“Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” This popular phrase has been attributed to Confucius. No, he wasn’t in sales, but his advice is great for the sales profession.
Research shows that you will capture the mood, attitude and beliefs of the people you hang with the most. It’s called “emotional contagion” and is defined as the “phenomenon of having one person’s emotions and related behaviors directly trigger similar emotions and behaviors in other people.”
If you want to be more successful in sales, choose wisely and avoid these two types of salespeople.
#1: Avoid salespeople that sell on price. The price-driven, transactional salesperson has convinced himself that the only way he can close deals is to lower the price. Hang around this person long enough and you will start believing his rhetoric, and adopt his bad selling habit of discounting too quickly and too often.
Time to apply the emotional-intelligence skill of reality testing and seeing things for what they are. The irony behind this selling scenario is that there are other salespeople at the company selling the same products and services — at full margin!
And if prospects are really buying only on price, the company doesn’t need to hire and pay for high powered salespeople. They simply need to hire a pleasant person to take phone orders.
Find and associate with salespeople that know how to sell on value, not price. You will find two key differentiators:
- Conviction – The salesperson selling value and at full margin has no doubt that her product, service and expertise are worth it. Her conviction shows up in every step of the sales process, never wavering, even with a strong negotiator.
- Selling skills – Salespeople that sells on value has put in the time to become masterful at the art and science of sales. They practice a lot and are good at asking the right questions, enabling the prospect to discover the return on investment for the salesperson’s services today and in the future.
#2: Avoid salespeople that complain about their boss, company and industry. In blunt terms, these salespeople are whiners, not winners. Each morning they wake up, put on dark glasses and look at the world through the lens of what they don’t have versus creating what they need to have. Hang around these people long enough and you will pick up the habit of complaining.
Complaining is the easy way out in sales because you get to point fingers at everyone and everything that isn’t perfect – except, of course, yourself.
Find and associate with positive, optimistic salespeople. Research shows that optimistic salespeople do better in sales.
- They bounce back quicker after a setback. Instead of whining, “Why did this happen to me?” they ask, “What’s the lesson learned?”
- They take business seriously, but not themselves. When they run into adversity, they look for the humor in the situation. Instead of whining, they think, “What’s funny about this situation?” I remember a young, hard-working salesperson making fun of himself as he shared with his colleagues how he was asked to leave a building while foot canvassing for opportunities. As he was leaving, he got stuck in the elevator for an hour with the person that had asked him to leave. That was an uncomfortable ride.
- Optimistic salespeople are grateful people. They are thankful for tough prospects because it helps them appreciate their good clients. They are grateful for being tired at the end of a work week because they know there are many people that don’t have a job or one that pays as well as sales.
Confucius was right. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. Make better friends in sales to make better sales.