by Don F Perkins
The problem with salespeople is that they are always trying to sell you something.
Not On Your Life
I was reading from Robert Terson’s new book yesterday “Selling Fearlessly”. There’s a section where Bob’s talking about his son Jake; about how he wouldn’t dream of being in sales. “He would swim the ocean from Haiti to Cuba in shark infested waters before he would become a salesman.” notes Bob. I can totally relate Jake, and yet, here I am working in sales. I’m what you might call a reluctant salesperson. I know some of my colleagues have a problem with that, so let me explain:
You’re Pushy And Obnoxious
I have a problem with salespeople, just as Bob’s son Jake does, probably because I equate sales with the pushy, arrogant sales people who have tried to coerce me into doing things that were not what I wanted to do time and time again. The last thing I want is for people to see me like that! Now I know intellectually that not all salespeople are like that, but some are, and it has caused me to be prejudiced toward them all. Is that fair? No. Is it reality? Hell yes, and I know I’m not alone.
You’re Not Fooling Anyone
The stigma of the sleazy salesman runs deep and wide as the muddy ole mississippi. This is why companies don’t call their salespeople salespeople anymore. According to my employer, I am a “digital media consultant.” That way, they reason, customers will not run and hide when they see me coming. Guess what? Customers are not fooled! As Dave Brock says:
“Let’s give our customers credit. They know we are sales people, they know that we will be trying to present our products and services, possibly persuading them to buy. They want to determine if we have the potential of solving their problem, if they are interested in talking to us further.”
So be honest with yourself and with your customers. If you are in sales, you are in sales. Own up to why you are there, and move on to why they should bother to talk with you.
You Talk Too Much
One of the other problems with salespeople is that they talk too much. We’ve all been there. Some guy corners you and proceeds to kill you with death by blather. You watch in amazement for a while, because you wonder: is he getting oxygen by osmosis or something? Because damn, he hasn’t stopped talking long enough to sneak in a breath. One such salesperson I remember, probably because of some power coaching program about controlling the flow of the conversation, would ask me “questions” instead of just blathering on for an hour. She would ask a question and then nod yes or no as she told me the “right” answer. So they weren’t really questions and she wasn’t really asking, they were some bastardized form of coercive speech which ultimately had the same negative result on me as the blathering dude. RUN AWAY! It’s a SALESPERSON!!
Why You Got To Be Like That?
I don’t consider myself a top salesperson. I’m above average, but no superstar. I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a sales superstar. However, I do get a lot of great feedback from my customers about how much they like working with me. Because I ask real questions. Because I listen to what they have to say. Because I help them see what’s possible. Because I treat them with respect. These are all comments customers have volunteered upon signing contracts with me. The problem with salespeople is that they are always trying to sell you something. When we’ve done it right though, it becomes something else. It becomes a partnership where both buyer and seller get what they want, even become friends in the process. I can live with that. I don’t mind being in sales, knowing I have done so without making the problem worse.
What else makes you cringe about salespeople?