Chapter 2 – You

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.

A glance at the Contents page shows you that I believe success as a salesperson depends on being able to orchestrate You, the Product, the Customer, and the Selling process.

The most fundamental, the most overlooked, and in many ways the most difficult to develop and improve is You.

The problem is simple; you decide to become a salesperson many years after your personality is formed, and many years after the peak years of assimilating knowledge, techniques and skills. Most developmental studies in sports and academic skills (such as languages) have highlighted the early years (8 to 10 in the case of sports) as the critical time when skills are most easily assimilated. Most recent studies suggest your basic personality and behaviours are fixed before teenage years.

So to become a successful salesperson I either have to just learn a few basic pitches, or I have to be a “Natural Salesperson”.

If you believe either of these propositions you are completely wrong. I am not going to deny the existence of “Natural Salespersons”; they exist, I have met them they are the golden people who seem to have the ability to charm the birds out of trees; you surely cannot learn how to be one of these phenomena. It is not the “pitch” either; the worst salespeople I encounter are the people who are reciting from a script. Telesales people who call and have scripted responses to all polite objections annoy more than they sell.

My view is that you have to develop what you bring, your raw material of personal qualities, interpersonal and social skills and develop them with discipline and focus until you are a professional salesperson. It is precisely in the domain of personal qualities and attitudes that I am still challenged almost every day of my professional career. I have long ago become unconsciously competent at the external skills such as presentations or product analysis, but every day I have to work on being a good listener, responsive, helpful and the other qualities and attitudes of being a good salesman. Some days I am happy to just get to 6:00pm without punching someone.

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