When I ask you to think of a professional worker, what comes to mind? A doctor,
accountant, lawyer (sometimes), engineer, college professor and last on the list –
a politician, all are fair answers. Probably none of you thought of a salesman (and
I mean that in the plural – men and women – old school).
Think about the place of a salesman in American society, most of the time he is
the butt of a joke or seen as dishonest, lacking respect. Yet unlike those other
professions, you can do without a doctor, accountant, lawyer and especially a
politician usually for a day. However, if tomorrow, nobody sold anything to
anybody – America would not exist as we know it.
Yes, there are bad salesmen and we avoid them when we know them. The vast
majority of salesmen are good, outstanding citizens who look out for their
customers, community, businesses and family. They are the backbone of both
small and big businesses that provided a living for each of us in this country. Both
blue collar and white collar workers are overhead while the salesman is profit.
They service us so we can all enjoy the fruits of our labor.
It’s about time we acknowledge the profession of Sales. Like any other profession
there is the good, the bad and the ugly. After almost 40 years as a sales
professional, I can tell you that the good stick out in the crowd while the bad and
ugly get talked about. What travels quicker bad news or good? It’s human nature
for the bad, however; it is the good that makes a difference.
When is the last time you approached sales as a profession? It’s time for you to
reach and train for the good to make a difference in your sphere of influence. Do
you think about becoming better at your profession or do you let your profession
get the better of you?
What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What can you improve?
What can you delegate? What makes you different from your competition? Yes, I
ask a lot of questions – It’s the only way I know to get the answers to help others;
that and listening.
An old sales proverb, you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that
proportion. I want customers to tell me what is important to them. It is the only
way I know if what I am selling can help them. Better to find out ahead of time
then to try a hard close on them. And if I treat them right, you can always ask
them to refer you to clients that can benefit from your service.
I have found over the years, if you feel it, find a way to ask it. You know if a
customer is not interested. You know when you don’t have their attention too –
better to reschedule then crash and burn. You also will know if what you are
selling is good for them and by having their best interest at heart find a way for
them to buy and enjoy the benefits of your product or service. Do not sell
anything that you personally do not believe in or would not use if you needed it.
Work for a company that treats its customer, employees and products with
respect and quality. There is nothing wrong with making a profit and letting the
owners enjoy the rewards of their risk. The good ones stick out and have loyalty in
the employees, customers and vendors. If you are an owner, seek these qualities
in your company and you will be happy and successful too.
Work hard and smart; both can be achieved at the same time. You have to want
to be greater and improve. Do those things that benefit your customer and make
money. Avoid those that don’t and surround yourself with likeminded people and
companies. Work with the living and let the dead bury the dead.
Believe in yourself and others. Learn from your mistakes and failures while
focusing on your successes and goals. Concentrate on the gifts that God has given
you and encourage others in theirs. Work on the things you can change and pray
for the others. Do what is right and remember you are a professional who is
creating the American dream for others and yourself.
Most importantly be yourself. Do not try to be someone else or worry about
others successes. When training, take away what you can make your own and
disregarded the rest. Have fun and smile a lot. Actions are better than words.
Remember you care about what you are selling, the customers you help and the
company you work for; the professional learns and knows when to be positive
and when to be negative to best service their clients.
In the latest film about Winston Churchill, “The Darkest Hour”, at the end of the
film, when he finishes his transformational speech to parliament, he turns to
another member and says, “The man who cannot change minds, cannot change
anything.” That is the essence of sales; changing minds and hearts for the
betterment of mankind. We must be the professionals to make that a reality.
Post by Tres Kerns, Sales Manager for Edgewater Sports Marketing