For his new book Huippumyyjät, Kim Väisänen from Takeoff Partners interviewed sixteen top-performing salespeople from different industries in order to learn what they all have in common. He says that too often, people view sales either as something mysterious and magical, or as something almost nightmarish. To the top performers, it’s neither—rather, it’s meticulous work backed up by numbers and a good process.
being investors, all three of us at Takeoff Partners work as advisors to our
portfolio companies as well as other organizations. One of the key topics we
often help the leadership with is sales, with which we can help e.g. in the
context of internationalization, setting up or reorganizing the sales function,
or identifying and monitoring the right metrics.
Out of us, Kim
Väisänen has taken the topic and expanded it even further: this year, he
has authored a new book called Huippumyyjät, which loosely translates as
“top salespeople”. In it, sixteen top-performing salespeople from different
industries share their story and insight.
“I got the idea when I was asked
to review #Myyntikirja by Kenner and Leino—it’s a comprehensive roadmap for modern-day sales. I read it and
started wondering what would be the way to expand the topic even further,”
Initially he listed 200 potential
people, which was eventually narrowed down to some twenty he interviewed, and
finally the sixteen that ended up in the book.
“I’ve got newfound respect for
people who do interviews for living—it’s hard work!”
But that work’s now done, and his
book is available for order. Get your copy here.
What matters most is trust
Väisänen says that there’s this
widely accepted belief about sales that as long as you trust yourself, nothing
can go wrong and success will come. And it needs to be debunked.
“Not a single one of the
interviewees thought about sales in that way. Instead, they all highlighted two
things: one is that sales is a process and you need to execute all the steps
meticulously and well. You can’t close a deal if you haven’t properly completed
all the steps prior to the closing. The other is that sales is about to
high-quality everyday work. You put in the effort, you trust the numbers, you
trust the process, and that’s how you get results.”
Accordingly, sales shouldn’t be
viewed as something magical that some people just can do and some can’t.
Väisänen believes anyone who doesn’t dislike sales can learn to do it well.
It’s also not nightmarish grinding
with no joy in it, which is another belief.
“Take out both of these beliefs and you have
the truth. In the end, it all comes down to trust: successful salespeople are
those who can create trust, and do it fairly quickly. And trust is based on
three things: authenticity, empathy and logic.”
As Frances Frei, a Harvard Business School
in her Ted talk, trust is the foundation for everything we do. That applies
better than well in sales.