The X-Files, Aliens, and Sales Pros
This last weekend FOX brought back the hit series “The X-Files”. In this science fiction thriller an FBI agent and medical doctor investigate reports of aliens and UFO sightings. The show has had mass appeal for many reasons, but definitely because of our culture’s fascination with these rare and unusual discoveries. It’s easy to understand that the general public is intrigued by the idea of seeing something they rarely encounter — ALIENS! So in today’s article I want to talk about another rare sighting, something that we rarely see in business…the Sales Pro.
Just as in The X-Files, it is becoming increasingly rare to stumble upon a true Sales Pro. While you will consistently see sales managers, account representatives, and customer advocates — you are much less likely to find a dyed in the wool Sales Professional. In order for us not to slip into obscurity it makes sense to launch an investigation with these 3 questions: “What is a Sales Pro?”, “Why aren’t there more today and where did they go?”, and “Does it even matter?”
- What is a Sales Pro?
A true Sales Professional consists of many traits. However I want to laser focus in on the “SALES” part of “Sales Professional”. While things like service are important, it is possible to give great service without selling. Customer service reps give service everyday but may never sell anything. So I’m not going to talk about that, instead let’s look at some more unique characteristics of Sales Pros:
- Sales Pros invest in mastering their craft
- Sales Pros solve problems
- Sales Pros don’t sell on price, they sell on value
- Sales Pros are aggressively pursuing their goals
- Sales Pros aren’t ashamed to ask for the business
- Sales Pros constantly refill their pipeline
- Sales Pros follow up again and again
- Sales Pros ask great questions to uncover needs
- Sales Pros overcome objections
- Sales Pros want to be the best they can be — not just the best on their team
In some companies these traits are no more common than giant green heads and big glassy eyes. However, based on scientific evidence, if you see someone at your company with these characteristics you may have just had a Sales Pro sighting and should report it immediately.
2. Why aren’t there more Sales Pros and where did they go?
Sales Pros are hard to find because the job of a Sales Pro isn’t easy. Sales people are rejected all the time and to most people rejection is something they avoid at all costs. Becoming a Sales Pro isn’t something that our culture values as much as it used to. In fact you can go on LinkedIn right now and read posts criticizing Sales Pros for even contacting a prospect. Like little green men with laser guns a Sales Pro can even scare people!
Consequently, most sales people have found it much easier to slip into order taking mode where they patiently wait for a customer to come and find them. At that time the sales person (and I use that term loosely) will reduce their price as low as they can, never ask for the business, and cross their fingers that the customer will eventually wander back to do business. If they never return it is the company’s fault because the price was too high. Definitely not a Sales Pro.
In decades before a Sales Professional was seen as a product expert and someone to provide assistance in selecting the right solution for the customer. Their tenacity was accepted because frankly, older generations were tougher than we are today. Everyone was tenacious. Everyone worked their ass off. To have a sales person stop by your office or cold call you on the phone was not considered rude — it was simply their job. If you didn’t go out and beat the streets or pound the phones you were a slacker. To encounter Sales Pros that believed in their product or service enough to tell you their price was worth every penny was the norm. Today our society doesn’t encourage this type of behavior anymore. The Sales Pro is disappearing and becoming more and more rare for these reasons. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to see one.
3. Does it even matter that Sales Pros are hard to find?
Absolutely! It’s a fantastic opportunity for those of us that are real Sales Professionals. Never has it been so easy to stand out in the crowd. Can you execute? Can you really sell? Do you brush off the idea that sales is dirty or that you should sit on the sidelines of business waiting for the world to throw you a bone? Good! Then you have a tremendous opportunity to make great money and control your destiny! You might as well have just landed your flying saucer in the desert and walked into an office because you are the EXCEPTION!
Customers will love the expertise and value you bring. They will appreciate your confidence in your product or service. They will thank you for pushing them to make the right decision to do business with you. They will respect you and your profession because you have revived what it means to be a Sales Professional.
Of course this is bad news for Sales Managers and they should hold themselves accountable to investigate, find, and hire Sales Professionals whenever they hear of a sighting. To continue to be satisfied with order takers is an injustice to mankind and will only result in mediocre performance for their teams. It is the Sales Manager’s responsibility to study and understand what makes the Sales Pro different and expect these behaviors from their whole team. If they do, they will skyrocket into new galaxies of revenue…and beyond!
How many of these Sales Pros have you seen? Do you see one when you look in the mirror? If the military was to pick you up in Roswell, NM and strap you down to an examination table would they see the characteristics of a Sales Pro or no? At this point in time you have a great opportunity to be valued and respected in your field. You can be unique, and while some may be scared of you — everyone will find you fascinating as a Sales Pro.
This week step your game up to the next level. Do something unexpected and out of this world. Take pride in being a Sales Pro or realize you aren’t and make the changes to be the exception in your industry.
Earthling: If you found this article helpful then share this transmission to the rest of your species.