The Growth Dynamics executive team (both of us) just sat down to meet with a fresh-faced, recent college grad selling printers and copiers scrambling through his third week on the job. Geez, to be so young and full of optimism, Copier Colin had a smile on his face and he tried to manage the call and get us to be as excited about office equipment as he is. His manager was with him today, and frankly, she did a good job making sure no one got hurt in the exchange.
I had to ask Copier Colin how things were going as he was living the world of knocking on doors and hoping to find those needles buried in the haystacks of small business offices. What he shared with us made me think about what all of us in sales have dealt with at some point in our careers. Copier Colin told a story of getting thrown out of an office, but he went on to explain the business owner actually shoved him physically out the door while exclaiming to his employees that he knew how to deal with cold calling salespeople. I can’t imagine that, in this day and age, another business owner thinking it appropriate to put his hands on a young man just for trying to make a living and walking into his office. Are sales people still beneath common decency in the eyes of the public. Are we all seen as some something unprofessional or unworthy of common decency?
Unfortunately for Copier Colin, and lots of new to the workforce folks, sales people are still second-class citizens. The belief that we don’t do anything but interrupt people, waste their time or say anything to make a commission still exists. I acknowledge there are still peddlers out there that diminish the reputation of all sales professionals, but no one deserves the kind of treatment he experienced. As sales professionals we must do our part to change this perspective by exhibiting the type of behavior that puts the prospect first, allows people to say NO, utilizes sales processes that are respectful and develops a sense of trust. We must be better listeners and we must be defenders of the profession that makes almost everything happen in the business arena. Copier Colin will make it if he doesn’t let the jerk he encountered today determine his value in the market place, and he also learns to avoid all those practices that helped create the belief that sales people aren’t worthy of respect.
We bought a copier.