The Greatest Salesman
Salespeople are the kind of people everyone wants to avoid. It’s almost as if you can smell their intentions from a mile away. It’s so easy to stereotype them but think about it, aren’t we all salespeople in our way? Whether you work in education, labs, entertainment and so on, you’re selling ideas and suggestions to get yourself heard, supported, and agreed with daily.
The concept of sales is often misunderstood as pure selling, but there’s more to it. Here are some scenarios: you’re a parent trying to get your child to read a book, and you’d be selling reasons for how reading helps their brain development. Or, when pitching a project to your bosses, you’re selling profitable ideas in return for approval and funding.
How to be better at selling?
1. Be real.
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not—you heard this a thousand times, yet don’t follow through because you’re afraid of rejection or lack self-esteem. Great sellers are hyperauthentic; they relentlessly preach and fight for what they believe, regardless of what people might perceive of them.
Most salespeople start by giving themselves this persona of what they should be or fake it till they make it. However, to build trust is to be authentic. Be honest; keep an open mind as you hear your customers’ opinions and feel comfortable expressing your views. Nurturing healthy self-esteem will make you less likely to seek validation or feel intimidated when faced with rejection.
Manager Elaine Lim of Good Job Creation shares, “Being real isn’t just a trait; it’s a strategy. It builds trust, fosters respect, and nurtures lasting connections.”
‘To be successful, you need to do these ten things, be like this person and do what he does.’ While taking ideas from successful salespeople is excellent, you shouldn’t feel burdened to replicate their way to greatness. Deliberate ignorance breaks stereotypes of success and achievements.
Computer scientist and co-founder of Pixar Edwin Catmull never needed to be the smartest person in the room; he wasn’t afraid to embrace his ignorance. He brought life into Pixar (originally a tech company) and began shooting short films to demonstrate its animation software product. They realised they were concurrently experimenting with tech and storytelling, and those same experiments led them to be one of the most highly acclaimed studios in history. Catmull says, ‘There is nothing quite like ignorance combined with a drive to succeed to force rapid learning.’
Being ignorant opens us up to new information, ideas, and opportunities. You don’t have to be a know-it-all to feel secure.
3.Transform, not transact.
Ka-ching—the sweet sound of a sale closing, and then you move on to your next target. You do this on repeat only to realise there’s no other purpose than scoring transaction deals. When you sell a product, service, or idea, what are your intentions and why? Most importantly, what do your customers get in return? Often, people don’t get back to you because they’re limited by transactional thinking or don’t know or see how what you’re selling benefits them.
Elaine was unsold on the idea that her role in recruitment should only revolve around making sales and signing clients. But she also saw the significance of transforming a person’s life and career. Her idea wasn’t to force an unsuitable role or talent on her clients; she just showed them her authenticity and willingness to help through her conversations and dealings.
‘Focus on impact, not just what a sale brings in.’ Elaine always reminds her team members, ‘The power of sales lies in the transformation it brings, not just the transactions it completes.’
4. Set intentional goals and get inspired.
A goal should tie to a purpose; when you know why you got started in the first place, everything else you do to achieve it will never be a chore for you. The difficulty of selling is that most of our goals are set by other people, usually revenue targets. For salespeople, these financial goals can feel like a be-all and end-all of selling.
In their book, The Unsold Mindset, Coggins and Brown explain that the problem is when financial goals loom so large that it overwhelms our true purpose for selling. It makes us anxious and causes us to act like the salesperson we don’t want to be. While financial goals are essential, they should never be what drives you. Instead, view selling as a catalyst for achieving goals purposeful to ourselves and the customers we’re serving.
Being intentional with your sales goals allows you to maintain a positive mindset, appreciate the process and be more present and in touch with your progress. You can keep track of your progress, dogear areas for improvement and celebrate small wins.
There’s no right way to do anything but use these ideas in your way. A great seller draws people to their authenticity, permit themselves to be imperfect, and knows it’s okay not to have all the answers. They strive to make a difference in the lives of others in whatever they sell, keep an open mind, stay eager to learn and celebrate the process.
Written by Destiny Goh
Marketing Communications Executive
Illustrations made with Canva