Thousands of salespeople are pounding the pavements today, tired, discouraged and underpaid. Why? Because they are always thinking only of what they want. They don't realize that neither you nor I want to buy anything. If we did, we would go out and buy it. But both of us are eternally interested in solving our problems. And if salespeople can show us how their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won't need to sell us. We'll buy. And customers like to feel that they are buying - not being sold.
Customers expect salespeople to stimulate the sales process, to ask the right questions and finally to ask for their business. When this initiative or confidence is lacking, no matter how much they like you personally, they aren't going to respect or value you as a business partner.
We have to think of society's portrayal of salesmen as not true to life but as that great American character making it against the odds, the hustler. It's not that we tend to think of salespeople as evil hucksters, but that the writers and directors see them as characters relying only on their wit, character and drive.
Grittier students are more likely to earn their diplomas; grittier teachers are more effective in the classroom. Grittier soldiers are more likely to complete their training, and grittier salespeople are more likely to keep their jobs. The more challenging the domain, the more grit seems to matter.
Salespeople are the most vital people in any business. Without sales, the biggest and most sophisticated companies shut down. Sales are the spark plug in the engine of free enterprise. There is a direct relationship between the success of the sales community and the success of the entire country.
There are only two stimulants to one's best efforts-the fear of punishment, and the hope of reward. When neither is present, one can hardly hope that salespeople will want to be trained or want to do a good job. When disappointment is not expressed that one hasn't done a better job, or when credit is withheld when one has done a good job, there is absolutely no incentive to put forth the best effort.
John Moulder Wilson
We have this myth that extroverts are better salespeople. As a result, extroverts are more likely to enter sales; extroverts are more likely to get promoted in sales jobs. But if you look at the correlation between extroversion and actual sales performance - that is, how many times the cash register actually rings - the correlation's almost zero.
Daniel H. Pink
We have this idea that extroverts are better salespeople. As a result, extroverts are more likely to enter sales; extroverts are more likely to get promoted in sales jobs. But if you look at the correlation between extroversion and actual sales performance - that is, how many times the cash register actually rings - the correlation's almost zero.
I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they're the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.
Sales is a solo endeavor, a cold and lonely venture. Or it can be viewed in that aloof manner. It can also be viewed as something warm and symbiotic, and I think that's what all the best salespeople have in common. They all choose to look at sales as not them versus the world, but rather them with-and for-the world. Sales isn't about getting people to buy from you. Sales is about finding out what problems people have, and offering them solutions.
Here lies the challenge in finding good salespeople. You need excellent empathizers who aren't so empathetic they can't close a sale. And you need people with strong ego needs who can still take a moment to figure out what another person wants. They must be aggressive enough to close, but not so aggressive they put people off. Too much empathy and you'll be a nice guy finishing last. Too much ego drive and you'll be scorching earth everywhere you go. Not enough of either and you shouldn't be in sales at all. It's a miracle anyone can do this job.
Philip Delves Broughton
I've worked with farmers in Zimbabwe who've lost their lands. I've worked with people in Venezuela, under threat of kidnappings, whose external world is unstable. But they have very strong social connections with their family and friends. And as a result, they're able to maintain a greater level of happiness and optimism than I've seen from bankers, consultants, or salespeople who are on the road all the time, who follow jobs separated from their families, and, as a result, find themselves missing out on the happiness that comes from those very connections that they severed.
I have observed several hundred salespeople who were taught to use deceptive practices like 'bait and switch' and encouraged to play negotiation games with customers. They were so stressed by this behavior that they suffered from a high incidence of alcohol and substance abuse, divorce, job-jumping, and low productivity. In the same industry, I have observed countless people who had been taught to sell with high integrity. Ironically, their customer satisfaction, profit margins, and salesperson retention were significantly higher.
Remodeling defies the principles of modern commerce. You shell out great sums of money to people over whom you have no authority or power, yet these same people are constantly insinuating that you're cheap. (It reminded me of medicine, another area where you shell out great sums of money to people over whom you have no authority or power, who make you feel guilty for questioning a bill.) Construction workers are the blue-collar version of the snooty salespeople at Gucci who make $8 an hour but look down on you if you balk at a $400 alligator wallet.
Is the competition really some mythical beast? No, not really. Knowing how to play your group of salespeople as a team, to overcome the group objective of winning the customers support, is the objective. The opposing team in proper viewpoint is not just the similar competing business to yours. Nor is it the competing franchises of your home office. No, in order to really be effective in the market place as a surviving business, you must go beyond that philosophy. You must be willing to expand your viewpoint to fully understand who the competition truly is. Your true competition is simply this: Anywhere that your customer would spend his or her dollars as opposed to spending them at your company or place of business.
To boost bonding among others so they are more apt to work (or play) well together, ask them, when together, to do two powerfully simple things that can be done rather quickly: 1. Write down the ways they are like each other. Hint: Create a level playing field. Writing rather than immediately sharing helps slow thinkers keep up with fast thinkers. Fast thinkers aren't smarter, just different in their thinking processes, and each kind has advantages and pitfalls, so they can accomplish more together than when a majority in a group think and speak at the same speed. Hint: Salespeople are often fast thinkers. 2. Share with each other what they wrote, going around the circle, one by one. Bonus benefit: Other studies show that when you reflect on how you are similar to those with whom you are talking, you pay more attention to them. You care about them more. That spurs the other person to listen more closely to you.