The world is full of bad stereotypes about salespeople. The problem is not that these stereotypes exist, but rather that they are well founded.

Whether it is the slick slime balls in Boiler Room or the loser Willie Loman – the main character in the Arthur Miller play “Death of a Salesman” – anyone trying to think of themselves as a professional salesperson has a lot of societal resistance to overcome.

As for you crappy salespeople – whether or not you know who you are – if you don’t do your job professionally, you are making it worse for the rest of us!

I was on the buying side of two sales experiences recently which reminded me how weak some salespeople are, and I am convinced that neither of the salespeople involved thought they were anything less than perfect in their work.  Let me summarize those experiences to help make my point:

In the first experience, I wanted to join a new gym in my neighborhood. Just before the gym opened, a salesperson told me the price of a six month membership, then offered me a free week when the gym opened. After my free week, I was told that the price went up, and the originally quoted price was only good before the gym opened. So instead of recognizing the mistake and going to bat for me, the salesperson simply avoided me by being busy when I came to her office, and not returning my calls.  When I finally caught up with her, she told me she would have to talk to her boos, who of course said no luck – pay the higher price.

In the second, I was approached by a sales training company to become a franchisee of their sales training system. The person who called me had no idea that I was a writer of sales books, had a blog, and was very active as a group manager on Linked In in spite of the fact that a Google search of my name would have revealed all of this without even needing to click the links or read past the first few hits.

I work with salespeople and sales organizations every day, and every day I hear about how hard it is to sell. Well, for those like the salespeople in my examples who don’t:

  • communicate clearly
  • act on behalf of the customer when it is the right thing to do
  • take the time to learn about who they are selling to and what might be important to them

…then yes, selling can be very hard. Much harder than it has to be really!

For the rest of us who do our work with pride, diligence and discipline, we can and should go to work believing that we help the people we work with make better buying decisions and even better strategic decisions about their life or their business because of the discussions we have with them about issues and solutions.

It is too bad that there are so many salespeople who perpetuate the negative stereotypes, complain that sales is hard when they make no professional effort, and generally screw up the way our profession is seen by the world.

But take heart – if you do your job well, maybe you will be lucky enough to sell against one of these losers. Do your job the way you know you should, and more often than not, you might even get the happy endings you work for.


Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!