Sales and Selling: A Q&A with Jeremy Grainger

Fay Daniels
Marketing Executive - Enterprise | Business West
13th February 2020

A key part of all businesses is to be able to effectively sell your product or service. But what does a good sales strategy include and can anyone be a talented salesperson?

We caught up with Jeremy Grainger, who has been a top salesman for blue chip companies such as GSK, MSD, Lundbeck and The Medical Defence Union to get some top tips!

Jeremy, tell us a bit about yourself, your career background and your present role?

I’m very lucky to have had great experiences both on the stage as an actor and singer, and also in the corporate world as a sales person! From singing on a cruise ship, touring with Elton John, to selling pharmaceuticals and Autocue, I’ve been very lucky! For the past four years I’ve created and run a social media marketing agency, and two online fashion stores. With all this variety of experiences, I’m now branching out into the world of helping others via creating and delivering innovative training courses. 

What difference do you think a good sales strategy makes to a business?

You sometimes hear that “everything’s a sale in life!” Not sure I agree with that, but having a good sales strategy can be fundamental to a vast number of businesses. Getting the “selling,” right can be the difference between success and failure, without stating the obvious. The right strategy is not just about planning for when things and sales are going right; often the key to long term success is what to do when things are not going as planned. 

Do you think anyone can be a good sales person?

I believe that anyone can be a better sales person, in the same way anyone can be a better actor, singer, sportsperson or other. With training, a sales person can greatly improve their skills, but I do think that “people skills,” play such a big part of being a good salesperson that there is an element of natural ability in those who truly excel. 

What is the most important thing to remember when selling?

Clichés are clichés usually because they’re true! For me, the most important thing about selling is that “People buy from people!” Sometimes just by consciously shifting one’s focus away from “you,” to the “client or customer,” you can greatly improve your coming across as a better person, and then a better sales person as a direct result. Of course, there are many other parts to becoming a better sales person too.

What would be your number one selling tip?

Tough one, but following on from my previous answer on sales strategy, my top tip would be concerned with when plan A doesn’t come off. In life we don’t usually think about the background of when things go right, because, well they’ve worked out! The best insights come from when things go wrong (you learn from your mistakes, not as easily as from your successes?!) For me therefore the top tip is to have your plan sorted before you approach a pitch, sales call, sales meeting, specifically know what you’re going to get out of that event IF you can’t close the deal.

Always look to live and fight another day. Look to gain another appointment, or permission to contact the client directly in a day/week/month or so, if you don’t get a “yes,” at that point. Be prepared for a “no,” but of course expect a “yes,” and be of positive frame of mind. always plan to get something however, but avoid being pushy to get a sale at all costs. The “people skills,” bit comes in there as to when to move away from Plan A and go to plan B so as not to come across as pushy! 

Often managing a “no,” now well leads to a great future relationship, and many “yeses!” 


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