Portrait of a Salesman

There’s a friction in the land of sales between “old school” sales and current sales thought leaders. I’ve had many conversations lately about common perceptions about sales; I figured I’d write about it. There’s this perception out there that sales is a dirty word, a dirty profession. Are you picturing a used car salesman? I thought so.

The whole reason that our company is called The Whale Hunters is because of the metaphor we use to teach our process.  The purpose for the Inuit people hunting whales is that one whale would feed the village for an entire year. Similarly, a large client, an increase in revenue can “feed” or grow a small business.

We teach that sales is not dirty, it’s part of how/why companies exist! Sales and selling is how mutually beneficial relationships are created, products and services exchanged. Maybe we need to remove the word sales and just talk about the function? Business Development? Client Development?

Within the sales community, especially within B2B, exists a loud conversation about gratitude, excellence, trust, communication, and relationship building. It’s not about swindling clients or just hitting your quota. Among the true sale experts, there’s actual quite a backlash against that old mentality. Not only that, those philosophies/tactics are not successful!

I recently participated in an Integrity Selling training. The first conversation we had was about selling values. In particular, I was drawn to this one particular value statement:

“Ethics and values contribute more to sales success than do techniques or strategies.”

You’re most likely going to find unsavory individuals in any profession. Sales is no exception. Just know there are many true professionals working to change the perception of sales from the used car salesman. From Google’s Ten Things:

You can make money without doing evil.”

Not all sales people are scum of the earth. They do the work for businesses to thrive, create jobs, build connections and grow. So, if you’re in sales (or whatever you do), don’t be evil. And if you’re not in sales, please don’t be too quick to judge. There are a lot of sales professionals out there doing great work!

2 Comments

  • Chris Conrey says:

    Unfortunately “sales” has become a dirty word to our clients and prospects. It’s become a word they fear, and a group of people they loathe to answer the calls from. The debates and conversations you talk about are going on as people try to find a new way to connect in a REAL way with their prospects as they create and define this new Post-modern sales world.

  • Thanks for your comment Chris. I am definitely in favor of the debates and conversation! And it’s not only sales–all kinds of business premises and practices need to be redefined in order for business to regain its stature in the U.S.

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