I can recognize a salesperson from a mile away. I can also identify a true SALESPERSON from the same distance.
What's the difference between a salesperson and a true SALESPERSON (besides all caps)? The former allows prospects to make a decision as to whether to buy. The latter refuses to accept "no" for an answer.
Clearly we cannot force people to buy what we're offering, so what do I mean by this? Simply put, the true SALESPERSON--the star, the elite--walks into every situation with a set of weapons far more powerful than an elevator speech (which is, in itself, for losers) or another tired PowerPoint presentation (a sure way to induce a coma).
True salespeople walk in with:
- A conviction that what they are offering will add immensely to the prospect's personal or business life
- A belief that there is nothing better in the world the prospect can choose
- An absolute determination to communicate--through education and brute force of personality--that they are dead right on points one and two
This all relates to the fact that positivity is contagious. When salespeople attempt to sell their products or services, they may walk away empty-handed. But when a superstar SALESPERSON strides in with an overwhelming sense of his mission and a focus on making the prospect see and experience the wisdom of what he's offering, the prospect becomes a believer as well.
Think of the conversations you've had with people who are passionate about an idea, a destination or a device that is unfamiliar to you. Their passion passes through almost like osmosis. Chances are high that you will become infatuated with the idea, the philosophy or the product the proselytizer is raving about. You'll become a convert.
This is what the real art and science of true SALESMANSHIP is all about. It is not about getting "at bats" in front of customers and hoping to hit pay dirt with some. It's about being armed to the teeth for every selling opportunity;--not hoping to make a sale, but determined to enlist a convert.
Every time I am in a selling position I think:
- I will make the sale.
- Saying "no" to me is not an option--not for my good, but for yours.
- If the prospect says "no" at first, I will not pack my bags and move on. I won't even acknowledge the word.
- I will get to a "yes."
I never want to be just another salesman. I am a CEO and a true SALESMAN.
The salespeople of the world aren't there to actually, definitely, positively make a sale. Nope, they believe that they are visiting a prospect as part of a process whereby: a) you see large numbers of people, and b) you'll get lucky eventually, and some of them will become customers.
They think that it's all a numbers game: Toss a hundred darts against the wall (see 100 prospects) and something will inevitably stick.
That is not true salesmanship. That is going through the motions; that is hoping that the law of averages will reward you. Instead of being thrilled that three darts stick, enter the process with the determination to land every single prospect you visit.
You may not win them all, but I know from personal experience that entering the arena with an absolute determination to prevail every time vastly increases the likelihood of your closing 50 percent, 60 percent or even 90 percent of opportunities.
You see, selling is NOT a numbers game, in spite of what the Willy Loman playbook says. Instead, it's a human game, and it's a hunt. The human most important in this hunt is you, the truest definition of salesperson--the one who deserves to be spelled out in all caps. I am a SALESPERSON.
Everyone else is an impostor. You are the genuine article. And if you can't find it within yourself to become this "winner takes all" person, you should find another career.
I think the Peace Corps needs volunteers.
Mark Stevens is the CEO of MSCO, a management and marketing firm based in New York, and the author of Your Marketing Sucks and God Is a Salesman. He's a regular media commentator on business matters including marketing, management and sales. He's also the author of the marketing blog, Unconventional Thinking.