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At the end of the day, everybody in business is selling something. In my case it started with wine, and I was damn good at it. You could be selling real-estate, or B2B services, or baseball cards, but at the end of the day all of these things hold true.

What You Should Never Do

As a salesman, the number one thing that you should avoid is over-valuing the sale in front of you to the detriment of the sale behind it. Too many people want to sell something so badly in the moment that they aren’t keeping their customer’s best interest in mind.

There are a couple of variables that might be going into this. It could be a one-time sale, like a car or a house where the repercussions aren’t straightforward. Sure you don’t have to worry about that person buying again next week, but the enormous word-of-mouth effect that happens every time you sell something has a very real effect. Call it “karma,” call it “brand equity,” call it what you will, but at the end of the day that stuff is far more important than the sale. I think one of the reasons I’ve had so much success in sales is that I’m actually not all that interested in the sale in front of me.

What to Do When You’re Struggling to Close

The first thing you should try out is looking in the mirror and figuring out if you actually are a salesperson. I think that natural salespeople are actually a very rare form of individual, and that many people are simply romanced by the potential financial upside. There are a lot of people who read this who might be making $53K a year and have “that one friend” who got crappy grades, and yet still makes $117k because they’re killing it on commission and got into an industry with high margin. I see it all the time. Your twenty-five year old friend comes home for Christmas break with a Mercedes and all of a sudden you’re sucked into the fantasy because “it’s just selling stuff, anybody can do that, right?” Wrong. So that is the first thing. Are you actually cut out for this?

The second thing to question is the product itself. The only time I have ever gone down a path of potentially struggling to close a sale was when I didn’t believe in what I was selling. I think one of the biggest reasons a young salesperson struggles to sell something is because, deep down, they don’t really believe in it. 

What You Should Aspire To

"No, you don’t understand. Johnny isn’t really a salesman."

When your customers talk about you to their friends, that is what you should aspire to having them say. Let’s call it what it is: There is a negative connotation to being a salesperson. It’s a shame because I honestly feel that being a good salesperson is actually one of the best, and purest occupations someone can have. When you’re good, you have both parties’ interests in mind. When you’re good, you’re not selling, you’re solving a problem. When you’re good, people don’t think of you as a salesperson.

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Originally published Dec 17, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

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