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So Easy, a Sales-Man Could Do It

By Landy Chase

Ever ask someone who isn’t a sales person what they think sales people do for a living? I ask them all the time. Here are the top three responses:

“They drive around in the sunshine all day visiting people and picking up orders”.

“They tell jokes and schmooze people and get paid to do it”.

“They make too much money and don’t do any real work”.

Perhaps these people have a point; there really must not be much to it. At least, that would be a reasonable conclusion when I look at my side of the sales business.

You see, I make a living speaking to and training sales people, and thus have the opportunity to examine what other people say and do – in short, what they bring to the table – when it comes to delivering information to sales people. So I get to see a side of this business that most of you normally do not have access to. There are thousands of excellent speakers who are highly knowledgeable on a range of different subjects. However, when the subject matter is Sales, this side of the business can get interesting.

To cite a few examples:

  • The subject of sales is a popular one for speakers, due to market demand for effective ideas on this topic. Not surprisingly, if you look through a speaker directory you will note that at least seventy-five percent of those listed offer topics that they have developed on selling.

  • What you won’t see noted in said directories is that at least two-thirds of these “sales experts” offering topics on sales have, themselves, no career sales experience of any kind. Ah, but they will be happy - for a fee, of course - to tell your group how it’s done.

  • One of the most successful people in my business has not (to date) spent a day of their adult life employed as a business-to-business sales person. A great marketer, this individual has built a very successful business advising thousands of business people in how to sell - a job that, in case you’re interested, they’ve never actually had themselves.

  • Companies routinely train their sales teams with internal staff who, while capable people in their respective areas, have not worked in sales. This creates a learning environment in which we have a teacher whose experience level and knowledge base is exceeded by every person being instructed.

So easy, a sales-man could do it.

So, has the point been proven? Is there really nothing, skill-wise, to selling? Well, that depends on your definition of sales – or, perhaps, whether or not your definition is based on experience. As a business owner who has spent my career immersed in sales, I can say without hesitation that true selling – not ‘peddling’, mind you, but real business development work – requires more skill and mental horse-power than any other business discipline. There is also a reason why, with attorneys and physicians, it is one of the three high-income occupations in this country. In the book The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley and William Danko identified “the ability to work well with people” as one of their subject’s most important characteristics of building wealth. In sales, this translates to being able to persuade prospective clients to buy. This is the most valued ability that anyone, sales person or otherwise, can have in the marketplace. Even in this economy, you won’t see many professionals with this ability who are looking for employment.

If “the ability to work well with people” is so important, how does this translate into selling success? I have worked with top sales people in over sixty industries. In my observation, here are five key abilities that top sales people consistently demonstrate:

  • The ability to consistently generate new opportunities with qualified prospects;

  • The ability to get an audience with the right person, i.e. the Decision-Maker;

  • The ability to conduct an effective Client Needs Analysis;

  • The ability to present logical solutions that are lock-step with identified needs;

  • The ability to run an efficient business (also known as Time Management).

Does this sound like an easy job to you? Only if you think that running a business is easy, because that’s exactly what these top sales people do. They are essentially franchised by their employer to run a business in their market or territory, and they personally manage a productive, efficient operation. They are true “rainmakers” – people who understand, and adapt to, the complexities involved in moving people to make decisions in their favor.

If you’re one of these people, you already know that, despite its complexities, you have the best job in the world. If you aspire to be one of them, remember the words of Confucius: “A workman bent on good work will first sharpen his tools”. Seek out resources that provide you with better ways to execute the five skills outlined in this article. Once you get started, it isn’t difficult to do. In fact, it’s so easy…..well, you know.

Read other articles and learn more about Landy Chase.

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