Selling is the best job on the planet. There is nothing better. When you can take a product or service and share it with someone else… magic happens. You share the features, the story, and the experience of the product. The customer buys the product and experiences the joy. It is so much more than a good price. It’s the personal touch that makes all the difference.
Selling is also the worst job in the world. There really is nothing much worse. When you share your product or service and your customer doesn’t buy, a feeling of rejection overtakes you. It’s very hard to put aside this feeling and not take it personally. Something just dies inside of you. Multiply this over and over a few times and depression really takes over.
I was in outside sales for 5 years. I sold fasteners and tools to auto repair shops and car dealerships. In that time I experienced the highs and the lows of the profession. For the first few years I was in the top ten of the sales charts, made good money, and even won a trip to Europe. Things were great. I had numerous friends as customers and had a great repoire with many of my clients.
It was easy to get up and get out of the door and be at that first call by 8am. Each day was a new adventure. I called on my customers monthly and I always had a new product or special to share with them. It was almost like Christmas every day. I could actually see the excitement on their faces when I would put a new tool or product in their hands.
One of the best items I ever sold was a set of Hazet screwdrivers from Germany. These had a special square tip on them that didn’t slip out of the screw head. When I would put one in a mechanics hand and let him try it, it was almost always an automatic sale. This one little feature saved the knuckles of countless technicians. Instead of slipping out like a normal tapered head screwdriver, this design loosened even the tightest screws.
With products like these sales were easy. Price was secondary. My customers enjoyed seeing me come in the door. And my customers would really go out of their way for me.
My greatest day in sales was on New Years Eve in 1981. I was competing for a trip to Germany with the other salesmen of my company. The top five would win the trip. I was number 6 on that day and a few hundred dollars behind the number 5 salesman, but I was determined to make it happen.
I bought champagne for all of my best customers and went from site to site to deliver it. My customers really came through that day with orders that I had never seen before. By one o’clock in the afternoon I had a record day and I finished up the shortened day with an amazing order from a VW shop in Redlands, California.
The 2 week trip to Germany was fun and it was so rewarding to see a goal fulfilled. But then something happened that changed everything. My sales manager announced that they would be cutting my sales territory in half. On the surface this didn’t sound bad — I had a large territory and this would cut down on my driving. But the reality was I would lose half of my best customers that I had worked so hard to develop.
Over the next few months I watched my sales figures drop as I tried to develop new customers in my smaller territory. My sales manager worked with me but something had changed. I had developed a negative mental attitude. The numbers got worse as I got more and more negative.
The great job that I had before had turned to an arduous chore. I hated getting up in the morning and my lousy attitude rubbed off on my customers. Some of the other salesmen of the company would call and complain about their sales and the negative talk would just multiply.
This went on for a few more months, but the job got more and more painful. I couldn’t see reality anymore. And my sales plunged even further. Finally I decided to move on to something different.
If you have ever been in sales you can probably relate to my experience.
Selling is 90% attitude.
With a good attitude it can be the best job in the world.
With a bad attitude it can be the worst.
I am just finishing up a audio program by one of the best sales trainers in the business and his style really hit home with me. His name is Jeffrey Gitomer and his audio presentation is entitled, “How to Not Suck at Sales.“
This 48 minute presentation is from one of his live seminars and it really hit the nail on the head. He had me laughing and relating to what selling is all about. I took a look at his books on Amazon and one of them really struck home with me. Entitled “Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless,” this book really explained some of the things that I had found when I was in sales.
Some of the quotes are priceless…
“Once you realize that ‘satisfaction’ is the lowest level of acceptable service, you at once understand the power of ‘loyalty.’ How you achieve loyalty is a process, not a single action. Those who are able to achieve loyalty from their customers for their company and to themselves will be the ones to get beyond success…to fulfillment. I hope you do.
“If you own the problem, you own the customer. If you lose the problem, you lose the customer. It’s just that simple. The customer is always wrong…and you’re just about as perfect! It’s not about right or wrong—it’s how you react to, and handle the problem.“
“Take pride in your work. Take pride in your team. Take pride in your product. Take pride in your company. Take pride in your attitude. Take pride in your customers. Take pride in giving the best service you’ve ever had. Everyday.“
For all of you that are in sales, I highly recommend this audio program. It was short and to the point and well worth the addition to your audio collection. Jeffrey has a great attitude and can definitely help you develop customers that are not just satisfied… but also loyal!