It's Friday evening, I'm cruising some of the blogs and other forums as I wind up
the day. I saw a question posed on the Sales Best Practices board in LinkedIn. The question concerned the Reputation of Sales, asking about why do we see
such bad stereotypes of sales people -- lazy, unprofessional, etc. It went on to ask why people don't like sales people.
For those of you that are regular readers, you probably know that was all that was needed to set me back on my soapbox. Here's my response:
I'm not talking about the hucksters, peddlers and bottom feeders. Unfortunately, they will always exist, but I don't think our profession is judged by them.
I think too often we do it ourselves through sloppy undisciplined practice.
I talk to 1000's of sales people a year, one of their common complaints is: It's impossible to get appointments and to talk to people, no one will see us.
When you think about the reasons for that, it's easy to see why we can't get appointments: We waste the time of the people we want to see! We don't create value in every interchange we have with the customer. No wonder they don't want to talk to us.
Think about it. How many times have you heard people talking abut a "Howdy Call?" These are a pure waste of everyone's time.
What about the calls, where all the sales person does is tries to pitch the latest new product? The only question they asked was "How are you?" (And they didn't wait for the answer--they went into their pitch).
What about the sales person who is unprepared? Too many of us are smart-fast, that's part of what makes us good, but shooting from the lip does not make up for the lack of preparation.
We interview customers, they complain: Sales people don't understand my business, priorities or problems. No wonder, we are too busy talking and not asking questions.
The reputation of sales people can be changed if all of us start doing one thing. Customers will open their doors and answer their phones if we start doing one thing.
We must create value in every interchange with our customers! If we don't, we are wasting their time.
In planning for a meeting, if we cannot identify the value we will create, then we are not ready for the meeting and must cancel it.
The concept is so simple, why don't we execute it?"
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