To be totally honest, most people simply “end up” in sales. Let’s face it, who do you know that actually aspired to become a straight commission sales person?
I met a young guy at the University of Toronto the other day and our conversation came around to “entrepreneurialism and sales“, something that intrigued him and something that I, having been a self-employed entrepreneur all of my career, have extensive “hands-on” experience with.
I’ve been an entrepreneur since before entrepreneurialism came into vogue. It originally was not a flattering term.
It originally suggested “unemployable” or “uneducated“, and in many instances those labels were somewhat relevant!
I’ve worked with sales people all my life and I can tell you that there are very few sales people out there that can legitimately call themselves “professionals“, despite unprofessional sales people sometimes earning impressive incomes.
I have a string of highly successful sales people that I’ve taught who lead in their fields ranging from selling advanced “information technology”, to real estate brokerage (an industry with an 87% Failure Rate).
Most people entering the sales industry simply do not have the intellectual awareness of what it takes to be successful at sales. And why should they, when meaningful education and training is so unavailable (lots offered by academics who have not successfully “sold” themselves).
Most of these so called educators (or sales gurus as many call themselves) are not educated in the game of selling themselves, and are really out there on their own following the philosophy of “those who can’t do . . . . teach“. Good luck with that!
Most have had careers that for whatever reason didn’t work out, or they are straight out of school and simply “ended up trying sales“.
Some people mistakenly think that sales people are “born salespeople“, which couldn’t be more from the truth.
And social skills, although they are a kick start, are not necessarily the dominating characteristic of successful sales people.
Professional selling is dependent upon professional training, of which, on the surface there appears to be no shortage of, from looking at all the courses offered on the Internet these days.
Most of those courses are brought to you by people who have never earned a good living based on selling and I would say that it is not difficult to understand why the cycle of unsuccessful sales people continues to perpetuate.
Professional sales, like all “professions” really is limited to those who “deliver the skill-set to cost justify the commissions paid“.
Selling is the highest paying hard job and the lowest paying easy one!
In sales, unfortunately, most sales people have no awareness of the skill-set required to consistently earn an income at selling whatever it is that they are selling.
So, “individuals, some highly educated and others absent of education, from all walks of life, with no specific training, are left to fend for themselves in the competitive world of business at its most critical point (where the money is)“!
Nothing happens until someone sells something in business.
The logical question is, “what is the make-up a professional salesperson“?
Professionalism in the world of selling is not like sports which says that getting paid for what you do qualifies you as a “professional“.
It is no secret that consumers don’t trust or look favourably upon sales people, and with good cause!
Common sense tells you that sales and “conning” run on parallel tracks!
The threshold between selling and conning is very, very narrow, almost microscopic.
Professional sales is based on “integrity“.
It’s really that simple.
If my intentions are to legitimately “help” you and I’m using professional presentation skills and closing tactics, to lead you to moving forward with whatever it is that I am selling you then, I am “selling“.
If my intentions are to “get paid” and I’m using that same psychology, tactics and closing techniques, then I’m conning you.
If I don’t honestly believe that I am actually helping you, then I’m conning you and yes, it is just that simple!
The course has always been obvious to me and that is why I’ve always succeeded at every sales challenge I’ve taken on.
I only sell projects that I absolutely “believe in“.
I’ve always lived by the commitment that “if I can make you feel the way that I feel about whatever it is I’m selling . . . . , then you are sold“.
You’ve got to believe that what you are selling is the best solution for your prospective clients.
Too many sales people talk “at” people.
Sales people have got to learn to talk “with” people.
People don’t care about your commission so neither should you. Your income comes from solving people’s problems.
You are getting a portion of the money involved in whatever the transaction is, for having delivered “meaningful professional services, knowledge and expertise“.
When/if you don’t know what you are doing, you are meeting none of this criteria, thus you cannot be said to be professional selling thus the only “label” that could be applied would be “conning” (you are getting paid for failing to deliver the “required” expertise and/or knowledge).
To be able to help solve other people’s problems, you will have to get good at identifying them.
And how would you go about doing that?
You ask questions.
Most salespeople that I’ve known are so busy flooding their prospective clients with information about their product, service or whatever it is they are trying to sell.
That’s kind of like visiting a doctor for the first time and having him/her stand up and say “we’ll operate“, without asking you any questions.
Once you learn the structure to selling, it really does become a rewarding career, specifically because you develop a track record of having helped people.
So, I’m preparing my training courses, one for Realtors (“Sun Tzu And The Art of Success in Real Estate“) and the other for those true warriors out there who “sell for a living”!
And I’ll be blogging about professionalism in the career of sales, so if you are dependent upon making your living in sales, or are thinking about doing so, (or know someone who is) I would strongly recommend that you tune in to my blog and/or register for one of my upcoming courses, today.