Anti-Sales Virus

Most salespeople are infected with an ‘anti-sales virus’ and this ‘virus’ has been handed out, usually unknowingly, for free, for years, by their companies, sales managers and sales trainers. When a salesperson is left alone they often catch this ‘virus’ and even help spread it themselves.

The focus to increase sales has been spreading and growing the virus for several decades. It has caused the consumer and salesperson relationship to become toxic. When it isn’t treated with the ‘antidote’ it continues to damage the relationship between consumers and salespeople and decreases sales by making salespeople sound, act and look the same. Since most communication is non-verbal, it makes what salespeople say unbelievable or less credible.

Some of the effects of the ‘virus’ is that selling has become more difficult and the relationship between salespeople and consumers is more strained than ever. In fact, this relationship is now so dysfunctional that the vast majority of people don’t want to talk to salespeople and salespeople say, ‘Buyers are liars’.

With most salespeople infected with the ‘virus’, consumers or buyers have become conditioned to avoid salespeople whenever possible and only engage them when they have to.  They also share that they don’t believe salespeople because, ‘They only want to sell me something’.

The ‘virus’ is the intention to make a sale. When salespeople engage a consumer or buyer, this intention spreads throughout the salesperson’s communication, reduces their ability to listen and causes people to retract.

When economic conditions get tougher the strength of the ‘virus’ increases and more is handed out. Most people in the profession of sales think, ‘Not me. I couldn’t be infected with this virus’, or, ‘It’s my job to make sales’. At the same time, sales managers say, ‘We have to make sales’. Sales are a result of aligned intentions and healthy interaction between salespeople and consumers or buyers. Focusing on the intentions and healthy interaction, produces sales, not the increased desire to make sales.

There is an ‘antidote’ that will cure the ‘virus’, stop it from spreading and allow salespeople to begin healing the relationship. When taken, it allows consumers or buyers to relax, open up and engage salespeople. When taken, it attracts people to salespeople and allows them to connect. When this connection happens, the opportunity for real dialogue and conversation is possible. This is necessary if consumers are to get what they want, sales are to increase and business is to grow. It’s what everyone involved wanted to happen and what they thought they were doing when they handed out the ‘virus’. The ‘virus’ was and is an unintended consequence of the selfish intentions to make sales. It infects unknowingly so you have to stay aware to diagnose it but once aware of it, you’ll feel and see it’s effects everywhere.

The ‘antidote’ is unlimited and free! However, even when you know what it is and how to use it, you’ll have to take it every day and keep taking it every time you engage someone in a conversation.  The ‘virus’ infects you and grows unnoticed and it’s consequences are unintended.  The ‘antidote’ is simple to use but wears off easily because other people will be trying to give you the ‘virus’ and it’s now so widespread, it’s everywhere. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to relapse and catch the ‘virus’ again and again!

Let’s investigate the ingredients in the ‘antidote’ and the ‘virus’ that are similar. They are the skills and actions that are necessary in the profession of sales. They are however, insufficient to increase sales dramatically without taking the ‘antidote’. These ingredients are the ones companies, sales managers and sales trainers have been teaching and salespeople have been using for years while infected with the ‘virus’.

The ‘virus’ makes people avoid and even lie to salespeople, while the ‘antidote’ connects and starts healing the consumer and salesperson relationship. Next, is the active ingredient in the ‘antidote’ that heals the ‘virus’ and attracts people.

The healing ingredient that causes the ‘antidote’ to attract people is the salespersons’ intentions. Before a salesperson opens their mouth to speak, their intentions communicate with the consumer or buyer. The consumer then decides unknowingly and pre-consciously, to connect or avoid the salesperson. The salesperson’s intentions create their demeanor, presence and attitudes and cannot be faked or hidden. What the consumer feels or reads is the genuine intentions from the salesperson and this is where the ‘virus’ must be healed.

The effects of the ‘virus’ is evident when consumers avoid talking to or opening up, even when salespeople ask good questions and genuinely care about the people they are trying to sell.

The intention to make a sale is the active ingredient in the ‘virus’. It even sabotages skilled salespeople who believe in their product, company and care about the consumer or buyer! Salespeople can’t hide their intentions from people…they will always expose themselves in their communication.

The best example of the effects of the ‘virus’ or intention to make a sale, can be witnessed in a new home sales office. If there is a salesperson, non-salesperson or temp in the sales office and a consumer comes in, they will most often engage the temp and avoid speaking to the salesperson. I’ve personally witnessed this and over the years had many new home salespeople confirm this consumer behavior.  It’s interesting that the consumer is attracted to the temp without the intentions to make a sale and repelled by the salesperson who is infected. It’s even more interesting that they can tell the difference between them.

Most companies, sales managers and sales trainers are teaching salespeople to say the right things to create a better conversation with consumers.  They want and teach salespeople to ask better questions and be better listeners. However, when salespeople try to do this, while infected with the ‘virus’, consumers won’t engage them and the conversation stalls.  As long as a salesperson is infected with the ‘virus’, sales will continue to be difficult and the relationship between consumers and salespeople will grow even more dysfunctional.

The active ingredients in the ‘antidote’ are the intentions to help, serve and do what’s best for the consumer or buyer and make them a customer, not just a sale. The ‘virus’ or intention to make a sale, is the spoiled version of the intention to make a customer. The ‘virus’ wasn’t and never has been anyone’s intention and spreading it was never what they wanted. It just mutated over the years because most companies measure sales, instead of customers, as the key result they want from their salespeople. Since customers increase sales and grow a business, measuring customers made, not sales made, is the right metric if you want to spread the ‘antidote’.

It’s also obvious that in a difficult economy we spend more time worrying and obsessing over the numbers and less time concerned about the customers concerns, so the effects of the ‘virus’ worsens and spreads.

The steps of a sale, which have been taught for many years in various forms, only happen when this connection is made. More consumers engage and connect with salespeople who have taken the ‘antidote’.  When the connection is made, people are served, customers are made and sales increase that grows business.

The ‘antidote’ also allows salespeople to enjoy the profession of selling as the noble profession of service it was intended to be. This increases their enthusiasm and energy which also increases sales.

When the ‘antidote’ is taken and spread, a new connection between salespeople and consumers takes place, healing begins and sales increase. This is the power of intentions.

Keep handing out the ‘virus’ and you will keep struggling to make sales and rarely make a customer. Whether you have taken the ‘antidote’ and whether companies encourage their salespeople to take the ‘antidote’, will determine their sales success!

For more information about the ‘antidote’ and how to recover from the ‘virus’, contact me at mmoore@makingcustomers.com.

By Mike Moore

Comments
  1. Excellent article Mike.

    The short-term pressures of acquiring revenue has poisoned the relationship. Many sales people do not even know they are doing it because they have been behaving this way for years. We do not live in the 20th century anymore.

    If the salesperson does not earn Relationship Capital (RC) first, there is no hope of a financial transaction that results from the relationship. Salespeople must build a credible reputation online and offline that get’s them KNOWN, LIKED, TRUSTED, and REFERRED. The KLTR process.

    The power is now all with the customer/client with their smart phones and trusted social network.

    As a salesperson, do you attract or repulse? At bit more emotional intelligence and much less push on revenue transaction.

    It is is not about you in order to generate sales revenue success. More push on the prospect will generate less revenue in the medium & long-term. I know this is paradoxical, but this is reality in the hyper-connected and hyper-transparent world of social business.

    Honestly ask yourself this fundamental question: If the quality of your social relationships were the only evidence you could proffer in court, how would you fair?

    Rob Peters
    Founder, Standard of Trust

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