I have been a salesperson in one form or another since I was 18 years old. I have sold accessories, sporting goods, eyeglasses, wine (one of my absolute favorite things!), advertising, and now first aid supplies and safety training. I am a very good talker, I can carry on a conversation with almost anyone. This is what I do well, talk (ask anyone that knows me). Sales on the other hand? I just don't consider myself a very good salesperson.
I am, however, goal oriented and success driven. I like to be the best at what I do, this is how I thrive. Give me positive feedback, encouragement, tell me I am one of the best at what I do and I will work even harder to be that much better. However, I find that if I have a bad month in sales or even a few bad days, I seem to suffer and it can be a slippery slope. This is another reason I doubt that I am a good salesperson, deep down.
One of the company's I used to work for awarded me Salesperson of the Year for the United States and Canada. I was quite young and working in a male dominated industry, which seems to be a pattern in several of the careers I have chosen. I felt as if I had won an Academy Award. Older men were coming up to me for the rest of the conference asking what I did and how I did it. It was amazing. That was followed by several awards, several years in a row.
I remember talking to my Mom about my big award and telling her I felt like such a fraud. "I don't think I really sell," I said. I always have felt I develop relationships. I try to be compassionate, understanding and caring. I talk. "How's the kids?", "Did you catch the football game this weekend?", "Wasn't the coaching on those 3rd and ten plays just incredible?" etc. "Oh by the way, you need a new cabinet and four defibrillators for your one man office, please sign here"...
My Dad once went with me to set up a display of burial vault miniatures (yes, my family used to be in the wholesale funeral industry, another blog for another day) in a funeral home. The funeral directors were very sweet, very quiet folks who where quite excited about their new displays. As we were getting ready to leave, we were all standing back and "admiring" their displays, when I said, "Well, I guess all you need now is some families to come visit you". My Dad almost ran out of the room he was so embarrassed, until he realized these funeral directors were laughing so hard and agreed! He later told me I have a rare ability to say anything to anyone and put people at ease. Humor has always been my way of doing that, I suppose.
But, basically I don't think I'm a salesperson. I am not good at "hard sales". I chitchat, I present what I have to offer, I chitchat some more and then close the sale. I really think it is overall as effective as anything else. This translates to all areas of my life. "Honey, are you watching the football game tonight? Isn't it going to be great? I am really excited to see how they defend the Wildcat, aren't you?" Which really gets him talking, then..."Do you think you could fold all 10 loads of laundry that are stacked up in the hallway? Oh my did you see how they ran that option?" Crazy. Works almost every time!
But, me, a salesperson??