Person's One-Word Job Description
By Lee B. Salz
searching for answers on how to sell in a down economy. Many feel
that the sales game has changed, but in reality the economic
challenge has forced sales people to improve their skills and refine
When I present to sales organizations searching for the Holy
Grail to sell in this economy, I start with a very basic question.
"What is your job as a sales person?" Usually, that question is met
with silence for a moment; and then I'm peppered by a plethora of
descriptions. "Sell something to someone!" "Generate revenue!" "Hit
quota!" I'm always amazed at the description variance for the same
role. Often times, I hear these differences among the members of a
single sales team. How can a sales person be successful if they
can't clearly define their role?
This exercise is followed by another question. "Would it be
worth the price of admission if I could provide you with a one-word
job description that provides you with a level of focus that you
have never had before? You will wake up every morning and say, "I
know exactly what my job is!" As you can imagine, this offer is
always met with a warm reception.
To help paint this picture, I ask the group to picture the
two sides of Velcro…the cotton side and the hook side. Imagine each
side represents a business entity…buyers and suppliers. Think about
it. There is no other part to the sales equation. Thus, the
fundamental job of the sales person is to put these two entities
together. The one-word job description is to be the matchmaker.
Right away, a sales person will say, "But, my company pays
me. I have to be focused on generating sales." Fair point, or is it?
The company may actually write the check, but from where do the
dollars come? It's from the revenue generated from the clients.
Thus, while the supplier writes the check, the buyer is funding the
The matchmaker sales person works with these two entities
with the goal of bringing them together. To successfully do this,
the matchmaker needs to master both sides of the equation.
For the supplier side of the equation, the sales person needs
features and functions of each one
each offering solves for a client
of the ideal client for each offering
needs/circumstances affect the scope of the offering
The buyer side of the equation is more complex, but critical
for the matchmaker to be successful in formulating these
relationships. The key is to recognize that there are a number of
"buying players" who affect/influence the sale and a comprehensive
understanding is needed of each one. Once you have identified each
of the buying players, ask yourself
challenges keep them up at night?
information can you learn from them to help facilitate the sale?
What is their
language? (It is most effective if you can use their
vernacular when communicating with them.)
What is the
SYNERGY between the supplier's capabilities and the buyer's
Why should the
supplier's offering be a PRIORITY for this buying player
The last two questions are the most important aspects to
formulating relationships (a.k.a. generating sales.) Synergy
is the process of comparing and contrasting what you know about the
problems that the supplier's offerings solve and the specific
problems that each buying player faces. If a buying player is
heavily influential in the decision-making process, but you cannot
identify synergies between their challenges and the supplier's
solutions, it will be nearly impossible to engage them. No sale!
answers the fundamental question of, "Why now?" One of the common
sales excuses for not getting a response from a voicemail or email
is that the decision-maker is busy. "You can imagine why they aren't
responding. They're busy. They have a full plate." Great news! The
government just announced that they are issuing everyone a second
plate. Problem solved! Humor aside, the real issue is that if you
cannot align the solution with the buying player's most problematic
areas, you will find that opportunities languish in the pipeline.
Just like the old Roach Motel, "they go in, but they don't come
The next time you want to use the "they're busy" excuse,
consider this. As you're reading this article, you receive a call
from your CEO who wants to meet with you tomorrow at 9:30am to
discuss tripling your salary. Will you be at the meeting? I'll bet
you will. You never even checked your calendar before committing,
did you? Why? The answer is that money is a priority for you.
Everything else gets cast aside to have a meeting about tripling
The exact same results are achieved if you can identify
synergy and priority with your buying players. They will be
responsive. They will have meetings and re-organize their day to
meet with you if the supplier solution solves a problem that is
keeping the decision-making, buying player up at night.
While you may be
looking for answers on how to sell in a miserable economy, the
solution is right under your nose. Find the synergies and priority
between the supplier and buyer; and become a true matchmaker sales
person. To receive Lee's buying player worksheet, send an email to
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