Steve Payne 2017-09-20 05:28:22
THE CHALLENGE OF SELLING All of us being pushed for time – and none of us having as much grey matter as we like to think we have – we all tend to form mental constructs about various jobs and professions. That way we can pigeonhole entire groups of people in easy-to-remember slots. Computer programmers: Nerdy, socially-inept adolescents. Government employees: Lazy, entitled clock watchers. Doctors: Super intelligent, learned authority figures. Architects: Artistic, creative geniuses and nutcases. Here’s another one. Sales representatives: Pushy, aggressive manipulators. You don’t have to agree with any of these characterizations, but many people hold to them. Especially that last one. Maybe this is why – whether we admit it or not – selling is so much more difficult than it needs to be. Anyone who has ever knocked on a door trying to sell anything to anyone, has heard the inner voice of doubt. Of doom, actually. “Is my tie on straight? Is my fly done up? Geez, I hope I don’t have anything stuck in my teeth!” If you’ve never felt nervous showing up for a sales presentation to a “prospect” (an intimidating term in its own right), congratulations. You obviously have made a fortune by now. You could probably quit already. Where does this sense of inherent unworthiness – so common in the sales profession - come from? I think it starts with sad sack salesman figures from popular culture like Willy (Death of a Salesman) Loman and Herb (WKRP in Cincinnati) Tarlek. It’s reinforced by the sales incompetence inflicted on us in the evening when we pick up the home phone to hear some telemarketer reading – usually badly – from a prepared script. What we all need are models of sales excellence. People who are so good at selling that they inspire others to want to do likewise. People who bring honour and class to the profession of persuading other people to sign contracts and part with their money. In our industry, there is no hall of fame for selling, no Nobel Prize for ‘Renovation Sales Excellence.’ All we have is the continued existence of renovation and home building firms into their fourth and fifth decades, headed up by builders who somehow learned to be salespeople, too. We believe that Oakville builder Mike Cochren, on the cover of this issue, is one of those models of sales excellence. Anyone who needs to make a sale from time to time (most of us) should turn to page 18 and see what Mike has to say about the art of persuading renovation customers to pay for real quality.
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