The Stigma of Sales

There are two kinds of people in the world – cat people and dog people. Wait, no. That’s not the point of this article.

There are two other kinds of people in the world – people who love sales and people who hate sales. And, then, there are those who hate salespeople and those who love salespeople. From my own experience, I have found that there are far more Americans who detest salespeople than there are those who love (or even like) salespeople.

You’ve heard all the jokes. “How do you know a salesman is lying? His lips are moving.”

The reason why it’s funny is because it’s true. Salespeople for centuries have given themselves a bad name. Which means, they’ve given you a bad name.

But don’t just take my word for it. Recently, I conducted a survey on Facebook and Twitter with a single question:

 “What one thing do you DISLIKE most about salespeople?”

Here are a few of the nearly 100 responses I received:

  • “They tend to lie…if they don’t outright lie…they can be very misleading.”
  • “The fact that they’re salespeople!! Should be more focused on their clients needs verses their pocket!!”
  • “Focused on their own selfish needs.”
  • “Their utter phoniness.”
  • “The fact that too many of them act like a 20 year-old in Vegas looking for nothing more than a one night stand.”
  • “They don’t listen.”
  • “Telling me what I want to buy and what I need instead of asking me what I am looking for and what my needs are.”
  • “They make assumptions about what I want.”
  • “That they are all liars!”
  • “They’re too pushy!”
  • “You can never find them after the sale is final…unless it’s for another sale.”
  • “Halitosis.”
  • “Transferring call to another person or department to fix a mistake they made, since it is no longer a ‘Sales Call.’”
  • “They are fake and call you ‘partner.’”
  • “Funny you should ask the day I found out a car salesman lied to me – more than once. My answer: Lie.”
  • “The ones that simply tell me they’ll save me money. Those types have no plan for a working relationship.”
  • “They start every call with ‘How are you doing today?’ but they don’t really want to know. They just want me to buy something.”

Hurts, doesn’t it? So, what’s the cure?

You have to create a name (and a title) for yourself. You have to create a perception for yourself.

You’ve got to do whatever it takes to put yourself in a different category. You have to work hard to create perceived value in the mind of the customer or the prospect so that they think of you as anything but a salesperson.

Be a value-provider, not a salesperson. Be a resource, not a salesperson. Be a friend, not a salesperson. Be an assistant-buyer, not a salesperson. Be a customer-advocate, not a salesperson. Be an idea-generator, not a salesperson. Be a trusted-advisor, not a salesperson.

Become perceived as ANYTHING but a salesperson, and you’ll put yourself on a path toward sales success.

Sales Blog