Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Art of the Deal

Art? Selling, sharks, Trump....all images of selling. Selling what? Millions of articles have been written about how to increase sales, close the deal, but how many of them really and truly work? Or does it really even matter? I have been on both sides of the B2B sales world. Both are corrupt and broken. At the heart of what is broken is greed. We are all motivated by greed. We are raised to be greedy. We sell to feed this addiction and we buy and consume as well. The abilty to convince someone to buy is more of a psycolgy question. I am not arguing the science behind this but more about the end game.

I once had a salesman in my home selling food, home delivery of meats. He was young, knowledgable and savvy. The lesson I learned from him had nothing to do with food, it had to do with sales. He stated that he was instructed that 90% of the "walkaways"(folks who don't buy on the spot) never purchase. Thus he was motivated to stay longer and try to close. I respected him for the candor and honesty. I did not buy, however, it had nothing to do with his abiltiy. That is a lesson that I have applied throughout my career. I do not want to be "that guy". The sales guy who changes colors to suit the mood. I choose to be someone who spoke with conviction and who was willing to walk away when needed. This did not always produce the most lucrative results at the time, but it did allow me to develop long standing professional relationships that went beyond the sale.

Business is conducted to supply products and services. We are no longer a self suffcient species. We have grown to rely on others for many of our needs and wants. Thus commerce developed. Once we attached revenue to products and services the sell was born. As long as man has recorded his history, commerce has been alive. Before true currency, we traded. Traded what we had that someone needed for a need that we had. It was a much more pure transaction at that point because the deal was based soley on needs. Emotion was not a driver.

The sprint ends quickly. Business and life are not comparable to the sprinter. Their shelf life is short.