Let’s be honest, sales is hard, and nobody really plans to get into sales. For many of us, a career in sales was not our dream job. We didn’t stand up in front of our Grade 1 class and announce our intentions to be sales people. We all wanted to be astronauts, doctors, scientists, policeman or veterinarians.
A profession in sales often kinda just happens. We graduate school, don’t know what we want to do or be and get a job selling something. Next thing we know, 30 years has passed.
Now that you are in sales, the question becomes what kind of sales person are you? Are you a
If I were to invite 100 sales people into a room and I were to say:
- Stand on the left if you like to approach people cold and creating relationships from scratch
- Stand on the right if you prefer to work with people you already know to service, support and advance your relationship.
How many people would move to the left side? Maybe 5 to 10%? The reality is that most people are “fulfillers” who prefer jobs where interested people approach, call or email them &/or where they can work existing relationships. These roles are often in customer service, account managers, project managers & retail. This is not a bad thing. But it does demonstrate a preferred style of selling and a comfort zone. Looking more closely, fulfillers tend to:
- See their primary job is to respond to their customer’s needs … ahead of all
- Take pride in being warm, friendly,
- Feel uncomfortable if they come across as too aggressive or pushy
- Wait for people to come to them (phone call, email, etc…)
- Derive job satisfaction and pleasure from providing good customer service. They are mostly concerned with how others feel.
For the small percentage of the sales population who are “creators” (like me), they tend to march to a different drum. They:
- Initiate conversation with anyone and everyone … cold
- Take control of all next steps (“I’ll call you”; I’ll come to you”; I will email you”)
- Love the “hunt” or chase
- Demonstrate self-starter behavior
- View being assertive as a necessary step to advance a sales opportunity or relationship.
- Derive job satisfaction from “making something from nothing”
- Sell, often, for ego & money
- Enjoy the unknown
- Believe in the old adage that “you never know unless you ask/try”
While both roles are critical for a company, being a “creator” is the single most important ingredient in how successful you will be in the prospecting & new business development function.
All the training in the world, coupled with great tools, an excellent presentation & a supportive manager is not likely to make you feel any more comfortable to pick up that phone and start reaching out to strangers in order to generate new business. So before you take on the role “prospecting” or a job that requires you to initiate contact with customers, ask yourself … what do you feel more comfortable doing … creating or fulfilling?