In this high-tech mechanized age, there are many things that can be replaced. But the one thing you cannot replace is a human—you can’t replace a human being with whom you share trust. You can’t replace a relationship. And central to trust and relationships is character.
For that reason, my opinion is that character is the first and foremost thing a salesperson should focus on.
It’s interesting that character is right at the top of today’s headlines. In serious question at the moment is the character of a judge nominated for the Supreme Court. Whichever side you’re on, I think we can all agree that character is of prime importance.
In sales, your prospects rely on your character. A person with character can make the promise, “You have my word” and be trusted with it. If your word doesn’t count for anything, we lose humanity. We lose, really, everything.
Actions of a Salesperson: Network Selling
In many past articles and ebooks from myself and others, we have discussed what a salesperson should do, the actions they should take. In our case, we put forth the Network Selling model which expresses the ideal needed in today’s interconnected digital sales landscape.
The basic reason it is called Network Selling is that today’s digital world is totally networked. You cannot make a move as a salesperson that doesn’t have some kind of impact, good or bad, throughout this network. You’re either recommended or warned about, right along with the product or service that you’re selling.
The first element required in the Network Selling model is respect. Not just Network Selling, but everything in civilized life begins and ends with respect as the very foundation. Every good experience—be it social or business—depends on mutual respect for its success.
The next step in Network Selling is a skill without which a salesperson just won’t survive in this 21st-century digital selling environment. That skill is empathy. It is vitally important today because we’re awash in a giant overwhelming wave of technology. The internet, along with this vast technological tide, has created a world in which too many of us have become anonymous.
Trust is a crucial principle for just about anything—running a company, having a mutual relationship, any form of friendship, marriage, children or parents. And, of course, for sales. We can look at trust as a pyramid, with layers of blocks built one upon the other, over time.
Since the beginning of time, sales has had a tendency to be overbalanced on one side or the other—on the side of the seller, or on the side of the buyer. In a perfect world, the buyer’s best deal and the seller’s best profit would somehow mesh in total harmony. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so a win-win is actually a compromise.
How a salesperson makes the buying experience enjoyable goes back to understanding the buyer—understanding each individual buyer you’re dealing with.
Today an enterprise of any kind cannot survive without a process. In today’s digital world, every activity must be part and parcel of your process, a must be defined more clearly than any other time in history.
The network selling experience means wealth creation both for the seller, and the buyer. It is designed to create a win-win situation for both sides. When this has happened, the buyer will happily provide referrals to the seller, and as well, will recommend the seller’s product or service to others.
How do We Build Character?
But a person can only fulfill the duties of Network Selling—such as win-win, empathy and building trust—if they have fully evolved their character. So how do you do that?
To answer that question, I’m beginning with a very old proverb, the origin of which is unknown, which totally sets the stage for this series of articles.
Watch your thoughts, because they become words.
Watch your words, because they become actions.
Watch your actions, because they become habits.
Watch your habits, because they become your character.
Watch your character, because it becomes your destiny.
So thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, and character becomes destiny. The destiny of a salesperson is, of course, to be a great salesperson. You can see that destiny in the salesperson’s character and results.
Each of these points will be the focus of a separate article in this series.
I’ll see you soon next week as we begin…with thoughts!