"Birth of a Salesman"
I've had my own business for over 20 years. And from the very first days of owning my coaching business - until very recently - there was one thing that I absolutely knew: I AM NOT A SALESMAN.
Gosh, that sounds great, doesn't it? There was no way that I would allow that to be my title. However, that probably wasn't my best state of mind. Let me explain.
I have no idea where the seed was planted, or how it grew. But... As soon as someone says: "SALESMAN". My knee-jerk reaction is to think: "SLIMY", "SELF CENTERED", and "MANIPULATIVE". Those are traits that I wouldn't want to be associated with me. No No No!
I've watched the movie "Glengarry Glen Ross". Salespeople love this movie. I wanted to throw up as I watched it. It's a movie about high-pressure sales, and the people who are in the center of that world. It's extremely well cast, with amazing actors who are superb. But it is a world of "WIN/LOSE", with nothing in between.
So how could I have owned my own business for so long and avoided "selling"? I had thought that as long as I did a "consultation" that I wasn't selling. I also thought that if I could have the prospective buyer understand that I was a "Partner" or "On Their Team" that selling wouldn't be necessary.
I remember when I first opened my business coaching practice, I bought a couple of books on "sales techniques". I remember hating every page, every concept. Especially the ideas of "CLOSING" and "TIE DOWNS" and on and on.
I then shunned the idea of studying sales because I had convinced myself that the very essence of sales was manipulation to get the sale, no matter what.
Oh yeah, before I move on with my story, I was also absolutely sure of something else....
Because I had a degree in Finance, a good guy, honest, relatively intelligent.... Everyone - and I mean everyone should be flocking to work with me. I should have had more business than I could handle within my very first year! Because... If everyone knew me they'd certainly want to do business with me!
WRONG. Dead wrong. Oh my goodness, how wrong!
The perfect storm with a couple of amazing factors have happened in the past month to drastically change my point of view.
The first was a woman who has owned her own business for the past 20 years. She's currently using PAYPAL because she was mistreated so badly by her merchant account companies in the past. No matter what I did or said, it was very clear to me that this woman wasn't going to trust me as far as she could throw me. (and I saw a picture of her on her website - she wouldn't be throwing this Big Swede very far) From the very first minute, it was a strained and contentious conversation. This enlightened me to the fact that I didn't have the necessary skill set to change her perspective.
The second was a sales coach that did a presentation that I attended. The guy blew my mind. He said that SALES = SERVICE. He went on to talk about how to sell from "Honesty, Integrity, and Compassion". WHAT??? Was this even possible? He said that selling is about leading and moving people to appropriate actions. He continued - asking questions like:
"What if selling is really about helping people?"
"What if selling was about serving others?"
"What if selling was about being honest?"
"What if selling was about making a difference in the world?"
I've now come to realize that I haven't served my customers as best I could have with appropriate sales training. I haven't helped as many people as I've wanted to help without appropriate sales training. I've done a number of things that seemed right to me but could have been done much better with appropriate sales training.
Long Story Short.... I've hired this coach to work with me on my sales training for the next year. I've always loved the quote from Lao Tzu: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears."
And so, dear reader.... here we are... in the spring of 2021, after a year of COVID19, at at the age of 64 years young... The Birth of a Salesman.
Did this ring a bell for you? Is there some aspect of your business that you've resisted because it didn't seem appropriate for you? Somehow I don't think I've been the only person on the planet who refused to look at their mindset because they were so sure they were right...
I wish you a wonderful, joyful, productive, and prosperous week.
Till Next Week!