I could never sell…

Recently at my weekly Toastmaster meeting one of our members asked me what I do. She then said, “I could never sell, I can’t lie.” Say WHAT!

This disturbs me, because throughout my career in sales I have made it a point to develop credibility and reliability. My customers can be assured that what I tell them is so and that I will deliver what I promised. They won’t be surprised.  Most of the sales professionals I know feel the same way we are committed to the profession and to our clients. Yet, sales people are among the least trusted profession in the world. Why?

I am reminded of the cartoon with the medieval king exhorting his troops while pushing away the sales person who could deliver the battle changing Gatling gun. Why are we so resistant to sales people?

I think there may be a few of reasons:

1.    Media portrayals: Movies like Glengarry Glen Ross and Tin Men did nothing for the reputation of sales professionals.
2.    Just like investment banking, politics, the church and other professions a few bad apples spoil the pot. I know people that paint all clergy from a particular faith as pedophiles when we know it is really only a few.
3.    Sales people are paid to produce it is in their interest to get us to buy. They get paid only if they sell. As a result their self interest sometimes shines through. One of the biggest detriments that we build to developing trust is self interest. We can be very credible, we can have a great product BUT, if the buyer thinks it’s more about us than them… we lose trust. (For more on this insight visit http://trustedadvisor.com/)

You can probably add your own reasons. Yet, salespeople have changed the world!( Yeah I know perhaps hyperbole but look closer). Whenever there is a new invention it is a salesperson that pushed through the barrier of our resistance to change.

I can remember laughing at guys with a brick up to their ear standing next to a payphone. Have you tried to find a payphone recently? Someone sold the need for cellular telephones. There are countless examples.

What are your thoughts? How do we as a profession help our fellow citizens see us for what we are professional problem solvers?

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