Once in a great while, you observe people in a particular profession who truly represent that profession with honesty and integrity. One standout example is a profession whose people act as one would expect, from how they dress to how they execute their jobs. If they don’t behave this way, it can become life-threatening.
That profession is that of firefighters. Because of the way they perform, they are highly respected and admired.
Wouldn’t it be something if other professions stuck to their original purpose and standards in the same way? If a doctor was always a doctor and only acted to make people well? If a lawyer was indeed a lawyer and only helped honest people find justice or be adequately represented?
In this light, let’s take a look at salespeople. What was the original purpose of sales? What kind of mindset do we need to reestablish so that they align with their own original goals like a firefighter does with theirs?
Let’s go back in time and look at a fundamental of sales that all salespeople should understand: economy. Sales had its origins in the exchange of goods, before the time of currency. One person had something that someone else wanted. The second person offered something that the first person wanted, so that they could exchange and both be satisfied. This exchange would only occur if the goods being exchanged were somewhat equal in value, especially to each party.
The whole subject of economy evolved to understand and analyze why people traded—and later purchased—in the ways that they did. What made items or services valuable to people? This subject is terribly important to salespeople because they must understand what makes people act as they do, which falls into the area of preference.
For example, selling to a person who is more advanced in age is considerably different from someone young or middle-aged. An older person will probably not be a good prospect for a new home or a new car, whereas someone of prime earning age will be perfect for these items. Different priorities are reflected by age.
Salespeople must have a good grasp of who they are selling to with regard to preferences. Age, of course, is a more obvious gauge of preferences. Other preferences are affected by different factors than age, such as culture, gender, or taste. If a salesperson doesn’t have an understanding of such priorities when it comes to the products or services they are selling, they will be, to that degree, unsuccessful.
For example, when we are selling Pipeliner, we’re targeting companies with (among other qualifications) a specific preference to succeed in today’s digital transformation. When a company doesn’t understand that they must align with and succeed in the digital transformation, they will not survive long, whether or not they believe it.
In another more drastic example, going back 150 years, a salesperson would have successfully sold horses for pulling wagons or carriages, as people would have had preferences for them. Today, though, even a salesperson armed with top sales skills and marketing support could not do well with such a commodity, because preferences have totally changed in the age of the automobile.
There is another aspect of economy for a salesperson. When you truly service a customer, you have made an ally. That ally will promote and refer your company, which means they will be a multiplier for your business.
However, that will only work when you are selling something that the person can really use that will truly benefit them. If you “push something off” on a customer, they will feel betrayed, which means a bad review for you and negative word-of-mouth.
Of course, the worst kind of sales is lying to close a deal, and this will never make an ally for you. At Pipeliner, we encountered such a thing on the very day this was written. We were looking to possibly use the services of a company that I won’t name, and the company representative was telling us that they had 12,000 customers and were expanding like crazy. However, one look at their social media told the reverse story—they only had two reviews, and one of them was totally negative. It read, “Don’t go there! You pay your money, and they deliver the exact opposite of what they claim.” In a network community, word spreads fast. This is the worst thing that can happen.
Quid Pro Quo
When you are charging for a product or service, the buyer has a conception of real value for their money. The seller must demonstrate that the buyer will be obtaining this value for the money they are paying.
In simpler terms, we are creating a situation of quid pro quo, which is Latin for “something for something.” Your customer is exchanging money for something of equal value. Another Latin phrase expressing this sentiment is “do ut es,” which translates to “I give so that you may give.”
Only when such a situation occurs can we say that the value of a product or service is correct.
Other Economic Aspects
As you may know, we created pipeliner CRM from the principles of the Austrian School of Economics. These principles, along with those stated above, make for a sales environment containing honesty and integrity.
One such principle that a salesperson must be aware of is opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the amount the salesperson and their company spend to obtain an opportunity. Every action was taken by the company and the salesperson in the direction of this opportunity contributes to the opportunity cost.
A salesperson or the salesperson’s company can get to the point that they don’t want to invest more money into an opportunity, knowing that there is only a slight chance they’ll obtain it. This is often expressed as “throwing good money after bad.” The money already invested into an opportunity is known in the Austrian School as a sunk cost. Sunk costs should always be watched so that a sales team or company will know when they’ve spent too much and should move onto other opportunities.
Today anyone not utilizing effective technology for selling will be lost. But it’s crucial to understand that at the same time, humans and technology must function in harmony—technology alone will not make a successful salesperson. Therefore a salesperson’s mindset is still vital to their achievement.
Pipeliner is not only the best and most useful CRM on the market today, but it dramatically assists salespeople in understanding their prospects’ motivation to buy.
On a broader scale, we’re providing a tool that offers tremendous value to companies making today’s digital transformation. It gives salespeople and other company stakeholders the freedom to perform their daily roles so that the company becomes more efficient and effective.
This freedom, it can be seen, is what is given to two parties to exchange products or services for funds. As knowledge, products and services change hands, partners are created. Partners will not be in conflict, will they? That’s one principle of trade that is often missed: in the presence of freely conducted trade, conflict does not occur.
The opposite has often been observed, and can currently be seen between Russia and Ukraine. According to French economist and writer Frederic Bastiat, “When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.”
There is another aspect to conflict and enforcement, which we’ve seen during the covid crisis, which brings us to another Bastiat quote: “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”
As we emerge from these turbulent times, Pipeliner is here to assist salespeople in crossing borders.
Honesty and Integrity
The final quality of salespeople we’ll take up here is honesty and integrity—which brings us back to our firefighter comparison. A firefighter never violates the principles of their profession. When a salesperson is violating their principles, not providing value for the money, saying one thing and doing another, they have violated the foundational principles of sales.
Part of our mission is to restore those principles. In addition, we are here to provide a bridge between the tool, which is Pipeliner, and the proper salesperson mindset we’ve been describing.
Stay with us as we do so!