Two shoe salesmen go to a remote island to break into new markets. After a few days, one salesperson calls the office and says, ‘I’m on the next flight. I can’t sell shoes here. Everyone goes barefoot.’ The other salesperson sends an email to the boss minutes later: ‘Get ready! The prospects are unlimited. Nobody wears shoes here!’
When you read this, you might have thought about how the first salesperson didn’t take advantage of the many shoeless people and how the second salesperson will be very successful. But, heck, maybe some of you are thinking, who cares, what does this have to do about safety.
Let me respond…..
1. The first sale person is going to be out of work
2. The second salesperson will be financially secure and promoted quickly
3. The third thought, SALES HAS EVERYTHING TO DO ABOUT SUCCESSFUL SAFETY PERFORMANCE!
If you go to Webster’s Dictionary and look up the word “sales,” it says “to exchange a commodity for money.” However, I believe safety and sales both fall in the same categories. I believe safety can be redefined as sales, and I know the only way to get workers bought in is for them to accept expectations and programs through your influence.
When we think about it that way, there’s nothing creepy or sneaky about it. As we talk about influence, we are talking about building relationships, making a difference in people’s lives, and exchanging our services to safety values so people can go home every day.
The difference between average safety professionals and successful ones is staggering. Average safety professionals will hit their goals and objectives occasionally or meet some goals or some objectives, but not all. However, successful safety professionals meet their goals and objectives —EVERY time — in addition to establishing a consistently strong safety culture.
The idea behind this topic is to provide information so that you can understand that safety professionals provide service to our customers. Meaning we serve our workforce and the company leadership. Safety professionals have little to no authority, so everything we believe or want has to be sold to every person. After reading this blog, you will walk away thinking of various tips and ideas to become a more efficient safety professional. Doing this will result in much more significant results.
If you want to exceed your current successes, read the 8 Identified Habits of a Successful Safety Professional. If you need to achieve higher performance, I strongly suggest you consider implementing and integrating the 11 Tips to Becoming a Successful Safety Professional. Following these habits of successful safety professionals will help you become one of the top-selling safety salespeople on your team — or even the organization.
SELLING HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL SAFETY PROFESSIONALS
- Identify and stick to your character – A clearly defined character is crucial to an effective sales process. And a safe person who sticks to that persona effectively generates buy-in. In addition, an effective safety professional must research and become very familiar with the processes and products along with all levels of employees. This gives you the right direction in your selling process.
- Use a measurable, repeatable sales process – Low-performing safety professionals let intuition guide them. High-performing safety professionals use a process that’s optimized to move as many prospects as possible from “connect” to “achieve.” Low-performing safety professionals sometimes let things slip through the cracks. High-performing safety professionals know the state of every person and what motivates people, what actions they’ll take next, and when.
- Know your direction – Being able to sell our ideas is half the battle. Understanding what you’re selling is the other half. People want more access to information (the why) than ever before. To gain their trust and add value, you have to know clearly know what direction to go and why it’s valuable to your workforce.
- Find shortcuts and hacks – Once an excellent safety professional identifies a successful strategy or technique, they use it — again and again, until it stops working. This is very smart. Safety professionals are constantly working against the clock, which means the more time they spend experimenting, the less time they have for actual selling.
- Practice active listening – Most every safety professional I have interacted with struggles with listening (including myself). Successful Safety professionals are entirely present when they talk to people. They’re not thinking about another deal, looking at their phones, or sending funny memes to their team members. Instead, they’re engaged — and as a result, their conversations with buyers are deeper and more meaningful. Active listening may be one of the most complex skills since we typically care more about what we have to say. However, it’scritical. Not only will you build stronger relationships, but you’ll unlock information that’ll help you position yourself in the most efficnet direction.
- Work hard – It’s 5 p.m., and your counterparts have already left the office. The high-performing safety professionals are still in the office. They are tired and some have families, but they’re still sending emails, scheduling meetings, and walking through the facility or site. The idea is that you must be engaged with the workforce and continually sell your ideas. You cannot change a culture from behind a desk.
- Follow up – Many safety professionals fail to effectively follow up after agreeing to help get things done or looking at options. When you fail to follow up, you have lost all respect from that person or group.
- Personalize your message – Instead of following a script and approaching each associate with a “one-size-fits-all” mentality, high-performing safety professionals are committed to learning as much as they can about a person, group or process and will tailor their message. These safety professionals understand their workforce’s unique pain points and explain why following and following their direction is crucial.
TIP TO BECOMING A BETTER SAFETY PROFESSIONAL
- Shadow your colleagues – Want to improve your performance? Identify the best safety professional within your company and ask if you can shadow them. Receiving coaching from your peers is a great way to get better at your job while building solid relationships with your coworkers.
- Practice your people skills – Successful safety professionals have excellent people skills. Its doesn’t matter if you have an extrovert personality or an introvert personality. What matters is your ability to build strong relationships, build respect, trust, and add value to people. Small talk is a great learnable skill — and one that’s crucial to your success. So whether you’re at a job site, plant, or in a meeting, practice making other people feel at ease.
- Be a team player – So much of safety pop culture glorifies the lone wolf. But the best safety professionals know it takes a village to build a successful team.
- Know when to stop – Are you wasting too much time on discussions that just aren’t going in the right direction? If it is, end the conversation and walk away. The next step is to analyze why it went wrong and identify options from now on. Then, you must follow up and try to sell it again.
- Be transparent – The days of telling associates anything is over. Don’t promise anything that doesn’t or will not exist. You could earn temporary success, but it won’t stay for long, and you’ll end up with bad reviews and a poor reputation.
- Always solve problems – Who is your customer? Your employees! Safety professionals tend to be excellent problem identifiers but horrible problem solvers. Don’t identify issues and not provide solutions. A consultative safety approach allows you to be honest with your customers about their need to reduce risk and improve safety.
- Roll with rejection – You won’t win every deal, and some people won’t like you. That’s part of being in safety. And while it’s essential to be thoughtful about how you can improve, it’s crucial to move on quickly from rejection. Experts suggest viewing rejection as proof that you’re pushing the limits. So, examine why you weren’t successful, ask for outside opinions when appropriate, and move forward quickly and positively to bigger and better performance.
- Take breaks – In safety, activity is often correlated with results. However, the more we roll out, the more stress and anxiety we create. Please focus on the top 3 things that will up the level of safety and follow those until they are well embraced and offering results, then consider additional options.
- Believe in what you’re selling – It’s easier to be passionate about — and sell — a safety idea when you genuinely believe in it. The most effective safety professionals follow the processes and believe in their values. Find happy testimonials from employees if you feel “meh” about something you’re selling. Examples of how your ideas have improved people’s safety — both big and small — will reinforce your motivation and give you proof that you are doing the right thing.
- Build personal relationships – One of my mentors is one of the best salespeople I know. He has taught me how to become an effective and successful salesperson, and I have used it in every company I’ve worked for. He is one of the most vital relationship builders. Everywhere he goes, he connects with people— not from a LinkedIn perspective, or the “let’s exchange business cards” way, but in a genuine, the humanist way that makes you want to talk to him again. As a safety professional, relationships are your success. You don’t need Don Draper level of charisma; on the contrary, a desire to help goes a lot further than a magnetic personality.
- They prepare ahead of time – An effective safety professional prepares and gets buy-in and approval before rolling anything out. That means they research and gather all the information they need before the first meeting. After that, you must go in with a contingency plan. This way, you are prepared for challenges or questions and can effectively respond to avoid losing the sale.
SO WHAT, NOW WHAT
There are many ways to succeed in safety. However, your ability to be an effective salesperson will result in success. By implying the habits mentioned above, you will provide a positive sales experience to your workforce. Demonstrating that you have the passion, knowledge, self-determination, and flexibility can take you from an average professional to a high-performing success story.
Denis is an Executive Director at the John Maxwell Group, is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior, Consultant. Denis is currently the Director of Health & Safety for Ferguson Enterprises. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique, passionate, and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader.
You can contact Denis at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture training, DISC Behavioral consulting, or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.