This is an excerpt from my second book, Managing the Sales Process, available on Amazon.com. You can find a series of these excerpts in a dedicated blog category to get a broad overview, post-by-post, of the book (they are listed in reverse order in the category, so start with the oldest).

From Chapter 1 – The Core Attributes of Sales Failure

Negative attitudes about sales
In my first book, Mastering Your Sales Process, I spent a bit of time talking about how salespeople often have a bad professional self-image. I punctuated the point with the old saying that salespeople are those who are too lazy to work but too honest to steal.

Great salespeople believe that they serve their prospective clients by knowing their business, their product, and the solutions they can provide. They genuinely believe that their job is to help the prospect. It is pretty easy to feel good about selling when this is at the core of your perspective.

However, based on my observations while managing, training, and coaching salespeople in many parts of the world, most salespeople simply don’t feel this way. Most salespeople buy into the stereotypical perception of salespeople held by society in general, that salespeople are there to trick people out of their money and sell them whatever shoddy goods they happen to represent. Whether this perception is deeply rooted in the subconscious or closer to the surface doesn’t matter. It is a killer.

The other mentality that hurts salespeople is a deep-down feeling that they don’t know what to do to make sales happen. There is an expression that even blind pigs occasionally find food. This is how many salespeople operate. They do some activities that feel like selling, and sometimes someone buys something. Deep down they know that they are a fraud, but they never took the time to study their discipline so they muddle through their work days with usually too much bravado and not enough results.

Whatever the source of the negative feeling about sales, it hurts sales performance because it acts like a lead weight. As I said earlier in this chapter, sales takes a lot of psychological fortitude. Negative feelings about selling will take energy out of conviction when it is needed most. Those with negative attitudes about sales might do all of the right things. But when the deal, the conversation, the proposal, or the objection is on the edge ─ leaning one way then the other ─ this is when conviction will fail the salesperson with a negative self-image and results will suffer immensely.

Discovering negative attitudes is easy. Simply listen to your salespeople talk about their work. If they are doing that a lot (rather than doing the work), most of the talk is probably negative. With salespeople you wish to hire, ask them what they love about sales, then what they hate about sales. Or ask them why they got into sales or what they would do for work if they were not in sales. You don’t need to be a therapist to see what lies behind these answers as they relate to negative feelings about sales. If you interview people for sales jobs who hate their work, imagine how much you will hate having them work for you!

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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!

-David