Lost Art of Salesmanship
Sales are the life-blood to
business. Without sales there would be
no income, and no means or justification for the business to exist.
To justify the position of “sales
is based upon one truth:
purpose of a sales representative is
to close the sale. It’s the only reason why the job
this truth, the job of salesperson cannot be
can lead or coach anyone to become better, stronger and more
successful in sales, as a sales leader you need to recognize these 3
realities about the selling process:
is a system.
You have to follow the system for it to work,
but more importantly you have to know the system before you can follow
always the baseball analogy; if you hit
.300 in baseball you’re
considered a success, which means you’ve failed 70% of the
let me take it a step further. Good hitters succeed because they know
how to read the pitcher, how to read the game situation, how to
recognize the pitch as it’s coming at them, and know how to
bat differently to effectively hit each pitch. Good sales reps have the
techniques to be able to do the same in a selling context. In short,
good sales reps are able to think on their feet.
is a competitive process. People who embrace
competition and enjoy competing do well in sales. Like the marathon
runner who has
learned to ignore the voice that says “quit
running”, the star
salesperson has learned to turn off the negative association with the
word “NO” and has put it in the right
“it's just business” context.
is a pattern of behaviors.
It’s an oversimplification to suggest that knowing the
system itself will make you successful at sales. It's sad to say that
many people have followed the system to the letter only to fail
miserably at selling. This happens because selling systems
get to the heart of salesmanship. Salesmanship depends upon
interpersonal behavior, which rely upon attitudes, assumptions, and
conduct, but not formulas.
the world of sales this translates into spending time with
salespeople so they learn the art of salesmanship from you.
in team meetings, not with “hallway atta boys”, but
spending one-on-one time with them where the action is. You
to be right there when they’re reacting, responding, and
to a client during a live “as it happens” sales
You Demonstrating Good Salesmanship to Your Crew?
my years of sales management, when the going became tough as we were
challenged with a large goal I likened the role of a sales manager to
the elder in a pre-modern time village.
lion had been terrifying the
camp, eating the
normal hunt that surrounded the village that they counted on for food
and making the villagers fearful that they’re next on the
lion’s menu. It was up to the leaders of the
village to go
out, kill the lion and bring the head back on a stick to show everyone
that it was dead so life could go on. It was a matter of
between the villagers and the lion.
sales leadership is that we have to kill the lions that have some of
our salespeople scared.
that people will buy today, low confidence in closing the deal, call
reluctance. These are the lions that terrify a sales
Especially with newer sales people who are asking for bigger dollars
than they’re used to. It’s up to the
the sales department to take on those “lions” in
of companion calls and companion closes.
of companion calls, or "shadow calls" to some is to be at the sales
call with the sales rep who is in front of the client to observe the
sales call first
hand. If the sales rep stumbles during the presentation
there to get it back on track and demonstrate how to do it correctly.
An honest critique of what went right and wrong during the
also needs to be carried out after the call is made, and needs to be
done in private.
My critiques were usually carried out in the car as
to our next call. It's very important to teach your sales
"how to do it" in a real world situation and in my opinion that means
in front of a customer.
or just not
doing it right is as big as a lion if you’re a new
salesperson. With companion calls you'll hunt down the fear
inexperience that many new salespeople have. Sales leadership
show first hand how it can be done and the way that it is done
successfully. A new salesperson or a veteran stuck in a rut
brings back a big order due to a companion call is the same as bringing
back the head of the lion to the camp. “Look, the
gone. Just do like we did here with all your calls and
you’ll close more sales, guaranteed.”
choice between hunting an actual lion and making companion calls,
companion calls win every time. Less dangerous and more
profitable. Just as it is a matter of survival, a matter of
gets eaten first the lion or the villagers can still be analogized
representatives have failed because
they were eaten by their own fears. Hands-on
could have saved them.
lion’s head with a
companion call and you’ll show each salesperson that
not just sitting on the sidelines. They will see you as
demonstrably involved, and interested in their professional
best way to
demonstrate good salesmanship yourself. Hands-on and
directly from the person who expects the same.
the Author, Bill
Grady has over
of marketing and advertising creation, sales,
and management experience.
began selling advertising at age 20, became a radio
Manager at the age of 23, and has personally sold millions of
local advertising over his career.
Bill is a former
President of the Iowa Broadcasters Association and his
National Association of Broadcasters
awards for excellence.
2002, Bill has brought his marketing and advertising knowledge
thousands of small business owners in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota,
Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.