“Sorry, we selected the other vendor…”
That is a phrase every salesperson has been told multiple times – and every time, for most salespeople, it leads (or at least it should!) to emotions like disappointment, guilt or intense introspection. So why do we continue in this profession, versus something which can provide a steady, predictable income and emotional balance?
As part of the sales journey, most salespeople try to go through training, or at least read some of plethora of material available on good sales strategy. After over fifteen years in sales and sales management, my opinion is that “cookie-cutter” sales training is ineffective – it should be more customized based on a person’s psychology. However, there are some good books based on research, which can provide pathways.
One such book I was perusing inspired the title for this post: Warrior Sales Monk: Heart of a Warrior, Soul of a Monk, Mind of a Professional by Todd Zaugg.
Sales, they say, is one of the oldest human professions. Everyone is selling something – looks, emotions, products – but don’t call it selling…maybe call it the “art and skill of persuasive communications”. As Zaugg quotes, “Selling is the art of influencing people to do what is in their best interest”. Then what is the connection of a salesperson to a Monk, who by definition is a person who dedicates their life to service and contemplation, or to a Warrior, who is a person specializing in combat or warfare?
Zaugg’s research showed that top-performing salespeople exhibited characteristics of part-Warrior and part-Monk. History shows that most successful warriors, from Samurais to Special Forces, were committed to a higher purpose and had the courage to charge into situations fraught with potential of failure. The Monk’s main traits are empathy and service. Combine the two, add a higher purpose than hitting quota, and you have an unbeatable sales machine…
So how would I characterize the three ways one could use the Monk and the Warrior in them to be a better salesperson?
1. Believe in the Cause: Why are we selling? Because we know that people have a need for the product or services you can offer. Why are you or your company best suited to satisfy that need? Make sure you believe in the answer to that question, because that will drive the level of perception and trust of your customer. In addition, believe in your definition of success – which comes back to why are you selling?
2. Believe in Yourself: Be positive. Failures are part of the job – take each of them as a learning experience. Everyone has traits of being a Warrior and Monk – which part and how much of each trait you develop and channel will shape your personality, passion, and selling style.
3. Believe in Experiences: Every moment in our personal and professional life is trying to teach us something. The ancient Chinese treatise, Art of War by Sun Tzu, states that “…strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment; but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations…”. The environment around us is changing at an unprecedented pace – how can we satisfy the customer’s needs while believing in the cause and being aware of the changing landscape?
As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances…”. If your chosen profession of sales is the play being enacted on this stage, it is up to you to define how well you act the part…