I don’t know about you but for me salespeople had a bad reputation. I think it’s simply because we think they pretend to give a damn to get us to open our wallets. It’s a bit sleazy. And there’s all kinds of characters we remember from books like “Death of a Salesman” or Simpsons Characters like Gil the salesman who switches careers a lot and always fails. They have a looser vibe attached to them don’t they? And let’s not start about real estate agents.. how much money they charge for a PDF and a half-assed tour through the house, right?
Well, I changed my mind about all of that. People who work sales are now like heroes to me. Let me explain why.
First of all, I am a believer in the free market, in business and entrepreneurship. Think about it.. what would the world look like without entrepreneurs? All the things we do and own.. most of them we’ve purchased from businesses that started as startups, sometimes recently and sometimes long ago.
Anyway, SALES is a big part of business, especially when starting out. Rarely can you open shop and people will just come (although the right shop at the right time might get lucky - “the tide lifts all boats”, they say). One has to go out and find customers, at least until the business reaches a point where it just works by itself.
And it’s not easy. You have to go out and talk to people and suddenly you are the “sleazy” salesperson..
At least that’s kind of what I thought when I started a business many years ago with two other guys. And we decided we had to cold-call businesses. Man, that was HARD. I completely believe when people (one example is Youtube Business Coach Sam Ovens) say they had to drink alcohol just so they can do the calls.
I would say it’s definitely harder than chatting up a girl on the street… just to give a comparison.
Buuuuuut.. it’s necessary. At least for many businesses it is. And what is necessary simply has to be done, but I believe the right mindset is key.
Just as people who think money is the root of all evil will avoid getting rich, consciously and subconsciously, so will salesmen fail who believe they are sleazy liars. So… the answer is selling stuff that we believe is really good for the customers. Or by qualifying them to see if there’s a fit. The golden path is when the salesperson honestly can say .. “yes, this is good for you and your situation”, or “no, this is not for you, I don’t recommend we do business”.
Anyway, I wish I could say I have been in business for 20 years selling stuff.. but I haven’t. I’m just dumping my thoughts here.. and mixing in some of my own experience. Yes, I did cold calls, but it’s been a while.
I just got inspired to write about this topic because last week a salesperson came over to my place. He was selling some sort of installation safety checks for the house. And even though I didn’t buy from him I realized a) that I respect what he does, that b) it isn’t easy - at least for me, and c) it’s curious that salespeople have a bad rep when in fact they are key to businesses and businesses are key to our lives.
Of course there are also many businesses who don’t have direct customer contact. Or they can get it all done with Facebook ads and automatic sales funnels and whatnot. (Although probably they would need to talk to people first, unless they want to spend a fortune trying different ads.)
Thanks for reading, stranger on the Internet!
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