An acquaintance of mine was asking me this morning about sales. She just started in the industry of sales and said she didn’t know anything about sales. I was dumbfounded. Things which I take for granted and thought everyone knew, I find out they don’t. I told her it’s like dating. I asked her if she had ever had a relationship with someone. She said yes. I told her, “Then you have done sales.”
It was interesting because I was brought back to when I first put on the hat of salesman. I remember my boss, Julie Brazeau a beautiful French-Canadian woman, was my boss. She said, “I think you have what it takes to do sales.” I said “Really?” So I tried. That was more than 20 years ago. I now realize I have been selling since I was selling Boy Scout Fair tickets at age 8. When I collected money door to door for Muscular Dystrophy in my teens, I was doing sales. When I was trying to get a date, I was selling. When I was trying to get out of the house and go do something with my friends, I was negotiating with my mom. That was selling. Generally considered the greatest salesman ever, Zig Zigler said that we are all selling to each other all the time. We sell our boss on the idea that we need to take a break from our work day and go eat lunch or go on vacation. We sell others on the idea of spending time with us. We call that a date. We sell or negotiate how much we are willing to invest in something based on the value we feel that thing carries. That is selling. You are selling a company on how much of your time you are willing to trade for their product or service.
Sales is an emotional decision which is backed up by logic. That is why our political environment gets so ugly in this country. The political sales teams understand that even if you do not feel good about their candidate, they will make sure you hate their opponent. That is why the mud slinging starts. That, to me, is selling gone wrong. I believe a person should be able to present their case on merits and not simply by tearing others down. I will not vote for anyone who can not explain to me, in detail, why they believe what they believe and why they vote the way they vote. The most ridiculous politicians these days are using absolute fear tactics. If you don’t vote for this person the “illegals” are going to steal your jobs, or the Muslims are going to attack you, or that race over there will rape and pillage everything you have worked for and you will not be a patriotic American. STOP THE MADNESS!!! (I got a little off track there)
To me, as Zig says, “Selling is a noble profession, when it is done right.” Let’s face it. No one wants to be sold. But we all love to buy. Buying makes us feel empowered. We can afford things. This makes us good patriotic capitalists. As a man this means that I have done my job and I have been a good provider for my family. For my wife, she knows that as long as she can go shopping and not have to worry about balancing the checkbook at the end of the day then we are doing okay. Thus we each have our necessary certainty in life.
Another thing I learned from Zig is when selling, become a co-buyer. I used to explain this to my clients all the time. I would slide over to their side of the table. I would say “The company is going to make money anyway. I know more about what the company has to offer. Share with me what you are looking for and let’s see if the company has a product that will fit your needs.” I have told many newbies and veterans in the selling industry, “Stop Selling. Become a co-buyer and help them like you would help yourself, or your grandmother.” Love them, respect them, and they will return this to you. This is what it means to be a sales professional. It is what I refer to as “The art of selling without selling.” Just care about people. Help them. The business gets done naturally as it should. I hold so many records in sales from a very successful career in the sales industry. I contribute it all to learning these basics early.
So if you are in sales, please remember these tips. Respect yourself, your industry, and your clients enough to be honest in all you do. This is how you develop trust, create repeat business, generate endless referrals, and establish yourself as a leader.