In this, our final article on the subject of product evangelism, we’re going to take up a subject that is eternally controversial: the “spirit” or the “soul.”
There are many views and opinions of what a soul or spirit is. Hard science dictates that there is no such thing. Philosophy and religion have been all over the map on the subject, ranging from “you have a soul” (most Western views) to “you are a soul inhabiting a body” (most Eastern views) and everything in between.
The ancient Greeks held that the body, mind, and soul were totally separate, and didn’t view the human being as a whole sum of parts. At that time, it was totally accepted that a man could visit a brothel and take no responsibility for having done so—“it was just my body.” The spirit or the mind was not part of it at all.
The ancient Hebrew, on the other hand, viewed the human being holistically, with the mind, body, and spirit as one. The ancient Hebrew had a term, Jada, which means “I acknowledge you, I recognize you, I identify you.” The term came about when Adam recognized Eve as a whole person, body, mind, and soul, and they were united wholly.
Focus on the Hereafter
Later in history, the soul took on another focus—it was that part of a person that continues after death and can be punished if the person has lived an immoral life. It got to the point of ridiculousness when people were committing crimes left and right and paying vast sums of money to their church to “buy salvation” after death. This kind of practice goes back to the ancient Egyptians, the royalty of which decorated their tombs with untold riches to carry with them into the afterlife to guarantee safe passage.
Following the Reformation and the Renaissance, people concentrated more on “now” as opposed to the hereafter. But there was still an enormous curiosity about what happens after death. It continues to this day—it’s still a great mystery.
The Vanishing Spirit
The common viewpoint today is that the spirit does not exist at all, and when we’re dead, we’re done. For that reason, there are those who think we can just party on to our heart’s content and it doesn’t matter.
Yes, the pendulum has swung 100 percent to the other side. The soul, the spirit, has disappeared. The trouble is that, when we take such a view, something dies within us. Human beings do have a spiritual side. Perhaps we haven’t totally figured it out—and I’m the last one to say that this one or that one is right—but I do believe that, at the very least, we have a spiritual component alive within us.
Part of a Product
Is the spirit some kind of magic? No—it’s part of the overall composite of a human being. The composite has a computer: the mind. Everything that happens each day is impressed upon the mind, and can always be recalled, even though it sometimes takes a bit of doing.
The second part of the composite is the body. We know that the body can, at least partially, be the result of the fuel that you put into it. If you eat gummy bears every day, you’ll soon look like one. If you fill yourself with 100 hamburgers over a relatively short period of time, you’ll appear very much like a hamburger. If you partake of a decent diet and exercise, you’ll look and feel healthy.
But there’s another point to exercise. You may recall that when you exercise, something very interesting happens—you feel better, brighter, more alert, and often happier as a result of endorphins released by the body. That’s but one tiny glimpse of your spirituality—one little lamp that comes on. You cannot describe it 100 percent, you can’t touch it, but your body feels it. Even your mind changes sometimes after exercising; your view of the world or your view of a particular problem can change.
The spirit is often touched by artistic creations, such as music, paintings, literature or even motion pictures. This is why we have such love for artists, musicians, and creative people. Art raises people up to an amazing degree, Because art is a direct expression of the spirit, it is the spirit that gets touched by art. It can’t be the body—it’s just sitting there watching or listening. The mind is simply processing what is being seen or heard. But it is the spirit who “gets it.”
It is the spirit that knows the difference between good and evil. Something is right when it feels right, and is wrong when it doesn’t feel right. We have that “sensor” within us.
The Sales Evangelist
Guess what? The spirit is crucial for the sales evangelist, too. You cannot sell something that you don’t feel. When you try, you’re actually a machine—which no one enjoys talking to. Just recall how you feel when you call your local bank and your call is answered by a machine that directs you to press “1” for this, or “2” for that. The whole attempt is to project an illusion of friendliness—but it’s just a computer.
Along this same line, too many salespeople are becoming “computers”—they’re trying to sell without a heart. They can perfectly recite product descriptions and information, competitive analysis, price points, arguments, and Q and A. But no one is going to want to sit with such a person after a sale and have coffee, a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, and chat and laugh. A computer is cold and has no feelings. It has no empathy, no understanding.
An evangelist, on the other hand, is selling something they themselves believe in. The prospect may not even need it right now, but might at some future point. In the meantime, the evangelist is building a strong relationship with the prospect. This, by the way, is the job marketing automation will never accomplish with 250,000 cascading emails sent out every day. As buyers, we’re bombarded by these and hate them, because we know we’re not being communicated to by a human. The text may be perfect and aesthetically displayed—but we know it’s not human writing to us.
In the end, the spirit must be part of an evangelist’s character. When it is, people will flock to that evangelist. And that is why a revival in product evangelism is so badly needed today.
Thank you Nikolaus Kimla, this got me thinking
This is one of my favorites books by Nikolaus Kimla. I like the way he brings the concept of the sales profession alive by the use of the Evangelist concept.