I read a fascinating article by Kelly Fairchild. She talked about “salesmanship.” It got me to thinking about, “What is salesmanship?”
Based on the conversations I have with sellers and my social feeds, people seem to think salesmanship has to do with the following:
- Hitting quota, making commission.
- Beating the competition.
- Pitching products/solutions.
- Prospecting, getting meetings.
- Executing messaging sequences and outreaches across all channels to get meetings.
- Persuading people to buy our products.
- Overcoming objections and resistance.
- Negotiating to close.
- Beating the competition.
- Leveraging language and techniques that trigger people to buy your solution.
- Maximizing our time to sell.
- Filling our pipelines.
- Moving the customers to buy as quickly as possible.
- and on and on and on…..
When you look at these things we use to describe “salesmanship,” none of it is meaningful to the buyers–the people we have to engage to meet our quotas, achieve our goals, and earn our commissions.
They are focused on our success. But, ironically, by focusing on these things, we are increasingly unsuccessful.
What if we defined salesmanship in terms that are more meaningful to the people/organizations we are selling to? We would tend to:
- Understand the problems we are the best in the world at solving and how these problems impact the customer.
- Focus on those customers that have those problems.
- Help them understand the impact of those problems and what it means to their personal/business success.
- Help them learn more about what these mean, questions they should be asking themselves, what they might look at, how it is important to them.
- Help them make sense of the issues and what they mean.
- Help them commit to rethinking what they currently do and commit to change.
- Help them sort through the overwhelming information they find, looking at that which is most important to what they are trying to do.
- Help them organize their change management process, get support from the organization and from management.
- Help them understand the risks, developing strategies to manage them.
- Recognize the human fears and uncertainty they face with change, helping them gain confidence they are doing the right thing.
- Help them articulate the goals and business impact of the solution.
- Help them develop and execute the change plan to achieve their goals.
- Demonstrate that we care about them and their success through each step of the process.
It turns out “salesmanship” is more about helping the customer than our own self focus.
Amazingly, the more we do this, the more easily we achieve our goals of hitting quotas, beating competition, earning our commission.
Patrick Spencer says
Dave, this is so spot on, I have a young small sales team at a B2B SaaS company that is beginning to understand what it means to “help” and “understand” and I am sending them your blogs daily!!! Thanks for all you do!!!
David Brock says
Thanks so much Patrick, I’m flattered. Too many people think that “helping” and “understanding” is too soft, focusing on “we have to achieve our goals!” They forget, we never get an order until we have helped the customer achieve their goals. The more effective we are at doing that, the better we perform.