What Do People Think Of Salespeople?

For many years I have been asking people what they think of salespeople.  I have gotten one overwhelming answer, “salespeople only care about making sales”.  Consumers, salespeople and executives all have the same opinion.  How did we end up with this preconceived belief? Most communication is non verbal. We pass on our intentions when we engage in a conversation.

What Are The Intentions Of Salespeople?

When I ask salespeople what their intentions are when they go to work each day it usually gets quiet before someone says, “to make a sale”.  If this is a salespersons intention, are people wrong about salespeople?   The answer is no.  Salespeople go to work every day with the goal of making sales and consumers have seen right through them.  They have decided salespeople will tell them what they want to hear and don’t really care about them.  Consumers no longer trust or believe what salespeople tell them.

Buyers Are?

When I ask salespeople to finish the statement, Buyers are _____; the number one answer is “liars”.

Broken Relationship…Bad Sales Environment

Did we really start out to create a sales process that would make people not want to talk to salespeople and make salespeople believe buyers are liars?  No one in their right mind would have done that…but we did! Before we run out and blame salespeople let’s take a closer look.

How Are You Doing?

When a CEO calls a President and says, “How are you doing?” what do they mean?  When a President calls a Vice President and says, “How are you doing?” what do they mean.  When the Vice President of Sales calls a salesperson and says, “How are you doing?” what do they mean?  Get the picture?   We have all participated in creating a selling and business environment where sales people only want to make sales and this intention has sabotaged the relationship between buyers and sellers to the point that it diminishes the very sales results we wanted.

Our Salespeople Are Just Order Takers

I hear this all the time from top executives who have been asking the, “How are you doing?”, question and increasing the pressure to make sales on the entire company.  You are right, we do have a country full of order takers. But let me ask you, what do you ask your salespeople to do every week? That’s right, get orders.  People move in the direction of their dominate thoughts and we make sure our salespeople’s dominate thoughts are to get orders and this dominate thought has damaged the relationship between buyers and  sellers.

Sales Meetings

It’s Monday morning at the sales meeting. What do we discuss first?  How much traffic?  How many sales?  How many cancellations? How many appointments?  The entire focus is orders.  Then we wonder why our salespeople seem to be willing to do anything to get an order.  We have spent years training them that their job is to get orders and then we complain that they are order takers!

Do You Think There Is a Problem?

No one wants to talk to a salesperson and buyers are seen as liars by salespeople.  If you believe that what we’ve all been doing is working stop reading now and go back to what you were doing.  If I have your attention, then let’s talk about what we can do to change the buyer and seller relationship.

There Is a Solution…Change Your Intentions!

The purpose of business is to make customers…Let me say that again.  The purpose of business is to make customers.  Consumers feel what your salespeople feel, believe what your salespeople believe and your salespeople cannot hide their intentions.  93% of communication is non verbal.  It is preconscious.  It comes from our intentions and we’ve been instilling the wrong intentions in our salespeople. In fact, as I said earlier, we have sabotaged the relationship with bad intentions that can deliver the results we want.

Making Customers…Change Your Focus…Change Salespeople’s Dominate Thought

Stop asking, “How are you doing?”, unless you really mean,” How are you doing?”, and stop talking about sales results.  You should have reports to inform you about your salespeople’s results. Focus on the attitudes, skills and behavior that will result in sales. How can you do this?  If you remove the pressure from your salespeople won’t they stop selling?  If they do, you have the wrong salespeople. If your salespeople don’t want to make sales as much or more than you do as an executive, manager or company, then you have the wrong salespeople.  It would be like trying to build a championship team with players who didn’t care about winning…it wouldn’t work.

Implementing New Intentions

Change has to happen at all levels of the sales process.  After more than 30 years of training salespeople, I also am aware it’s time to stop talking about selling and start changing salespeople’s intentions.  This can only happen in live sales environments and with the commitment and cooperation of an entire company. If you are waiting for the economy to change and expecting better results…Think again.  When the economy comes back the relationship between buyers and sellers will still be broken and your Return On Investment on your sales costs will continue to fall.  If we don’t change this relationship then technology will replace our existing sales process and it may be more cost effective in the beginning but it won’t make customers you can build a business on! Combining technology with salespeople who have the right intentions will  be the hallmark of leading businesses today and in the future.

Don’t Just Train…Change

I have heard too often in this downturn that we need to get back to good old fashioned basic sales skills.  Don’t be fooled…they won’t work. They haven’t been working because our sales process is flawed at its core intention. If your intentions don’t change your results will continue to diminish.

By Mike Moore

  1. living4bliss says:

    Love your blog, Mike. My husband is a salesperson and you are so right. The pressure is the numbers, the sale and not the long-term relationship-building that is so necessary for successful businesses to thrive. The problem is not really with the sales staff, it mainly lies with the corporate culture. Most seasoned salespeople realize the value of long-term relationship-building, but this is difficult to do when upper management is breathing down your neck about conversion ratios and increasing sales percentages.

    You are one of the few business people who truly get it.

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