I saw a cartoon some time ago that got me thinking about the real role salespeople play.
The cartoon shows a king in his castle, about to be overwhelmed by an enemy force. The king’s assistant is tapping him on the should to let him know a salesman is waiting to see him. The king tells him he’s obviously too busy to talk to a salesman right now so “send him away”. However, this particular salesman was selling machine guns. Oops.
Since my last article was about how salespeople and their customers have differing priorities, I thought this would be appropriate.
When we talk in the context of differing (even conflicting) priorities, this cartoon points out the essence of the salesperson in two ways.
First, the salesperson should find a prospect or customer who really needs what he or she is selling. Bingo! This guy hit the nail right on the head.
Second (and this is the biggest challenge), he or she has to find a way to get his customer (or prospect) to change his current priority system. Sure, the prospect (the King) is busy and has no interest in talking with another salesman. But, as this cartoon makes clear, there are sometimes very good reasons to stop what you’re doing and talk to the salesperson. (The consequences could be dramatic!)
This is why I believe we will always need salespeople. Because no matter how good we are at making decisions for our businesses, we will never be perfect. We will never have all the facts about new trends, new products & services, new ways of doing things.
We will always have our own priorities that divert our attention from the world around us, a world we need to stay in touch with if we are to survive and thrive.
A professional salesperson will help us stay in touch with changes in our world and help us find ways to better manage our companies so we can continue pursuing our goals and our missions. They’ll help us sort out what matters and what does not, what is worth our time and what isn’t.
An effective salesperson will find ways to connect with us so we’ll listen to them. They’ll get us to stop for a moment and consider what they’re presenting us. They’ll help us trust them so we’ll give credence to what they say. They can become trusted advisors and important factors in the success of an organization.
Do your salespeople play this role for their customers?
Or, as a customer/client, do you have salespeople who play this role for your company?