“You don’t look like the normal sales type of guy. You don’t look that aggressive.”
That was her comment. I was having a coffee with a colleague the other day and we were talking about the different sales strategies and processes I am implementing at our organisation. As I joined the company recently, we don’t really know each other and that was our first proper conversation. After talking for a while, suddenly she said the sentence you just read above.
It is not the first time I hear this. Not at all. It’s been a few times already when colleagues or customers tell me that I don’t look like a sales guy. That I am not pushy, aggressive, always trying to sell at all cost.
This kind of comments always raise the following question in my mind: Why people think about Sales this way?
Nobody wants to be a sales guy when they grow up
When you are 5 years old and your parents ask you, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, nobody says “I want to be a sales rep”. Kids want to be firefighter, policeman, engineer, astronaut, doctor, teacher, maybe even a lawyer… ok, delete lawyer then from the list.
All this jobs are vocational. It is about doing something you like and mostly where you feel you can help others in one or another way. Sales could be vocational too, but as it has been linked to money as a key driver rather than to help others. It isn’t easy to find vocational sales people. There are some like my friend Jakob, who really loves sales but honestly, there aren’t many like him.
Sales doesn’t make it to University
I haven’t met anyone yet with a bachelor degree in Sales. How many people do you know with a university degree in marketing. Probably (too) many? 😊 Sorry my marketing friends.
Within sales, you can find from the most professional, reliable, responsible and intelligent people to exactly the opposite. This difference between people skills within the same profession it is much bigger compared to many others. Why? Because sales is in many cases the place where people end up when they are not capable of finding something “better”, either because their lack of education or the absence of other opportunities related to the employment situation in the territory they live in. You can read about this with me as an example in the article: Why You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed About Working In Sales
Linking sales to customer experience
Too often, people think about customer experience as something exclusively related to customer service. The way you treat your existing customers when they come to you with questions or mostly, with a problem.
As you probably know by now, that’s the wrong impression as the customer experience journey starts much earlier; actually from your first interactions with your not yet customers, but prospects. You can read about it here.
Have you ever heard something like: “the sales guy said we could do this with this version of your software and now we find out that we can’t!” The eternal issue with some sales people & organisations of promising things but not delivering.
Customer Experience health check for sales people
I have been selling for more than 16 years now. I have had good and bad experiences selling. I met great and awful people. But mostly, I have had awesome experiences, met fantastic people and have the feeling I have helped them with what I was selling at the time.
During all those years, sometimes I thought about it and asked myself: “How many of the people I sold something to, could I go to visit back today? How many of those will have a smile on their face when they see me after “x” number of years? I am sure it will be many, but that’s coming from how I treated them at that time, from the start to the end of our professional relationship.
Even if I consider myself successful in sales during my whole career, I wasn’t always the guy who was selling the most at some of the companies I worked for. I remember some guys that were terrific at closing business. They were real hunters, selling more than anyone else. They could do anything to close the deal. I believe that if they ask themselves the same question, which I don’t believe they will ever do, they will have many more customers they couldn’t go back to.
If you work in sales and you would like to make a simple test on how good or bad your sales approach is for building long lasting relationships with customers, you can just ask yourself the same question using the model below with your own numbers.
This isn’t rocket science, but maybe a good indication to see if you should change your sales approach for a better customer experience and more sustainable sales career.
Thanks for reading! It would be great to hear from you what do you think about it, feel free to leave a comment.