Definition of salespeople: they make the world go round
by Jeffrey Gitomer
Published: June 12,2006
The sales world is the real world.
It is the heart of the world’s commerce.
It is the pulse of the world’s economy.
And salespeople drive it.
Many people (including salespeople) have no idea, or never give a thought to the depth of sales and selling.
Think about what sales is comprised of:
It’s about communication.
It’s about engagement.
It’s about needs.
It’s about negotiation.
It’s about orders.
It’s about money.
It’s about competition.
It’s about customers’ expectations.
It’s about delivery.
It’s about keeping promises.
It’s about truth.
It’s about relationships.
It’s about reputation.
It’s about goals.
It’s about success and failure.
It’s about being your best.
It’s about survival of the fittest, and the best.
It’s about hope.
It’s about compensation.
There is no second place in sales — you either win or lose.
Sometimes, win or die.
As a salesperson, you have to have the ability to take rejection, often multiple rejections, and still have the strength, the will, the attitude, the creativity and the determination to try again.
As a salesperson, you have three masters: your boss, your customers, and your mother. Often there are conflicts. Your boss tells you to do what your mother told you never to do. “Don’t talk to strangers” is the one that pops into my mind.
And as a salesperson, you have to understand the complexity of sales and selling, or you will never achieve. It’s not about making a sale. It’s about understanding, defining and mastering the components of a sale, so that making a sale is possible.
Sales has its own language. Its own lexicon.
Words are defined differently in sales.
Here are a few real-world sales definitions to help you understand:
Customers. People who provide revenue.
Present customers. All your revenue. All your profit.
Satisfied customers. People who will shop any place. All satisfied customers are vulnerable to the competition.
Satisfaction. The lowest level of acceptable service.
Loyal customers. People who buy from you more than once and are willing to refer someone else AND give a testimonial.
Lowest price. Lowest profit.
Angry customer. An opportunity to recover and serve in a memorable way. Also an indication that you did something wrong.
Rude customer. Someone you should find out “why” from, before you categorize them. They’re being rude for a reason.
Price. The most feared word in sales. Often confused by weak salespeople for “value.”
Discount. Money you take off the top line, that comes right off your bottom line.
Not interested. The prospective customer’s response when a salesperson is not interesting.
Engagement. A salesperson’s ability to gain interest on a genuine level. A salesperson’s ability to ask thought-provoking, intelligent questions. Questions your competition never asks.
Objection. A stall, or an indication of buyer interest. Either way, the customer is saying, “Clarify.”
Cold call. A rude interruption to a prospective customer by a salesperson who is too lazy to network, or earn a referral. The worst way to make a sale. See also: Waste of time.
Made the sale. VICTORY! COMMISSION!
Service. Something to be of 24/7.
Belief. The inner feeling that allows a salesperson to win sales.
Attitude. The inner thought process that creates positive anticipation and positive outcomes.
Opportunity. Every interaction with a customer or a prospect is an opportunity to build a relationship and earn a sale.
Referral. If approached properly, the easiest sale to make.
Unsolicited referral. The ultimate sales report card.
Testimonial. The most powerful selling weapon in a salesperson’s arsenal.
Brochure. A bunch of self-serving messages that marketing people, and advertising agencies, put together at great expense and customers throw away without reading.
Training. If presented in a real-world, compelling manner, an opportunity to learn. If it’s boring, an opportunity to answer e-mail on your blackberry, or an opportunity to sleep.
Boss. A leader, a teacher, a coach, an encourager. Not a manager.
Real boss. The customer.
Winning. Something great salespeople think they’ll do every time they enter a room with a prospect.
Whining. Something wimpy salespeople do when they lose a sale, or something doesn’t go their way.
REAL WORLD: Selling is the oldest profession. Eve sold Adam the apple.
REAL WORLD: Each salesperson lives by his or her own set of rules and standards.
REAL WORLD: Companies can dictate and demand all they want. But in the end, the best salespeople march to their own music. They make their own rules. They, in fact, define themselves.
REAL WORLD: Salespeople get into selling because they can determine their own fate and earn an unlimited amount of success.
What are your definitions of success?
What are your expectations of a career?
What are your goals and dreams?
What are you hoping to achieve?
Whatever they are, whatever it is, sales can get you there.
Want more real-world definitions? Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word DEFINITIONS in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
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