Those of you close to me know that I love to stir it up. I really do enjoy getting folks fired up, spun up, minds raging or at the very least mildly angry at my position on issues. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't take the side of the argument most likely to inflame, but the fire is fun to watch. So with that intro, let's launch into today's topic of disruption:
Ignore everything anyone has ever told you about how to sell something or be successful at sales. It's all wrong, it's mostly filler and the people writing have usually made a career of telling people how to sell. IN other words: They are great at selling you on their sales knowledge but most of them couldn't sell free nazi tattoos to white supremacists at a KKK rally (that's gotta piss somebody off, come on).
Selling is not an art, it's not a learned skill and most clearly it's not something you can 'master' with books on your iphone. Selling, here comes the controversial part, is ingrained; you either have it, or you don't. Can I make you better at selling? Sure, and I can also make you better at shooting the 3, understanding relationships or learning to sharpen a knife like Chef Ramsey. All that aside, I can no more make you a superstar salesperson than I can make Obama take a firm position (anybody angry yet?).
I know, now you want an explanation. You want to know why you can't learn to sell, right? It's simple: Selling is a product of charisma, knowledge and manipulation. You must be a master of all 3 to be a great salesperson; and while almost all of us have some of each, it's very rare to have the trifecta of selling perfection. Here, I'll break down why these are required and why most of you reading this should think about your career choice if you are in sales:
German sociologist Max Weber said "Charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader."
Wikipedia says "The term charisma (/kəˈrɪzmə/; pl. charismata, adj. charismatic) has two senses: (1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, (2) a divinely conferred power or talent."
In Richard Keith Latman words? People want to be like you, they want to follow you and the inately want to believe you. It's critical to sales that people think they want the thing you are offering and your likeability/charisma is critical to the process.
Think this one is obvious? Think again. I bet most of you think knowledge is simply something you learned, but you'd be wrong. Defined by Webster's primarily:
"Knowledge is a (1) : the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) :acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or techniqueb (1) : the fact or condition of being intimately aware of something"
Richard Keith Latman's definition: You have to know your shit because you've really used it, studied it extensively or are universally considered an expert at the topic. I don't know about you, but few people selling life insurance have died and come back to tell us how well their families were treated.
This manipulation thing has such a bad rep that people don't even want to admit doing it. Remember there is good and bad manipulation (i.e. if I manipulate you with a knife to give me the money you just got from the ATM, it's bad. But, if I manipulate you with words to buy health insurance, it's a good thing) They even renamed it when it's good, it's called "social influence" and it's defined by changingminds.org as
"Social influence is the change in behavior that one person causes in another, intentionally or unintentionally, as a result of the way the changed person perceives themselves in relationship to the influencer, other people and society in general.
Three areas of social influence are conformity, compliance and obedience.
Conformity is changing how you behave to be more like others. This plays to belonging and esteem needs as we seek the approval and friendship of others. Conformity can run very deep, as we will even change our beliefs and values to be like those of our peers and admired superiors.
Compliance is where a person does something that they are asked to do by another. They may choose to comply or not to comply, although the thoughts of social reward and punishment may lead them to compliance when they really do not want to comply.
Obedience is different from compliance in that it is obeying an order from someone that you accept as an authority figure. In compliance, you have some choice. In obedience, you believe that you do not have a choice. Many military officers and commercial managers are interested only in obedience."
Richard Keith Latman definition: You want to be liked, you want to be like the people you like, and you want to believe that people you like are a good influence.
Do I need one? Really? You don't see it? I'll do it quickly, I'm already at over 900 words: You like some people who you think are pretty smart and you then believe them that what they are selling makes sense for you to buy. It's that simple, miss any of the pieces and you are not a salesperson: You are a showroom receptionist who gets lucky now and then and gets someone to take something you offer.
981 words, enough... peace... follow me on twitter @icarmagic