Passion and enthusiasm are the materials that you must possess as a part of your sales foundation. Positive attitude is paramount and does come first, but the next building blocks are passion or enthusiasm or both. You need to possess at least one of the traits. Without one or the other you will end up like poor Pooh living off of the generosity of others (See below for Pooh reference). Bouncing from one assignment to the next. Never realizing your full potential.
If you were to make bread dough, you would have a choice of either white flour or wheat flour. Both of them do that same thing but they each give the bread a distinct flavor. Same principle applies here. You have to decide which one, if not both, you possess and nurture it along so it can mature further. Also, think of the water you add to the mix as your attitude. If you use ice-cold water (bad attitude) the dough will not rise very fast. Its growth, or rise, will retard for some time. It will not rise without the outside influence of warmer temperatures (People). Now if you add hot water the dough will explode with growth. (Please see my article “Sales Foundation” below for information on attitude.)
Many people ask me “Vince what about product knowledge?” I agree product knowledge is important, but that can be taught, and I will cover that at a later time. Passion and enthusiasm, on the other hand, you must already possess. I feel it can not be taught or learned. It must come from within the individual. In the beginning people will forgive you, for a time, if you have limited product knowledge as long as you are enthusiastic or passionate. Remember: Science and data make you think, but your emotions make you act. (I did not think of that. It came from Roger Savvy.) No passion, no enthusiasm, no action.
Now you need to think and decide right now whether you have passion or enthusiasm for your company, product, industry, or sales. If not, then move on. There are plenty of Professional Sales People who love what they do and are passionate about it. They also practice their craft (A topic for a later discussion). Some of you may think that you do not want to be pushy or to salesy (It’s a word). You do not have to be. You can do consultative selling. I am just asking you to be enthusiastic about it or have some passion about what you are selling. If you are worried about being to salesy, (Again, it’s a word) then please read “The Compassionate Samurai” by Brian Klemmer. It will change your life in sales. Remember, that you are giving a product or service that people need, want, or desire.
So decide now if you have passion or enthusiasm. The choice is yours.
- Lessons from the 100 Acre Wood that we can build on. (vincecalabrese.com)
- Sales Foundation (vincecalabrese.com)
This past weekend I was watching the new Winnie the Pooh with my daughter. I have seen numerous Winnie the Pooh features in the past with her, but this time it was different. This time I actually observed the characters and the different personalities they possess. It made me recall something I read in the past.
Years ago I read a book about what kind of personality you possess according to the characters of Winnie the Pooh. (I have scoured the internet to give credit to who wrote it and came up empty.) As I watched the movie, I recalled what types of personalities each character represented according to this book. Then I noticed how each character represented sales people and styles I have encountered in the past. Then I carefully studied each character’s attributes and what they bring to the table. After I discovered the pros and cons of each character, I realized that two characters possess qualities need in order to be successful in sales.
So let’s take a look at Owl, Pooh, Piglet, Eeyor, Tigger, Rabbit, and yes Kanga and Roo.
On the surface he seems a well-educated confident fellow, but when you listen carefully you realize he is nothing of the sort. Owl seems to have all the answers but he is just full of hot air. Give him any topic and he you realize that he is just bloviating to end. He sounds good but he really has no content or knowledge. If this is you sales strategy, then you will have a very short shelf life. You customers will catch on faster than you realize.
Pooh wanders through life off of instinct. He has no real plan, but to wake up in the morning and see what the day brings him. He is successful due to luck and the work of the people around him. Unfortunately, this is the majority of people in sales. They are not organized, have no plan, and work on the game plan of Hope. They meet the minimum sales expectations but will not strive for more. If your chosen profession is sales, then you must take a proactive approach to your craft. Athletes practice and have a game plan. So should you.
This little gent has no confidence, nervous beyond belief, and is scared of a rustling leaf blowing across the yard. I love seeing Piglet sale people in public. You can spot them at a mixer from a mile away. They are either in the bathroom vomiting from nerves or glued to the wall and look like they are in front of a firing squad. I know you have seen these people. They provide comic relief, but it really is tragic that they are out in public representing your company or product.
I retract my earlier statement that the majority of sales people are Pooh. I would say out of the majority, half are Pooh and half are Eeyor. These are the sales people that go through their as victims. They complain about their job, product, sales, and niche. No matter what company they move to or what product they have, it is never good enough. They have lackluster results and bring down the rest of the team with their attitude. One word describes this person, and that word is Cancer.
You have to love Tigger. He is so full of energy and zest for life. He makes everything exciting and fun. Do not confuse him with the details. He just wants to get out there and go go go. This type of sales person has very little or no product knowledge, and usually over promises and under delivers. Training and some organization will help this type of sales style.
Rabbit is organized to the point of OCD. He has tons of product knowledge and has no problem sharing it. His down fall is people skills. He feels if he knows it so should you. He is a very intelligent unlike Owl who fakes it until he makes it. Rabbit is also a little short on patience. If you are Rabbit then you would benefit from a book called “Type Talk at Work”. Read it. It will change your world.Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/42g765n
Kanga is our mothers who gave us a deficit out of the gate to be sales people.
“Do not talk to Strangers.” Strike one for us.
“Do not speak until spoken to.” Strike two.
“Wait your turn.” Mom must have never studied market share stats. Strike three.
And last but not least. “Wait to be introduced.” There is no strike four, but this is to make sure we strike out should we skip one of the above.
Poor Roo. He represents our future sales force screwed up by the advice from Mom.
Woozles: Do not get me started with Woozels. You know who they are.
None of these characters make a good sales person individually. So, what do we do? We create a hybrid. We combine two of the above mentioned characters into one. I feel the two best candidates for this integration are Rabbit and Tigger. Rabbit has is neat, organized, punctual, and has a ton of product knowledge. Tigger is likable, enthusiastic, passionate, and tireless. If you were to create this hybrid you will have an unstoppable pipeline and an unbelievable income stream. I will call this new animal a Tiggit. If you have a better suggestions please leave it below. I am not a cryptozoologist.
Many Sales Coaches, Trainers, and Speakers will tell you that you need to have a positive attitude in order to make sales. This is the absolute Holy Grail to sales success. Don’t get me wrong, there are other key components need to succeed in sales, but you need the positive attitude first. This must come before all else. Attitude is the foundation that your sales skills are built on. You will lose your ability to persuade people if your attitude is not in check. From the moment you wake up you have a choice of what attitude you’re going to bring to the day. Find ways to get inspired in the morning. It may be a book, song, video, and even your kids or someone special in your life. Whatever it may be…………Do It! We all have rough days, and if you are a professional sales person you will experience a few in your career. Learn the ability to recognize when you going off the positive attitude track and correct it. Or, if it is just too over whelming and you can’t get back on the rails then go home. You are not doing you, your client, your company, your product a service is your head is not on straight and beaming with energy, enthusiasm, and a positive state of mind. I have actually seen other sales reps take the wind out of their competition by changing the other person’s attitude.
Scene: I was calling on an account when I ran into Tom and Mark, two other reps form competing companies. I did not engage in the conversation but I actually witnessed this exchange happen.
Tom: Hey Mark! I haven’t seen you in a while.
Mark: Tom! How are you? I have been really busy.
Tom: Good to hear. So business must be going well.
Mark: Sure is! I am having a pretty good month.
Tom: (Puts his hand on Mark’s shoulder) Hey buddy, are you feeling alright? You kind of pale and you look Drained.
Mark: I feel fine.
Tom: Are you sure? You really do not look well at all.
Mark: I do feel tired. I have been working really hard lately. I am going to go. I’ll catch up with you later Tom.
Tom: Alright buddy. Feel better.
I saw Mark 30 minutes before Tom showed up and Mark was fine. He was upbeat and buzzing around the office. Everything was going his way until Tom showed up. Tom just took the wind out of his sales by slightly changing his attitude for him.
The power of suggestion is powerful. It is even more powerful when you do it to yourself everyday by focusing why you can’t do. Instead you should be focusing on what you can and should do. Choose your attitude, determine you goal and do it with enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm. That is a good word, but that is a topic for another time.
(The names in the above story have been changed to protect the innocent or foolish.)
Watch the video. Change your mind and you will change your world.