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Salesmanship is a lost art

Over the last few months I have had numerous discussions on the what it takes to sell. Is it a god given gift that one can sell and another cannot or is it something we can learn? Maybe its a combination of the both?

Personally, I think its the later but over the years I have come across a lot of individuals that all ended up showing me that we can all be filtered into a simple triangle of individuals. This triangle was shown to me by a Sales Coach many years ago when discussing who I was and where I fit into the mold. He stated to me before he would tell me where a sat he'd discuss with me the four levels of the triangle before he'd let me decided where I would slot myself into.

At the bottom of the triangle sat the largest group, the Peddlers... The Peddlers were just that Peddlers, they'd peddle anything and everything. They would move from place to place and product to product only to push their wares on anyone who'd listen. They weren't team players, it was all for them and none for anyone else as competition was fierce at this level. There was no training or protocols in place as turnover was huge, investment was low and only the strongest would survive. Peddlers weren't respected as they were opportunistic individuals that only had themselves in mind. Peddlers accounted for 40% of the triangle.

The next level up was the Salesperson, the Salesperson was the first stage of becoming a someone people would listen to, not intently as they were trying to sell you something. They were still labeled a salesperson. These individuals were given some collaterals and told to get out there and sell. If they had training it usually came from those who held the role before them. Protocols were weak and havoc still reigned king on the floor as competition ruled the way. At nearly the same volume Salespeople account for 35% of the triangle.

Now comes the Consultant. Here was the person who was trained and knowledgeable. They were above the mere Sales Person and commanded respect. They earned it, years of experience, training, sales success. They were Consultants. You went to them with a purpose. They were closers. They could tell you what to do and it meant something as they were Consultants. They were the envy of the Peddlers and Salespeople. Consultants occupied the near top of the triangle and as the tringle is getting smaller they account for 20%.

This leaves the rarified air of the remaining 5% of the uppermost spot on the triangle. That spot is exclusive to the Trusted Advisor. The trusted advisor has long since passed the point of selling, they just share their opinions. This opinion is so powerful that it weight is greater than that of gold. An opinion shared rarely is stated as an offer but that of factual benefit to their client. Who obtains this lofty position? Professionals of course. These can include Doctors, Lawyers, and Accountants but the list can go on to any profession. Does a sommelier recommend wines? Does a caddie recommend a club or a shot? Do they actually sell anything no but 99% you take their advice, gladly and willingly. In reaching the target of a Trusted Advisor you've reached the pinnacle of your abilities, your a certified professional. People not only want to hear what you are saying but they actually seek you out. You are their go to person, they refer you to others. This is where you set your goals to reach.

Now let's look back to the original question posed by my Coach. Where did I slot in the triangle? To be honest I couldn't answer him as I knew where I wanted to be but it would be unfair for me to answer as the only person who could and can answer is your customer. Its easy to tell just by they way they communicate with you. Over the next few post I will show you ways of reaching that pinnacle.

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