I was recently asked that if I believed that all customers and clients – and presumably prospects – are unique, would I agree that all front-line sales professionals are unique?
Both the short answer and the long answer to that question is an unequivocal YES, most certainly they (we) are.
This is precisely why I rally against those who would have us all divided into boxes or categories. When someone tells us to try and sell in a certain way, and that way is alien to us, our approach is immediately identified by our prospect/client/customer as being “manufactured” and unauthentic.
The fact that we have chosen sales as a career would suggest that we have an outgoing and gregarious nature – but be assured, “outgoing” comes in various different flavors, and isn’t always accompanied by self-confidence. We all have a comfort zone, and when we are forced to venture out of it, we are, well … uncomfortable.
When we become uncomfortable, we become anxious, and that anxiety is transmitted to our prospects, so now everyone is … uncomfortable, you know where I am going with this.
One of the first issues I address during my workshops is the fact that nobody has the right to tell anybody else how to sell: I have always seen my role as one where I share my knowledge and experience, illustrate techniques, discuss concepts and new ideas, and then allow my students to take away what they feel comfortable (yes, there’s that word again) with, to integrate within their own selling style.
When you think about it, isn’t this rather like parenting? We do this with our children: We teach them core values, and then allow them to make their way in the world, whilst we retreat into a “supporting” role.
So my message today is a simple one – don’t allow anyone to tell you how to sell: The one unique feature that we have in a sales environment, where the playing fields have never been so flat, is ourselves – our unique selling style, unique personality, unique selling ability.