What Is a Real Sales Person?Pany believe that SELLING means persuading someone to buy something. If they wanted what was being sold it just made the persuasion a little easier. They still needed to wrestle them to the ground like a cowboy fighting a steer at branding time: wrestle, brand and declare victory.
I was recently in an auto-parts store observing the sales interaction at the front desk. As the service representative approached the front desk he asked, “How can I help you?” The client described what was broken and asked if the service representative could help him fix the problem.
If the service representative had the part (which he usually did) he asked the client some questions about installation and a payment method. Then he would get the part from inventory. The odd time he wouldn’t have the part he asked if the client needed the part ordered and how immediate the order should be. Sometimes he had to suggest another shop where the client could get the part if they needed it immediately.
The question is, are front-line service representatives real sales people?
Many of you are probably thinking ‘No’. Real sales people go out and talk people in to buying things. They call on people. They ask for appointments. They dress up in a suit and tie, carry briefcases around and practice their presentations until they are perfect. I know salespeople who believe the key to successful selling is based on how well their power point presentation convinced prospects to buy what was being sold. They worked hard. Struggled with prospects to close business. And still had to stay on top of new clients to make sure they didn’t back out of the deal. It’s a tough life.
So what can we learn from the sale representative at the auto-parts store? What if, instead of spending all their time on getting presentations ready, sales people spent their time finding clients with broken parts that need to be fixed, repaired or replaced? What if they spent most of their time with a prospect trying to find what (if anything) is broken rather than trying to ‘persuade’ the prospect to buy?
Looking back at the sales interaction at the auto-part store, I began to think ‘those are real sales people’. They only sell to people with needs, real needs, needs that kept them from doing what they needed to do. They found out exactly what the client needed and what the payment method would be made. Then, presented the solution. And it was always the client’s decision about whether or not he/she was convinced the part would fix the problem.
I still respect sales people who work hard to perfect presentations, closes and pitches. They have a system and they work it. If I could give them any advice to make their lives easier and more profitable, it would be to have a system more like the one the service representative used. If sales people worked as hard to perfect that kind of system and committed themselves to making it work, they would truly declare victory!
By John Benson