The Romance of Salesmanship – part three

Real riches awaits those who can play this game well.

But this fact alone attracts heavyweight professionals competing for the same business you’re chasing. To survive and win in this game you must possess a laser-like focus of attention, dedicated concentration and a kind of intuition that can’t be learned in a textbook. Competition is fierce and sometimes brutal. Stakes are high and coming in second means you lost the deal. But at the same time, these are the same factors that make the game so exciting.

Salesmanship is as fascinating to the salesman as the lure of the limelight to the actor, the magnetism of the wheel for the gambler or as compelling and irresistibly tantalizing as your “first love.”

To the professional salesman or woman it is the quest that counts. The chase is the thing. Once it’s over and the deal is won and the initial exhilaration has worn off . . . it’s a letdown. The blood starts surging through their veins again only when they’re off on a new pursuit and back in the game.

It requires wit, nerve and persistence. It is a process of continual change and therefore an ongoing education. Yes, it is based on natural laws that you must be familiar and competent with, as you’re still always dealing with another human being. It’s not like a chess game, because in sales, as in life, the pieces think for themselves! They don’t always do your bidding. They have their own purposes and pressures that might or might not include you, your product or your service.

But, let’s be truthful about it. Once a salesman always a salesman whether you are in the game or not. If you’ve got the bug you might as well admit it and enjoy it. If it’s in your blood, have fun and use it to your advantage. If you don’t love it, find another line of work. For the details will kill you. You’ll hate it and it will show. The customers will pick it up and they’ll stay away in droves.

There is nothing like the grouchy, slouchy, irritable, mean-tempered, negative and inconsiderate salesman. He is instantly recognizable. He grates on you. He pressures and forces you. He makes you think he doesn’t like what he is doing. And he doesn’t. In fact, he probably detests it. This is not what he wants to be doing, and he can’t hide it from you no matter how hard he tries.

It is work to him and not fun at all. And somehow it makes him feel degraded. But then, after all, he doesn’t think much of himself . . . so why should you? Furthermore, he doesn’t seem to have much success either. Ever wonder why?

It should be obvious that you do not buy goods or services when you are mad unless you are forced to, moreover, you do not purchase things from a person whom you dislike . . . if you can help it, and you usually can. Every customer expects good treatment. They have a right to it. Give them what they want with a genuine smile and they’ll stick with you forever.

A friendly, competent salesman is invaluable as the job is arguably one of the most important in the business process. Salespeople are after all in a position to directly influence the vital communication lines of the world today. They provide the essential interface for every meaningful commercial exchange required for the “business of business” to function. Without them, who would be beating the drum for the next new technology, or the application of that technology to a practical purpose?

Furthermore, it is my opinion that if in some distant future, through some alchemy of specious argument and vacuous logic, the elimination of human connection and interchange in the sales process is attempted, it will most certainly fail.

For it will be found impossible to reduce this process only to marketing, public relations or advertising. Don’t buy into anyone promoting the idea that “all sales will eventually be reduced to just taking orders,” without human contact. My suspicion is that whoever is saying this is secretly seeking to eliminate the competition.

Countless attempts have been made to reduce the sales procedure to a rote, quasi scientifically tested, mechanical algorithm, guaranteed method to get the customer to buy.

(Of course we used to simply call this a plan) But in any case, it should be clear that any formula, procedure or process which omits entirely the element of personal human contact and interaction will ultimately be doomed to failure.

Personal contact always has been and will remain the critical component in any and all sales efforts.

Furthermore, there is a direct correlation between your success and your mastery of this connection. After all, selling is about the people.

All things being equal, people would rather buy from their friends. All things not being equal, people would still rather buy from their friends.

Be their friend. Help them. Admire them. If you sincerely love what you do, it will show. It is infectious. You make people your friends, by being one yourself. You’ll generate enthusiasm and excitement in others by feeling it in yourself. It’s contagious.

Your passion and conviction for your profession is what allows your words to be received in the manner intended. Your attitude often communicates much more effectively than your words alone. Sometimes this alone can create the sought-after connection.

The customer wants to be shown something new and exciting that will help him become more successful. If you’re bored with your presentation, don’t be surprised when he starts yawning and makes a quick exit.

Your job is to present your product or service in a manner that creates an impact on the customer. If you’re not passionate about what you’re selling, you can’t expect him to be either.

In the hands of a thoroughly professional salesman, you become willingly seduced by their competence and confidence, because you know they are looking out for your best interest and not just their own.

They know their products or services, and align them to your situation, not the reverse. The man who knows, is the man who, in the world of dollars and sense, goes up in his own estimation, in the mind of his employer and most importantly, the customer.

He is a valuable asset to the client as well as his employer. He operates from a level of knowingness of all aspects of his business far above that of the amateur. He is a professional. He brings in the business, and his pay increases correspondingly.

Playing the game of salesmanship requires active contribution from you while engaged in the pursuit. It’s hot, it’s fast, and it’s sometimes brutally harsh! It has a terrific range of emotional reactions.

It can pull the rug out from under you when you least expect it or unexpectedly rocket you to heights previously unimagined at a moment’s notice.

Hang on . . . for when you are in the business of handling live communication it is sometimes more powerful than a 50,000 volt power line and you had better know how to use it correctly.

Well, if at the end of the day, quite in addition to money, the pay is also defined as communication with others; enthusiasm over mutual goals; moving forward; the feeling one is going someplace and doing something and creating something worthwhile . . . then the answer is a resounding YES!

And, it is interesting to observe that those who seem to enjoy what they do, and know how to do it, have a far easier time of making a comfortable living at it, don’t they?

However, if your only purpose is to make money . . . well, then you might want to look into this job opening down at the local mint, where they print the stuff daily.

In this way, life also becomes worth living. Or, at the very least, better than the alternative. Also, your work magically becomes play.

Additionally, if you enjoy what you’re doing while practicing your profession, the joy you experience will create the requisite attitude and outlook for success. You’ll soon find yourself very well compensated for your efforts, which in turn re-energizes your efforts.

When you do this, you make your customers feel lucky that you’re around.

You’ll feel happier. And they’ll be happier.

They’ll be satisfied. And you’ll become more successful.

Also, they’ll enthusiastically tell others about your service or product.

You’ll be creating an ever-expanding base of loyal customers that will also consider you their friend, and will willingly pay you for your product or service.

And, I think you’ll agree that the “romance of salesmanship” is a purpose worth pursuing.

Those professionals who are practicing the art of salesmanship deserve our respect for their dedication, persistence and love of their work in this activity.

I, for one, am happy to have them around.

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 1997-2030, all rights reserved


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