You give salesmanship a bad name

No, this post is not nearly as much about Slippery When Wet era Bon Jovi as the above title might almost indicate.

What I do want to focus on is a general world view that’s held by many in our society, related to business. See, recently a friend of mine referenced me in his blog post and joked about my inherent salesmanship. Interestingly enough, that kind of struck a curiosity chord with me, as I’ve never held an official sales capacity in my entire stint in corporate America, used car sales aside. (I mean, I surely didn’t think the heinous 3 months during summer break of my early college years when I worked at a used car lot would haunt my into my 30’s…and let’s hope that wasn’t what he was talking about.) 🙂

photo by rick

It was interesting to me, because I realized that to the people who know me – my coaching clients, good friends and colleagues I mastermind with – I am a salesman. I’m an idea person…and I’m always winning people over with new ideas. I pitch suggestions, ways to improve results, efficiencies, boost traffic, conversions, training methodologies, better branding, yada yada.

While I would admit to my enthusiasm over these topics, I just never thought of it as selling.

Which is the main purpose behind today’s triumphant return to the blogosphere after working covertly on other projects for the past few months, neglecting ole’

Every communication we have with anyone and everyone is selling of some sort. When we were kids, we had to sell yourself as someone fun, cool or exciting to hang out with in order to make friends. To our parents, teachers and other authority figures, we had to sell the idea that we were responsible, trustworthy, respectful. When we met someone of the opposite sex, we had to sell the idea that we were interesting, good looking and whatever else thought it was they were looking for.

And so it goes, throughout life…at job interviews, at daily/weekly meetings, at social gatherings and family events. We’re always selling something…an idea, a message, a persona. What’s being sold is at minimum, what we’re about and how we’d like to be perceived. Usually it’s more than that, but never less.

So, why is the sound of “salesman” (or if I was trying to be PC — “salesperson”) like nails on a chalkboard to many of our ears? Simply, it’s how we’ve been conditioned by being whacked over the head by too many lousy salesmen who use ineffective, in-your-face, overt selling strategies on us, in a commercial heavy society. That’s why. If more people learned to sell in a manner that was congruent with their personality (ala Frank Kern — an absolute master of this strategy), selling would come off as natural, much more powerful and with much less disdain from those being sold to.

But, just think about the core of what “selling” is really about, and you just may have a new found appreciation for sales (if you didn’t already)…and just maybe, even realize that it’s a crucial success skill for anyone who would like to get what they want out of this invigorating world we live in.