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All the animals on the farm are equal – except salespeople


How should salespeople be treated? How does your company treat salespeople? How do you want you and your fellow salespeople treated? Are the treatments the same?

I doubt it.

Here are typical salespeople “treatments”:

They are afforded no common courtesy. They’re lied to regularly, especially in price negotiations. Rude gatekeepers treat them like dirt, or make the corporate decision: “We’re not interested.” They encounter rude voicemail of buyers who duck calls and then don’t return them because “If I had to return every salesman’s call, I’d have no time to get any work done.” They try to meet with people who don’t want to make an appointment if they are “satisfied with their present supplier”; will always try to hammer the price, or simply take three bids; will abandon loyalty and relationships for a lower price; and will make an appointment and not show up, or simply cut the time short. They make salespeople submit a proposal proving why their deal is the best, even though it may be more expensive, and they’ll still take the lowest price.

We’ve established that, for the most part, salespeople are treated like crap. Let’s look at salespeople from another perspective: Suppose they were customers; would the treatment be any different? Consider this letter from a reader, a vice president of marketing:   “Dear Jeffrey, I just saw your ‘Gatekeeper’ show. One personal experience came to mind: It was my first day on the job as a copier salesman, and as part of my ‘initiation,’ I was supposed to make 50 cold calls and persuade the gatekeepers to let me make a copy on their copiers, thus enabling me to collect valuable information on the prospect’s existing equipment.

“My first call was to an office of a doctor who specialized in hair transplants. I walked into the office and gave my spiel. The gatekeeper proceeded to enlighten me, rather abrasively, about the building’s policy on soliciting. Rather than heading for the door with my tail between my legs, I lowered my head, exposing the bald spot on my head and asked her if I was a candidate for a hair transplant. She laughed and assured me that I was. I asked for a brochure. Before leaving, she apologized for being rude and gladly allowed me to make my copy. Consequently, I wound up selling this prospect.”

As soon as the nurse saw he was a potential customer, the tone of the conversation changed. How pathetic is that? How two-faced is that? Why wasn’t she just nice in the first place? Same reason for all three questions: poor (or dim) vision.

She looked at James as a pesky salesman. She should have seen him as a potential customer, someone who might live next door to the practice’s biggest customer, or someone who might know people thinking about becoming its customers. That should be her vision when a salesman walks in the door, and so should yours.

Treat everyone as though they were a big customer. Or simply treat their salespeople as you would like them to treat your salespeople. There isn’t one salesperson who wouldn’t like to say, “They didn’t buy, but they were the nicest people, they treated me wonderfully and, truthfully, it was one of the best places I ever visited.” That result is reputation and word-of-mouth advertising.

Part of the problem is with salespeople. Many are unprofessional, rude and abrasive. Put more value for the customer into your selling process. Don’t worry about how you are treated. That’s a perception issue, not a reflection of you. Worry about how you may be able to alter that treatment. The power to make the sale lies within you. It’s your ability to make and use that power to create an atmosphere where people buy.

Free GitBit: Want three things of value that you (the salesperson) can begin to do to reverse the trend of how salespeople are treated? Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time user and enter the word TREATMENT in the GitBit box.

President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, Jeffrey Gitomer gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail by at salesman@gitomer.com.

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