.

Master the Skills – Make the Money

There are more skills that you might need, and more that are crucial at different times, but in the sales arena, if you put these together along with the skills that make you accomplished within the organization that you work in, you can ‘change the game’.

Review the articles that I have shown, and you will see the specifics. Remember, you cannot gain mastery without working hard at these.  You will be accomplished with them!

Your comments are always welcome.

Closing Two Sales at Once! The Difference Between Success and Failure!

In light of racial perceptions and racial preference, it is not uncommon to have to  pass muster like this.  Although it is wrong that an individual would have to clear a hurdle on the basis of the color of their skin, gender, religious affiliation, age, or sexual orientation, it does happen.

However, you can win in this situation, and the facts below illustrate that.  Those Black sales professionals who have faced this know that they experience a  personal victory when they are successful and recognize the covenant we all share to be the best.


If you are a Black sales professional it is no secret that closing a sale is a calculated action; part of a process that we call the professional sales call.  There is no doubt that if you are in this group you will need to have a strong sense of when to close and the technique to close both sales.

Closing on Two Fronts

The close has to come on two separate fronts.

  • My company/product is the best for you and is an acceptable price to create the value and utility that your organization needs
  • Although potentially different because of my pigmentation, I am the best choice of sales professional to handle the needs of your organization now and in the future.

There will be those that may disagree that this happens.  Don’t be naïve, as it is common.  Note the examples below:

  • A young sales person has to make the sale that they are a viable option by showing that they can provide the knowledge and have access to the wisdom and experience which when coupled with the energy of youth can be the best option.  This is right and natural.
  • Several years ago women wrongly were forced to close the credibility sale by showing that they were able to prove personal credibility and dependability.  This was fundamentally wrong, and still is.

When I was a young sales professional, I found out that I had at least two items against me.  At a time when there were a much smaller number of sales professionals who were black, I was Black, and was a mere 22 years old.

I was selling in a commercial market (B2B) where there were few Blacks were experienced, and knowledge and experience were to be touted as an advantage.  I quickly learned that you had to find compensators for these “disadvantages” while at the same time I needed to keep doing the fundamental activities that give you a chance.

Learning how to close the sale and the personal/professional sales was one of those activities.

Closing the Product/Service Sale

Knowing how to close the product sale can be scientific, yet still is an art.  Recognition that the close is not always designed to get an order but can systematically be used to determine what objections are out there is important.

There are numerous books out there on closing and having read some, they all have something to add on closing techniques and styles as well as when to close.  I am not going to cover them here, yet will in a future post suggest some books and blogs on closing that you might want to consider.

The main purpose of this post is to discuss the sale that you must make even if your product/service is the best one out there.

Closing the Personal/Professional Sale

This sale is less defined.  Much of this sale is actually done as a prequalification. This is a set of activities that you undertake from the beginning of the relationship.  This set of activities is different for each customer/prospect, as each one comes with a different set of perceptions and preferences.

It is during this calculated process that you get a customer/prospect comfortable, confident, and willing to do business with you.  Is this different than with any other sales professional?  They answer is probably yes.  It is different because in many cases you are altering perceptions, and attempting to change preferences.  A big order, yet something that can be accomplished.

Female Black sales professionals who sell know this more than any other segment.  It is better than it used to be, yet still difficult.  They are challenged to hurdles.

Here are some of the items that you are trying to sell in the Personal Sale:

  • Professionalism
  • Responsiveness
  • Credibility
  • Expertise/Specialty
  • Personal Accomplishment
  • Effectiveness
  • Vision

Your customer/prospect will recognize that if you have these traits and one more, the customer’s organizations interest in mind, you have everything you need to have value for his/her organization.

Many of the items above are linked to the Black Sales Journal Article that defines them in depth.  Please take a look at them to get a fairly in depth look what these attributes entail.

Make It Work!

Now back to the issue of prequalification. This is the process of gaining the necessary credibility to make the personal sale.  It is giving the necessary information to the client in “bite sized” portions so that it can be digested and absorbed.

You will prequalify by activities such as sending your customer/prospect your newsletter regarding his businesses industry, referring him to your customers who are next door (who he knows) to get an idea of your expertise, and share with him your ideas about how companies with your profile can get benefit in the future from you product/service.

In Summary

You can correctly position a sale of a product and prepare a close, yet if you are wise, you will realize that perceptions and preferences can be overcome, yet not in a one hour meeting. Prequalifying can have success by getting agreement and clarifcation on many of the issues that would be in question at the final sales call.

These items include providing references to give confidence (professionalism, responsiveness, expertise, etc.), making suggestions for changes and visions of the future (vision, expertise, effectiveness, etc.), and developing the deep relationship that lets all of this gel together.

Don’t miss the opportunity to feed it slowly to your customer early on.  If you give references, suggestions, and expertise information all at the end, when you present your proposal, you have missed an opportunity.  It is too late.

Close both sales and get the order.  Good selling.

Your comments are welcome.  I can be reached at