Not something you would normally hear in a high pressure sales
environment. In fact, quite the opposite. Most sales organizations are
wrought, by design, with stress and intimidation. While much lip
service is given to “creating a positive, motivating work environment”, when it
comes right down to it, stress and intimidation win the day.
Why? Because unlike almost every other performance related
practice, sales culture promotes that when a sales professional is
more stressed and/or intimidated, he or she performs better.
Sales people buy into this as well. It is common place to see sales
people pacing around with furrowed brows at the end of a month or a
quarter concerned about why their deals aren’t going as planned. It is
almost as if one cannot possibly be taking their job seriously during
these times unless they are stressed to the hilt. Being stressed,
strung-out, and intimidated has become somewhat of a badge of honor
within sales culture…. “look at me, look how overburdened I am, and
look how hard I work.”
I know this because I have spent the better part of 20 years living
it. From selling to managing sales people I have seen it all. I’ve seen
solid people who would have been good at sales devoured by this culture
and I’ve seen not-so-good people thrive because of it. I’ve come to
these conclusions not because I’ve done everything right but mainly
because I have very good experience at making some whopper mistakes.
Even more concerning is the poverty of spirit that has consumed a
lot of my sales colleagues. Most believe that their job has no
intrinsic value other than to meet their economic requirements. There
are a lot of reasons for this but a great deal of it is self-inflicted.
The “I’m only doing this for the money” attitude has become another
badge of honor which ultimately leaves unhappy clients and customers in
The good news is that there are dramatic changes that are occurring
in the way that we, as a business and social community connect.
Marketing has begun to heed these harbingers but sales has yet to
respond. These changes are creating new opportunities for sellers and
will require a new and different approach.
I believe that if approached correctly that sales can be a practice
that delivers benefits far beyond the financial. Hence, the creation of
Selling Authentic. My purpose for this blog is to elevate
sales to an activity that is not just a means to ends but an end
in itself; in short, an endeavor that serves to refine one’s character. Having practiced
the art of selling for some time now, there is simply too much relevance to the
sales life for it to be ignored.
Customers and prospects are looking for a different relationship
with sales. Sales people are looking for a different relationship with
their organizations. We are all looking for more intrinsic value in
what we do for a third (at least) of our lives. Exploring these issues
is hopefully what our conversation will be all about.
I welcome your comments and thoughts. Welcome to Selling Authentic.