“We can’t just be product people!”
Shouted my spouse, an accomplished sales professional exasperated by a client’s tired approach to seeking relevance regarding a particular product that was being promoted. Fortunately and unfortunately, her office is right next to mine so she’s bombarded by my presence and passion for better connection and conversation between people, especially between sales professionals and their clients and prospects. Send her your love, she’s resilient.
I affectionately call those in the sales profession, who are convinced that they are the reincarnation of their company’s website, Pez People. Remember Pez? Funny, comical dispensers of identically shaped candies in different flavors. Nothing was particularly magnificent or exciting about these treats. They were kind of chalky and had a sweet-tart flavor. Pretty much mindless eating only surpassed by those hooked on Tic Tacs.
Get the analogy yet? Gone are the days of simply being the walking talking brochure for prospects and clients to gain knowledge and understanding of possible solutions to their challenges. Or, are those days really gone? I spend time with sales professionals across the experience timeline, mostly in tech (where product speak is rampant), and I’m not reeeeeeeaallleeeee seeing much of a change these days. When all else fails, Pez People run to reload the candies and well, start Pezzing!
Why do you think this is the case? Well, it’s safe. And it’s easy. It’s what we in the coaching space refer to as horizontal learning. It’s about learning about stuff: capabilities, processes, services, technologies, ….products. It’s important to know this stuff. Sales professionals should be(come) experts at what they represent, the agency they hold for the entities they represent.
I am a firm believer that one should know as much as they can about their space in the marketplace. Cam Newport wrote a great book, “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, titled after an answer famed comedian and actor Steve Martin elicited when asked how one can realize success like he did. Part of being good is knowing these horizontal things.
Now, what’s missing? It’s the intuition, the curiosity, the wisdom, the compassion, the creativity, the empathy, and wait for it…vulnerability to be all of the things I just mentioned. This is in part, vertical learning and knowing. It comes with experience and expanding your view of your counterpoint and what their agenda is right now. Where are they coming from and where do they want to go? What is best for them right now? When should they be introduced to it? How can I challenge them to a different way of thinking? And how will what I know honor how they want to impact their company, team, market, client?
I was taken aback recently by a friend and successful leader who said in conversation with me regarding sales professionals that “They don’t really want to change. They don’t want to be bigger. They just want to make money.” This has been on my mind as you can tell by my previous 501 words. I set out to make a difference by showing sales professionals a new way to see their role and the impact they make now and could make in the future with a different worldview of, well, the world and how others see them. So, there’s a lot more to talk about and consider. I will leave it here. If you want to be more than a Pez dispenser, call me, email me, text me, (do not Tik Tok me!) and let’s discuss how to get you or your team there. There’s a real need for sales professionals being better than a Pez dispenser. The world is waiting for you; they want this, even when you’re out of candy.
“I guide emerging sales professionals to build trust, become more relevant, and surpass their competitors, thereby creating the ultimate personal, professional, and financial success for them and their businesses.” What could your next version of you, the emerging sales professional, be like if your approach was to focus on another’s agenda first? Here’s a link to start creating that discussion right now!
Be big. Be cool. Be hippo.
Ready to get started?