At its core, sales is all about connecting with people. And for Michael Bingham, that’s hands down the best part of his job at Cox Communications.
“I get to talk to so many people in a day, and sometimes they’re just sweetest people in the world,” he said. “Even if I’m not closing a sale, it can still be just a great conversation.”
Michael is a seasoned sales pro, with 20 years of experience under his belt, including the last 13 years working on the inside sales team at Cox Business (part of the Cox family of businesses). He’s been a top performer throughout his time at the company and a Winner’s Circle recipient — one of the highest honors for salespeople at Cox. More recently, Michael’s role has expanded beyond Phoenix, AZ: he’s now a national outbound account executive for inside sales.
“It’s exciting because it has opened up a world of opportunities and businesses in different areas,” he said.
Here, Michael shares some of his best sales advice based on his real-world experiences and successes at Cox.
Prepare, but don’t get stuck on research.
Sales is an action-oriented career — and while Michael believes in taking the time to prepare, it’s also important to jump right in.
“I tell this to all the new hires because it’s the activity that’s going to make you or break you,” Michael said. “You could spend 10 minutes looking around and researching a customer, and then you pick up the phone and they’re not there. And then you spent most of your day doing that and it’s just a waste of your time.”
Be ready to flow with the conversation.
On a similar note, recognize that the sales script you’ve created may not go exactly according to plan — and that’s OK.
“I have a quick agenda in my head, but there’s a certain amount of winging it in anything you do in sales,” Michael said. “I just have a conversation and ask them questions.”
Stay focused on the customer.
Proudly represent your products and services — but actively listen to what the customer is telling you. Pay attention to what they want and need
“Ask questions about what they need to succeed, rather than focusing on what you need to succeed.”
Use the TED acronym.
Start your questions with statements like “Tell me,” “Explain for me” and “Describe for me,” to lead a two-sided conversation.
“So [for example], tell me what your business is about. Explain to me how that would affect your business. Describe to me your current situation,” Michael said. “It leads to active listening and getting more questions out of somebody.”
Any salesperson worth their salt knows that hustle wins the game. Taking initiative goes a long way toward building lasting relationships and business success.
“You have to put the work in to get the end results,” Michael said. “You’re the only one who’s going to make your phone ring.”