During an Intro to Sales class at Stetson University I asked the class to answer the following question:
Selling is _____________.
Which is kind of funny when you think about it. As the student moved to erase her error I asked her to stop and leave it there. Because as I thought about it the answer was not as funny or as wrong as I initially thought.
Salespeople can indeed act like livestock. Let's see how.
Salespeople are lambs when they passively wait for their fate. They meekly accept the status quo and allow the customer to dictate the sales process and dominate the conversation.
Sales lambs are passive and easily influenced.
Salespeople are pigs when they dominate the buying process and hog up all of the space in the conversation. Sales pigs try to convert everyone and eat up any opportunity regardless of quality or fit. They are only concerned with making a sale and getting fat on commissions.
Sales pigs are self-absorbed and care only for their own appetites.
Salespeople are chickens when they flee the tough questions and avoid the challenging conversations. Sales chickens hunt and peck around the edges of opportunity and are content with the morsels they sweep up on the ground. Often they lay an egg with an account that a more mature salesperson can harvest and grow into a living breathing sale.
Sales chickens wander around with no discernible plan or path to success.
Salespeople are snakes (yes, I know snakes are not livestock but work with me on this one) when they lie or stretch the truth to persuade a buyer to move ahead. The sales snake stretches the truth and denigrates the competition sowing seeds of distrust throughout the process.
Sales snakes may win in the short term but are always found out and pay the long term price with no loyalty from buyers and no relationships to build on.
Salespeople are cows when they graze slowly at the pace of the customer and do not offend anyone. Sales cows and bulls can be effective and help clients by being present and being helpful. But in a tough competitive sale they may be lead to the slaughter at decision-making time.
Sales cows go along to get along and don't rock the boat internally or with the customer.
Salespeople are sheep dogs when they focus on the flock (buyers), guides them in the right direction, push hard when they need to get back on the path, gently nudge when the flock points away from the goal, and always puts the flock's best interest above their own.
Sales sheep dogs lead the sale to place where everyone's interests are advanced and everyone ends the day in a better place, rested and fed, ready for the next challenge.
What do you think? Did I miss any? Submit a comment below.