When I was a teenager, I had a friend who would get free French fries and drinks. I remember a girl cashier at a fast food place once gave him extra food and wrote on his receipt, there’s more where that came from. I thought, wow, that never happened to me! Everyone is in Sales.
We all sell.
We are all presenting ourselves, our ideas, opinions, and desires. Trying for a promotion, asking for a raise, increased responsibility—we all sell in one way or another.
As you have no doubt discovered, there is no one proven tactic. Some people are offended by tactics. It seems everyone has an opinion on what works and or they use their method of what they perceive works.
Guesswork is not needed. Researchers have solid answers for how to sell.
The Carnegie Institute of Technology’s research showed that 85% of our financial success was due to skills in “human engineering,” personality and the ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. They found that only 15% was due to technical expertise. The distilled summary is people skills; interpersonal skills along with emotional intelligence are crucial for success.
The Center for Creative Leadership found in their extensive and on-going research that the primary cause of failure among leaders is weak or lacking interpersonal skills.
Psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s research found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if that less-liked person is offering a better product at a lower price. To confirm this research look at your situation…when you purchased a car, a dishwasher or carpeting, what was your experience with salesperson? When you freely spent large dollar amounts, did you like the salesperson?
Hay/McBer, Research, and Innovation group, carried out a large insurance company study in 1997. They found that salespeople weak in areas of self-confidence, initiative, and empathy sold policies with an average premium of $54,000, whereas those who measured strong in interpersonal/emotional competencies sold policies worth $114,000.
Again, compare the findings in the research to your observations and experience.
Usually, you’ll find some connections. Know, like, and trust is often more important than sales skill — people over things…no surprises there.
I found unique connections with my friend growing up. He wasn’t shy and withdrawn. He was outgoing, had a big smile for everyone, even if he didn’t know you. You received a “welcome” message from him long before he knew your name. He was a salesman without attending sales training.
In fact, the traits that create the highest achievement can’t be taught in a classroom or through an executive training program. They aren’t readily recognized or easily understood.
They require an openness, willingness and awareness to recognize and correct one’s shortcomings, the ability to understand people and the insight to read the undercurrents, patterns, and nuances of situations and problems, and build relationships. It’s also vital to be able to imagine a better future, share it if necessary and execute on that vision.
Don’t play the game. Change it!