The Romance of Salesmanship – part two

What drives the successful salesman?

What makes him tick . . . really?  Is it really only the money motivation drive, or is it something more?

Maybe it’s just what is in it for him personally – his sense of providing for himself, his family and his clients or perhaps the conviction and certainty that what he’s doing is the right thing.

Any answer question would have to include all of these factors and many more.

But whether an athlete, artist, executive, salesman or woman or any other occupation, it requires something more than just putting in your time to rise to the top of your chosen profession. You have to give back more value than you take.

This comes from the individual himself, the strength of his intention and sense of personal power. He has to have an abiding faith in his own native ability to make things go right in spite of every invitation to do otherwise, and then follow through and make it happen.

Capability for success
Any attempt to isolate the qualities for success would have to include at least the following elements.

  • An insatiable desire for perfection at the highest level of quality possible. An intense, burning desire to make something happen in spite of all obstacles.
  • A dedicated focus to ignore the “noise and clatter” of day-to-day life that could distract and stop forward motion.
  • The native ability to keep their eye on their chosen goal in spite of anything that appears to thwart it.
  • Giving no credence to doubt or indecision. For them the goal is all consuming, obstacles simply don’t exist in their minds.
  • Maintaining an approach and mental state that is insouciant and carefree. They are able to avoid the inevitable tedium and monotony that comes with any activity and not lose their way in the process.
  • A high tolerance for the inevitable confusion that shows up when you try to do anything worthwhile, and an ability to persist in spite of it.
  • A game plan that includes the idea that failure is not an option.
  • Dogged persistence toward their goals and an insatiable appetite for success.
  • A genuine attitude of friendliness and trust toward people in general.

Basically it is by utilizing a combination of the following three attitudes that make it possible for them to rise to the top of whatever game they set their minds to.

  1. A clear, unstoppable goal or intention.
  1. A sense of individuality while being part of the team.
  1. A genuine love of the game they are playing and the people involved.

Examples of this type of attitude toward work and life are as numerous as they are admirable.

The musician that spends countless hours alone practicing the basics thousands of times until perfected.

The athlete who works on every aspect of his game until he can execute his role flawlessly.

The interior designer that pours over material until she finds exactly the idea she was searching for.

The artist who does a painting over and over until it reflects exactly what he is looking for.

The author, working and reworking a sentence a hundred times, until he gets it to communicate exactly what he intended in a clear, unambiguous manner.

The salesman that puts in those long, lonely hours perfecting his slide presentation, and is still able to bring it off with enthusiasm for an early morning meeting the following day, spite of little sleep.

Admittedly, it is sometimes brutally hard work.

But, they don’t do these things only for financial reward. To them it’s fun.

Though important, the money is often secondary in importance to the accomplishment of their own purposes in the salesmanship game. Money alone can’t buy the sensation of active involvement and progress in overcoming obstacles toward their goals.

The level of commitment necessary to impact another human being is beyond the realm of possibility for most people. For any salesman, who must be indefatigable in his quest, this is part and parcel of the job.

His confidence in himself and what he is selling has to be supreme and unshakeable. The customer will believe in him, because he believes in himself, and often for no other significant reason.

He must have a high tolerance for criticism from others, be able to correct himself and be indomitable in anything he does. He has to be motivated to be in the game and become a player. He has to be a competitor and possess an insatiable thirst to win.

He is interested in other people.

If they are a lucky enough to be born with the qualities mentioned above, or somehow are able to acquire they will often rise to the top. For these people are engaged in life, they are involved in living and they’re not about to let go now.

Active Involvement
The sensation vitae of active involvement and engagement in life are often more important to the professional salesperson than any other valuable consideration.

People who are totally absorbed with the business of living and approach life as an art form always will get more back from their work than they put into it, sometimes in some unexpected ways.

Simple things like . . .

The feel of the clay between the fingers to the potter.

The smell of photochemistry to the photographer in the darkroom.

The touch of freshly turned earth in the field to the farmer as well as the ever-present sensation of the sun on the back of the neck.

The unique sound of leather on horseback to the cowboy or the low, sweet, rumble and comforting vibration of the Harley V-Twin to the motorcyclist.

The joy of a phrase, perfectly written to the poet or the composer;

The smooth balanced stroke of the professional pool player with the hand-made Meucci and the solid click the balls make when perfectly hit to the center of the pocket.

The exquisite execution of a musical line performed by a master musician, only made possible by the unseen endless hours spent practicing in a small room alone with his instrument.

And to the professional salesman, even with the seemingly endless plane flights, with mediocre food, stale recycled air and occasionally unfriendly attendants, are welcome challenges on their pursuit of the next big opportunity and their brand of happiness.

For each of these individuals, those brief moments in their quest contain the priceless pleasure of competence and confidence in self, born of the great attention to the small detail and the persistence sufficient to push a project through to completion in spite of everything.

All these delights are beyond description to those who have experienced them.

This is not work to them. It’s exactly the opposite . . . it’s play.

This is the game of professional salesmanship at it’s best . . . and they’re serious about it!

The reward
It’s almost impossible to explain to the uninitiated; but to the salesperson, the action of doing the work is nearly the equivalent of a reward in and of itself. They feel alive; they are alive, and they’re enjoying the action. This is what they get in exchange for their efforts quite in addition to any financial or monetary compensation.

Hang around them for a while, and you’ll quickly observe that everything else is just sort of waiting until they can get “back in the game.” They need to get out there in front of the client. They hunger for it actually. Deny them the pleasure of the ebb and flow of live communication and their mood suffers and morale can go into a steep decline. To them, the denial of the delight of active involvement while engaged in what is their passion is to condemn them to the sidelines of life.

If they really love what they’re doing, it’s not work; it’s pleasure! It’s what life is about. They want to produce. They crave the chance to demonstrate their competence at overcoming what can seem to others as impossible barriers.

Even with the occasional temporary setbacks, they love it. Every bit of it. They are passionate about it. There is no barrier too great when they really want it. And it’s valuable only because they want it to do it and for no other important reason. It’s almost as if they get more energy back from the activity than they put out and it seems to feed on itself without limit.

And to get paid to do it at the same time . . . well now . . . that’s the best of both worlds isn’t it?

These and more are all part of the romance of salesmanship and the qualities resident in the professional salesperson.

If you are someone who is really aspires to succeed in sales, you must find the activity a totally fascinating, consuming and totally absorbing experience. In fact it has to be.

For if you are not totally engaged, every day, you can bet that your competition is.

Ironically, money is the way we keep score of how we’re doing in sales, but it is not the real object. The real object is simply the playing of the game.

And for the true players, as long as there is some way to keep score, whether that is with money or any other scorecard, they will be in the game . . . and they will be playing to win.

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 2002 – 2020, all rights reserved


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