When I asked the salesperson what he wanted in his next sales job, he wasted no time sharing his list. The list he shared betrayed his beliefs about sales, and, for me anyway, made him unhirable.
“I want to sell the best product in the category. That, to me, is the key to winning.”
It is important to believe in your product or service, your company, and yourself. The greater your doubts here, the more difficult it is to sell, specifically because you transmit your beliefs, even if unknowingly. But this isn’t what the salesperson was saying. He was saying that he wanted to sell a product that was universally the best in its category.
Quick: Which is better, Apple or Samsung? Try this one: Mercedes Benz or BMW? These companies make the best products in their category. But if this isn’t your category, you might think a GMC Suburban is the best product, or maybe you think the F150 is better.
The underlying belief this salesperson was unknowingly sharing is that he believes the product should do all the selling, that it should sell itself. He is guilty of wanting to sales to be easier than it is and, mistakenly, he believes that a great product will do that for him.
“I want the product to be positioned well in the marketplace.”
There are two underlying beliefs wrapped up in this one statement. First, what this salesperson was suggesting is that the marketing of the product should be so good that everyone would recognize it, making it easy to buy. Because he had once sold something so universally recognized in its space, he wants that experience again.
The second belief his statement was masking was his belief that the price had to be as low as its competitor’s pricing. If a product is the best in its category, if it is universally known, and it has a low price relative to its competitor’s, in this salesperson’s mind, he believes he could “make his number,” and that is what he told me.
These beliefs are not uncommon. The implications of these beliefs are that the person who holds them is an order-taker, someone who believes that the tangibles in selling outweigh the intangibles, that the salesperson is not the determining factor when it comes to creating and winning opportunities. This thinking is how you commoditize yourself, and how you make selling more difficult than it has to be.