Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A Modern Vision for Salespeople

Being a salesperson doesn't have to feel icky. You don't have to be embarrassed. If you wore red polyester pants and white shoes... maybe you'd have reasons, but if you're out helping your clients, you have a lot to be proud of.

The old stereotype of salespeople being "pushy" or "slick" is just bad for business in the modern world. 

It is vital that we who sell change the public’s view of sales because businesses need more sellers. And it turns out that the people who are generally the best at the modern sales skills, such as transparent communications and emotional intelligence, are often the ones who are the least attracted to the old sales stereotypes.

It’s easy to find ourselves in sales, but our performance is limited by the negative emotional resistance to being seen as a seller. Effectively, we’re undermining ourselves in a sub-conscious effort to avoid the adopting the negative stereotypes others have of sales. This self-sabotage is insidious because it’s not always obvious. Recognizing the symptoms requires a certain self-awareness that can feel really uncomfortable. If you’re doing it right, it’s not enough to examine this reaction once. You have to keep opening that cage of demons over and over and keep challenging yourself to be self-aware.

We can achieve more for our clients and for ourselves when we look within to understand what holds us back, and see beyond the stereotypes to recognize what we are really capable of bringing to our clients.

So often sellers find themselves in a role without all the specifics to manage their day, or manage their clients, or manage the surprising emotional landscape of selling. Salespeople wash out of roles far too quickly, primarily because training is lacking. If they get technical training on the products, or sales tactics training, the emotional burden of trying to sell is often ignored by managers. But there is a way forward...

I expect as someone interested in the subject and reading this, you’re already selling professionally already. Chances are high that you’re feeling something holding you back from full productivity. 

It’s not just you. You might be a great fit for this role and have a lot to offer, but that feeling of having something invisible holding you back can take over, and undermine even the most talented sellers.

I want to do a series of posts to bring light to the perceptions our culture has collectively adopted about salespeople, with an eye to countering and dispelling them. By examining the perceptions around the role, you will likely recognize some of your own biases about selling that might be holding you back.

A key tactic is to look at the merits of the job as a seller so you can see why you shouldn’t be reluctant to sell. Selling is often financially rewarding and when you focus on clients, it can be emotionally satisfying because you helped your clients grow.

Selling often means putting yourself “out there”, and that takes some courage. There will be failures, there will be setbacks. When you’re fully committed, you will have to deal with the emotional fallout that comes from working with other people. 

There will be cold, hard realities in the emotional side of selling. Let's talk about how to prepare yourself before going in, how to keep cool in the moment, and how you can build up more resilience to bounce back from disappointments and failures.  

The modern seller has more opportunities than ever before, and there is a remarkable amount of demand for smart sellers in every field. To succeed and overcome the old school stereotypes, modern sellers need to own these qualities to be successful:



Knowledgeable (but not arrogant)




Good advisor and consultant





Long-game oriented