The Best Salesperson You Know

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The Best Salesperson You Know

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Quite often in some of our sales training programs, we will ask participants to think of a time when they had researched a product( car, camera, computer, purse), had the money to buy that product, and then walked into a store to actually BUY IT. We ask them to think of a REAL SITUATION, and then We then ask them to write down the reasons why at THAT MOMENT IN TIME, when they are ready to buy – they decided NOT TO BUY. Here is an actual list from a recent group. Reasons I didn’t buy:

  • Sales Person was pushy
  • Sales Person was not knowledgeable
  • Sales Person did not listen to what I was saying
  • Sales Person didn’t seem to care
  • No one was there to help me
  • I realized that I didn’t have enough information
  • Sales Person was rude

We then ask them to think of a time when they DID BUY. Sometimes they think of the EXACT SAME PRODUCT that they bought at a different store or dealership(on the same day). Here is an actual list from a recent group. Reasons I DID buy:

  • The sales person helped to make me feel comfortable
  • The sales person was knowledgeable
  • The sales person took the time to understand my needs
  • The sales person didn’t try to change my mind
  • The sales person took the time to listen to me
  • They had what I needed in stock
  • The sales person asked me questions to learn what this purchase meant to me
  • The sales person talked to me AND my husband, not JUST my husband

I have conducted this exercise hundreds of times, and the answers are always fairly similar.

There is a reason so many people dislike salespeople, it is because they act like the people who “TRIED TO SELL” to group #1.

For me, as a salesperson, I view this as Bad News/Good News. The Bad News is that quite a few people have had very bad experiences with sales people. The Good News is that the bar is set really low for you to stand out as a good sales person.

How about this to start:

  1. Enjoy/believe in what you are selling. People want to work with people who enjoy their job.
  2. Know your stuff. In case you didn’t know it, there is a new thing out there called the internet. People can go on the internet to learn about YOUR product. It is not very reassuring if they know more than you.
  3. Ask relevant questions. I really appreciate this quote from Daniel Pink.

“In the new world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers. Unfortunately, our schools often have the opposite emphasis. They teach us how to answer, but not how to ask.”
? To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

  1. Listen to Listen, don’t just listen to prepare for your great close. Listen, connect, and confirm that you understand.
  2. Even if you sell on 100% commission, make sure that what you sell is the right fit for the customer.   Do the right thing.

During the session referenced above, I asked each participant to right down the name of the best sales person they know, and then describe that sales person to the entire group.

Given another quote from Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell is Human,

“In a world where anybody can find anything with just a few keystrokes, intermediaries like salespeople are superfluous. They merely muck up the gears of commerce and make transactions slower and more expensive.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised by her answer, but I still was when she said…


Every sales person, even the very best ones, should be scared by her response.

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