What Do You Really Think of Salespeople?

It’s an interesting question.

A new sales coaching client this week was wrestling with generating sales for her start up business. Even though she really wants to make her new venture successful and knows in her mind that she needs to generate revenue, I could see something was holding her back. I suspected that a big part of this was connected to her strong, positive identification with her previous profession.

I knew it would make her uncomfortable, but unless we got her challenge on the table, our session would be wasted. The elephant in the room was her opinion of sales people, and what had “plugged her in” was when I asked her about her sales philosophy. Turns out, she has such a low opinion of sales people, that the thought of becoming one had her in tremendous conflict.

When I asked her to describe salespeople, she said words like “pushy, irritating, dishonest, loud”. When I asked her to describe people in her previous profession, she shared qualities such as “honest, hard working, caring, good listeners”.

Hmmm.

While she won’t be the last person to describe sales people this way, to really help her, I needed to help her build a new frame around this or she was never going to sell anyone anything. And her business would go broke pretty quickly. Not good for her, not good for all of the prospective clients she’d be able to help.

So we linked the qualities she identified with from her previous profession, and reminded her that she is still that person, albeit now she has a way of helping many more people than ever. That she will still need all of the qualities she is proud of, the skills she’s honed over the last 15 years.   Now however, we were going to add some additional skill sets, processes and thinking.

She was happy with that.

Then I asked her: “What if we swapped (name of her old profession) to business owner? Could she identify with that?”

She could.

“What else will we need to add to this list if we change the descriptor to successful business owner?” Words like systems, clients, revenue, marketing, profitable, sales knowledge all started to be added to her list.

Phew!

Then and only then could we move on to ideal client profile, how to build her sales funnel, sales process and metrics, collateral and targets.

Because I have to say I feel sad whenever the association with salespeople isn’t positive. Yes, we’ve all had terrible sales experiences, but we’ve all had terrible experiences with doctors but we don’t generalize that to all doctors. We’ve all had bad service at a restaurant, but we don’t vow to never eat out again. So why do sales people get special treatment?

My sales philosophy is that I’m there to create value, and the best way I can determine that is to work with people with whom there is a fit: skills, values, sales culture, philosophy, goals. I’m not in the convince/persuade variety at all.

My goal is to create the opportunity for my prospective clients to convince me of my value to them. Then and only then will it work, because they’re in, they want to partner, and together we can achieve their goal. I love being able to do that, and enjoy the process along the way.

 

I’m on a mission for all salespeople to know their why and live it with every customer interaction with humility and finesse. But it comes with a warning….it’s addictive. And going back to lazy sales will never ever again be an option.

 

 

View our other posts

What to do when your poor performer thinks they are a star

We’ve either got one in our teams right now, we’ve had one in our teams before, we are one** or we’ve been one - the poor performer who thinks they’re a star. The evidence is all around them: the declining or poor results, consistent poor feedback from multiple...

Connection is your ticket to the dance

We live in a world where we give our babies smart phones to play with, our children devices to watch at the table when eating out and where our teens communicate in social media shorthand using touched up images to get more likes.   We complain about the time we...

Don’t argue with Dr Phil

“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge,” says Dr Phil.  And it’s hard to argue with Dr Phil.  I mean, he’s Dr Phil after all!!   I don’t know about you, but over 25 years working with sales people, the fastest performance improvements happen with those...

2019 is here!

February 2019 is on our doorstep…. My clients are already starting to schedule meetings for January for work set to commence in February NOW.  That’s right: in December. Now some of you reading this will be all over it.  You’re way ahead of me.  In fact, you were...

Dealing with Decision Inertia

First it was “Before Xmas”; now it’s “In the New Year”. Next it will be “Before Easter”….   Customers making decisions to work with us seem to use these events as delay tactics….They’re used as unexpected hurdles making it difficult to sign off. Why? It’s not...

Xmas is a time for Gratitude

We don’t have Thanksgiving in Australia, but it’s a brilliant ritual that makes people stop and think about their blessings. In business, it’s easy to get so wrapped up (no pun intended) in our own Xmas festivities, and we forget that it actually presents us with an...

Get Busy

2018 is nearly over: have you achieved all you set out to?  Or, did you plan to set out to achieve anything at all?   With the right plan you set yourself up for success because you're able to resource, staff, train, market and sell with a purpose.  Moreover,...

Break Down or Break Through?

As we approach the end of the year, it’s easy to feel exhausted.  Some of us are feeling the stress of completing projects before Xmas.  It can feel like “the quickening”!   Throughout the course of our lives most of us have gone through a particularly difficult...

When to say no

“ Getting to Yes” was a best selling sales book because as sales people, we look for the green lights, head nods,  agreement. Yes is music to our ears and the word we find ourselves saying to questions about our ability to deliver. “Getting to no” would be an...

Who Are You When No One’s Watching?

If there were no checks on you and perhaps no consequences, how differently would you act? Would you still do the work, pay the bills, put in the hours perfecting a skill, do the exercise, eat the vegetables? In fact I asked myself recently why I put so much pressure...