Chapter 2.1 Viewpoint

The following content is an excerpt from Clive Smith’s book “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sales & Selling”.

Reproduced here with the kind permission of the author.

When I was in my mid-twenties, like many of my generation I dabbled with Eastern philosophy and religion. Most Eastern “learning’s” were too alien to be assimilated into my life but some really stuck as analogies or insights. One analogy that has stuck is to think of You (yes you, yourself) as a goldfish swimming in a bowl. Clearly you can take this striking image in a number of directions, how I want to use it is to focus on the fact that it represents how all your behaviours appear appropriate to you. Swimming around in circles is in fact the right thing to be doing. This is where you have a choice. Start by observing and reflecting on the question “How many people do I know who always believe that what they do, their responses and behaviours are right all the time?” This is something of a trick question as most people with any measurable self esteem believe they are Right, with a capital “R” most if not all the time, but there are a few that are really stuck in that goldfish bowl. They lose friends and relationships regularly and it is never their fault, right, you know someone just like this.

Now, start the process of liberation. Look at yourself from outside the goldfish bowl. To really get back to the point, look at yourself from a customer’s perspective.

Again let’s look at this issue by using an analogy. You (yes you, yourself) are going shopping for something that is nowadays referred to as a “considered consumer purchase”. What I mean is you are not shopping for a grocery item but for a purchase that says something about who you are; clothes, a car, a cultural artefact (music, film, computer game, etc.). Now chose someone to go shopping with you; a friend, a relative, someone who you know.

Now without having met you or any of your friends let me describe who you chose as your shopping companion.

Your shopping companion will share the same interest you have in the target purchase. Your shopping companion is someone whose judgment you trust, he or she is either an expert in the purchase (fashion, cars, music) or at least you trust he or she will tell you the truth about the “utility” of the purchase. Your shopping companion is willing to spend the time with you and not mope or lose interest, and will share your pleasure or excitement in the purchase. Whether we are talking about teenage girls shrieking with excitement at buying clothes, or a couple of good old boys going for a beer after choosing a pick-up truck I am pretty sure these general qualities describe your ideal companion for a considered purchase.

You must see where I am going with this. It is entirely possible to describe the qualities and attitudes of a good salesperson. They are not so unlike the qualities and attitudes of your ideal shopping companion. It is your job to remember and exhibit those qualities and attitudes every day of your professional career.

These personal qualities and attitudes can be developed. You do not have to be a “Natural Salesman” to pay attention to what is going on with someone else rather than yourself. You just have to understand it is important and work at it.

Every day.

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