Why would anyone claim to model their most intimate relationship on salespeople’s attitudes and behaviors? After all, salespeople are sleazy, selfish, and dishonest, right? No, that’s not right. In fact, the skills of professional salespeople can help you enhance your most important relationships at home, work, and school.
Have you ever worked with a salesperson that truly understood you and honestly cared about selling you the best product for your needs—like your dream car, dream house, or dream honeymoon? Or just the right event venue, wedding dress, or diamond ring?
A great salesperson asks you questions, gets to know your wants and desires, and works hard to please you so you buy from them and then recommend them to others. When you object to their initial offer, they politely ask you why and what they can do better. They aren’t defensive or combative. Instead, they listen carefully before making you a better offer. Yes, if you decide to buy, that benefits them as well, but in a way that you and the salesperson both walk away happy.
So, I’ll ask you again: Why wouldn’t the best salespeople make the best friends, co-workers, family members, students, leaders, and even lovers?
Today’s world is filled with anger, resentment, and jealousy. Many politicians, media outlets, and leaders aren’t helping. Mobile phones and ever-present social media platforms are contributing to a deterioration in our personal connections. We need a new plan. We Are All Sales, People shares 5 simple strategies to help you improve your relationships and communications at home, work, and school.
First, it’s important to have a clear, positive understanding of yourself. Just like a great salesperson is expected to know their product inside and out, so, too, must you understand your skills, talents, biases, passions, and beliefs. Which types of personalities fit well with you and which don’t? What impression are you making in the way you dress, talk, and interact with others? The more you know about yourself (your product) the better you can connect with others.
Second, a great salesperson must sincerely understand others. If I buy you white chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but you’d much prefer dark chocolate, my best intentions will have failed. By cultivating a natural curiosity and interest in what other people want, need, and desire, a salesperson can craft a solution that works best for their customer. Likewise, taking the time to understand what makes your loved ones most happy is equally important.
Third, to be successful in sales you must work towards mutually beneficial outcomes. If all you do is lie, cheat, and manipulate others into buying products that only benefit you, you won’t have a long sales career—or a long marriage. When you seek out solutions in life that make other people happy, you will end up incredibly successful in sales, as well as in your personal relationships.
Fourth, the best salespeople understand that things don’t always go their way—and that’s okay. People often object to your initial proposals, but the best salespeople will be patient and flexible, looking for a compromise that’s a win-win for everyone. Whining, pouting, complaining, and calling people names doesn’t work for salespeople, athletes, students, or politicians.
Fifth, in the end, a salesperson knows that until the deal is closed, there’s no time to celebrate. Whether you’re selling software, houses, or girl scout cookies, nothing is final until the money changes hands. Our personal lives are much the same way. While it’s important to have great ideas and good intentions, nothing fulfills life more than taking action and making mutually beneficial agreements with those we love. A rich life comes from doing great things (like planning a romantic date night), not just imagining them.
So, do great salespeople make the best lovers? Maybe. Maybe not. But what I do know is that positive, confident people who take the time to genuinely understand others, work toward mutually beneficial outcomes, remain flexible and open to change, and take action to get things done, are the people who make the best friends, students, teachers, coaches, parents, leaders, and lovers. In other words, We Are All Sales, People.
Brett Keirstead is a sales professional with thirty years of experience turning around under-performing sales teams, mentoring rising leaders, and working with C-suite executives to secure complex projects that drive revenue and lead to high company valuations. He uses sales principles daily as a husband, father of three, and youth sports coach. Throughout his book, We Are All Sales, People, Brett tells engaging, real-life stories that illustrate exactly how applying these 5 key sales principles can improve people’s communication and relationships in schools, youth sports teams, families, churches, community organizations, and businesses.