No One Has Ever Told You This About Sales
What I am about to tell you will mean one of two things to you….either you leave this thinking I’m crazy, or you leave here a better salesperson.
This is inspired by the new Netflix show, White Gold. This is a story about salespeople in the early 80’s who hustle double glazed windows. The lead of the story is your typically depicted silver tongued salesman. Every technique highlighted in the show deals with dishonest, misleading, and being an untrustworthy individual. Ever wonder why people think you are a shady individual when you are just trying to make a living? Stereotypes like this show an entire trade of honest hard working people as liars and scammers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked with some salespeople that knew it was just a matter of time before they were caught being this type of person so it was all about the “cash grab”. For that, there was always another salesperson that was walking away from a sale because of a moral or ethical dilemma.
What you see on TV and in the movies is not actually sales. I joke with salespeople I train that if there was a way to script both sides of the conversation it would make our job easier. When you see something in the movies like ABC (Always be Closing), or a great sales line from Boiler Room or Wolf of Wall Street, it is just that, a line. It is not how you actually sell, it is how you sell theater tickets.
I was telling a friend the best “sales” related show that depicts salespeople for the most of what they are is Workaholics on Comedy Central. This show follows a small sales team of 3 friends that do their job, when begged by management, and spend their time outside work playing 3x as hard as they worked. That’s the typical salesperson, the sometimes winning, sometimes losing, work hard, play harder, make a living type of salesperson.
Think of the last salesperson you bought from. (Pausing until you think of something)
For most of you, it was a large purchase, like a Car, washer and dryer or TV. For some of you it was a product or service that makes your life easier. No matter who you are, you probably thought of a salesperson that made commission off the interaction. We only think of a salesperson when an experience is present.
Good or bad experience, as long as you know it was a salesperson, you more harshly judge the interaction and the experience. Think about the people at the standing carts in the mall, eager to hand you a sample. You would never ignore someone or avoid them just for being nice and giving you something you may like, until it’s a salesperson.
When I asked about the last salesperson you worked with, most everyone forgets to mention the cashier at the gas station they frequent on a weekly basis. Look next time you go, the name tag says “Sales Associate” right under their name. You don’t see that part because you went in there to buy almost all the things you left with. You wanted cigarettes, an energy drink or a candy bar. If you have ever heard, “if you buy two…” from this group, you were just sold.
This wasn’t a traditional sales experience, cause you don’t see them as a salesperson, and it’s hard to have buyers remorse on a snickers.
So here it is….what no one ever took the time to tell you in sales. Directors, producers and film studios sell movie tickets. To do that, they have to be over the top. Larger than life. Therein lies the problem. ABC does not work, it makes us all look money hungry and desperate. Coffee is not just for closers, its for anyone that wants coffee. Stop training your sales teams with clips from The Wolf of Wall Street. Don’t make another sales call or go to another appointment if you are using what a director used to sell you.
These techniques cheapen the industry we all work in. It’s not Hollywood’s job to train your sales team. It’s your job to recruit, motivate and train your team to succeed. If you don’t have the material, do a search online. Watch a video, read a blog, listen to a podcast…apply something unique to your team’s perspective and they will grow like crazy.
If you have a manager today, or a trainer that is using these Hollywood stereotypes to make you better, you can call me…I’ll give you what you actually need, and not a homework assignment to watch a “real hustler like Leonardo DiCaprio”.