Smashing the Sales Stereotype. Part One.

I have established and framed my entire speaking career based on one very simple statement: “everyone’s in sales”. Three words that when embraced are the key to anyone wishing to get ahead and achieving your personal and professional goals. Three words that have such a significant impact that it tends to confuse, aggravate and mystify people. Three words that cause anxiety in people who possess a negative stereotype of what sales is and more importantly what a salesperson looks like.

It’s time to smash the sales stereotype. And it starts with looking in the mirror. You are looking at the best salesperson ever. Take a good long look. Still with me?

Read on.

The negative stereotype of the salesman and sales go back a long way. There have been negative stereotypes in every form of literature, movies and Broadway. Who can ever forget the pivotal scene with Alec Baldwin in ” Glengarry Glen Ross”? This scene forever cemented the badass stereotype. Or the Kurt Russell character in “Used Cars?” The fact is these negative stereotypes do no justice to what sales is and how we all sell everyday with every conversation. Consider this:

1.   “Every conversation is a selling moment”. Every word you utter leaves an image in the minds of the people that you are speaking with and this is sales. People are making a buying decision on your product (you) in a split second. What is the image you want to lay down that will create a positive image of you? Every word counts. How you answer an email, your body language, a smile or the look on your face can mean the difference between progress or delay. This is being present. This is sales.

2.   Listen more than you speak. Your ability to be an active listener is powerful tool that will help you achieve your goals. You are showing you are focused on the other person and showing respect for their opinions and feedback. When you are demonstrating that you are listening and not getting defensive or trying to answer questions that have not been asked means you are selling.

3.   Don’t be the “Sales Apologist.” People respect the ask. People respect you when you have the confidence to ask for what you have earned the right to ask for! Don’t think that asking for something makes you slimy or “salesy” Just the opposite. People respect you for showing them how to do business with you, or how to hire you.

4.   We have a resistance to being “sold”. I don’t like the feeling of being sold. I do like deciding after having a conversation with people that are knowledge and present.

5.   Technical expertise is no longer enough. You may be the smartest person in the room or have the most degrees or initials after your name. Wake up. Post 2008, the times have changed and there are a lot of smart, gifted and talented people who found out very suddenly that to get what you must get your degree in sales. Selling yourself is the only thing that ultimately makes a difference. People have a choice and they are more likely than ever before When I made my choice on the surgeon to treat my prostate cancer, I had a choice and the surgeon who got my business was the one who sold himself perfectly.

Sales is not something others do. It’s what you do with every interaction, conversation and connection.

There is a dramatic difference between the stereotype of the slimy salesperson and the fact that we are all in sales. Embracing and being aware that you are in sales with every conversation means that you are taking a proactive role and responsibility about your behavior and mindset that you need to sell yourself all the time.

Time to clean your mirror and take a very close look.

Todd Cohen, CSP is an accomplished and sought after international keynote speaker, sales culture expert and author of “Everyone’s in Sales” and “STOP Apologizing and Start Selling”

Todd’s dynamic and motivational keynotes and workshops are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. Since 1984, Todd has led sales teams to deliver more than $950 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox and Thomson-Reuters.

You can also see Todd’s articles on Sales Culture in many magazines, trade journals and the Huffington Post.  

For more information or to book Todd Cohen for your next meeting please

Follow Todd on Twitter @SalesLeaderTodd.

1 thought on “Smashing the Sales Stereotype. Part One.”

  1. Good stuff Todd and to me very true statements on your part. I am constantly reminding myself about listening and thinking before commenting. I enjoyed your presentation yesterday . Thank you.

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