Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

Salespeople Need To Care

Do you subscribe to various sites that send you useful information, uplifting quotes etc?  The following morsel popped into my inbox the other morning, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care–Anonymous".  Wow!  What a powerful reminder of the things that really matter in our interactions with others.  This piece of sage advice should be metaphorically tattooed on to the brain of every single person involved in sales.
Don’t miss it – we all know selling stuff is a tough gig.  Rejection is the normal response to our spiffy sales presentation and follow up offer. You have to be mentally tough to survive in a sales job.  You need other things too. Product and technical knowledge is important.  Total command of the detail is expected by clients.  This has to be a given, so if you don’t know your stuff cold then get studying.  However, we also need to be careful about what we focus on. Are we letting the product details and features confuse us about what selling is really all about? 
I am a buyer too and am constantly amazed by what some people get up to. Some salespeople I have encountered remind me of an icy mammoth trapped in a time warp from the past, still trotting out the product brochure and seeing if I will go for one of their goodies?   You don’t like that one, well then how about this one, or this one, or this one, ad nauseam? I want "blue" but they keep showing me 50 shades of "pink". They are playing that pathetic, failed salesperson game named "process of elimination".  Why on earth are they doing this?
I want to buy, but are they really showing me they are focused on understanding me?  Are they demonstrating to me that they foremost care about my benefit?  Are they communicating to me that, "in your success Greg, is my success"?  Or do they come across not with stars in their eyes, buy $$$$ signs?  
I can recall seeing them sitting across the table from me, mentally salivating at the thought of the big fat commission this sales conversation is worth?  I can sense they have already bought their new Beemer before the ink is dry on our agreement?  Actually, there is no agreement, because I don’t buy from these types of amateur salespeople and that is the same reaction from most people.
The quote at the beginning, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care" reminds me of a great Japanese word, which should be embraced by everyone in sales - kokorogamae (心構え).  
It can be simply translated as "preparedness" but the Japanese nuance goes much deeper than that.  Anyone studying a martial art or a traditional Japanese art (道) will immediately be on my wave length, when they hear this kokorogamae term. I would prefer to translate it as "getting your heart in order".  
This means to really hark back to your most basic principles of true intention.  What we can call True North – the purity of our intention.  What is the spark in our heart driving our behavior?  Is it the money or is it the serving?  Is it what we want or what the client wants?  Is this going to be a long-term relationship or a fleeting transaction?  
Salespeople need to start by searching their heart for their true intention.  Huh? Does this sound a bit too "hug a tree" California emotional for you?  Why do I recommend searching your heart?  Because clients can sense your motivation isn’t centered on their best interests and therefore they won’t buy from you.  The trust is never established.
Of course, there are the exceptions – the Hollywood image of the "smooth talking" salesperson who could sell you anything and will certainly try to.  They are like skyrockets that initially blaze through the night and then explode!  They are here for a good time not a long time and they give the profession of sales a bad brand.  
The best Japanese salesperson I ever interviewed for a sales job was a criminal.  The criminal part didn’t surface immediately, but came up later through some background checks (note to Sales Managers – do background checks!).  He was absolutely brilliant in the first two interviews, polished, genius personified in the role play, and WOW, what a fantastic closer!  I thought "Yes!" at last, I have found my perfect Japanese salesperson.  Actually, he was a liar, a thief and a baddie.  He had zero True North orientation and his kokorogamae was plain wrong.  What a wake up and smell the coffee for me. 
When you have the client’s best interests in mind, you do all the right things.  You ask well designed questions to fully understand how best you can serve the buyer.  You present your solution in such a way that the buyer feels this is exactly what I have been looking for.  You calmly handle any hesitations or concerns from the client, reassuring them that what you have is exactly what they need.  And you are confident to ask for the order.  That is the sales professional in action
So let’s ignore the outliers, those riff raff of push sales and come back to the vast majority of salespeople who are not evil, just inept.  Change your heart, focus on True North, purify your intentions, show you genuinely care about the buyer’s best interests before your own.  If you do that every single time you meet a client, you will have get success in sales and build a power personal brand.  
 Action Steps
1.  Don’t even raise the subject of your product until you know what the client needs
2.  To uncover client needs ask well designed questions
3.  Get your kokorogamae right before you do anything
4.  focus on the client’s success before your own success
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