From Ground Zero to Sales Hero

Raise your hand if you want to become a top 1% sales rep.

I’m guessing it's the majority.

Nevertheless, winning in sales today requires much more than knowing your product and persuading clients.

Unfortunately, many experienced businesses have learned this the hard way, while some never learned it at all.

But what if you're at the beginning of your sales journey? You still lack the knowledge and experience to understand what works and what doesn't.

In other words, how can you establish a sales organization from the ground up?

John Westman is our go-to expert of the day.

Today, we discuss the core beliefs, mindset, and behaviors that can drive a successful sales organization and help you transform from a novice to a sales hero.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Successful Sales Organization From Scratch

1. Understand What Your Buyer Wants

It all starts with understanding your buyers. As John mentions, "I spent my career observing, learning about, learning from, and then trying to recreate top 1% sales performance and top 1% sales management performance and then in the role of an instructor to have an opportunity to keep fresh, an obligation to keep fresh on those things. So I think it starts with what your buyers want."

How? In 3 easy steps:

  • Research and Analyze: Study your target market to identify what your buyers value most.
  • Ask Questions: Engage with potential customers to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points.
  • Listen Actively: Pay attention to what is being said and what isn't being said during interactions.

2. Build a Customer-First Culture

“What's great about the sales function is you're the ambassador of your company, you get the chance to help make other people's lives better, and, oftentimes, it comes back tenfold to you.”

Organizations should actively involve their customers in evaluating their behavior and needs.

Forget about a one-size-fits-all strategy. Instead, focus on what each buyer wants.

Moreover, engage with your buyers as partners, guiding them through their purchasing process and helping them succeed. Build genuine relationships based on trust and mutual benefit.

When customers see you as a friend, they are more likely to share valuable insights and refer you to others.

3. Embrace Curiosity and Positive Language

Language matters in sales. No one likes feeling sold, but everyone loves buying. The idea is to help your customers make informed decisions, not trick them into a sale.

Therefore, be genuinely curious about their needs and employ positive language to reduce stress and build trust.

For example, replace aggressive terms like "target" and "close" with "potential future friend" and "open a financial relationship."

The result? A friendlier and more collaborative environment.

4. Ask Questions, Shut Up, and Listen

Selling is about asking questions to get the right answers, not making statements, allowing you to avoid causing conflict and instead understand the needs and emotions of your customers.

"When you're fully engaged in listening, you can also look for what isn't being said."

Ask your customers about their experiences, needs, and impacts on stakeholders.

Listen fully before offering solutions. And, more importantly, give a few seconds after customers finish speaking to show you're considering their words.

5. Take Notes

But avoid using devices, as they distract and put barriers between you and the customer.

Instead, take notes with a pen and paper. Taking handwritten notes can improve memory retention and show your commitment to the discussion.

If you're in a video call, let the other person know you’re taking notes.

“When you're really trying to serve someone to make their life even better, taking notes is absolutely required.”

What have we learned today?

Starting a sales organization from scratch requires a mix of understanding your buyers, building a customer-first culture, using positive language, asking the right questions, and taking handwritten notes.

Remember, in sales, you are the ambassador of your company, and your efforts to make other people's lives better will often come back tenfold to you.

Now that you have learned how to successfully build a sales organization from scratch, discover the full list of episodes at The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you enjoy the show, instructions to rate and review it are found here.

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