I became a salesperson by accident. I left a meaningful job that I loved because I needed more revenue for a large family, and because, admittedly there were painful politics involved in saving the world. While I was gratified by my new job, it was hard to admit. Does anyone ever really mean to become a salesperson? Suddenly, the question "what do you do?", asked incessantly in our culture, became an awkward juggling of euphemisms. "I work in senior services" or "I am a consultant" or "I work at a retirement community". My answers ranged from inaccurate to cumbersome, all with one purpose: to mask the truth about what I was ashamed to admit: I am a salesperson.
The word salesperson conjures up all kinds of negative images that become our first challenge when meeting with potential residents. Here's our cultural understanding of salespeople:LIARS.Okay, I can add a few other words: manipulators, schmoozers, tricksters, con-artists, and, used car salesmen (those poor guys!).No matter what we, as salespeople, think of our own profession, and of ourselves, these are the stereotypes with which people walk in our doors. These are the images that run through almost everyone's minds when they hear that word:salesperson. And yet, not only is the "liar" stereotype not always true, but being a lying salesperson is ineﬀective
People Crave What is Real
Here's the rub:What if being authentic means admitting to being a salesperson? We spend hundreds of thousands every year in our industry learning scripts – and sort through hundreds of sales books that encourage devices, dramatics, and manipulations (making us the very things we all hate) – so that we can more effectively pretend not to be salespeople! From the behavior encouraged of salespeople, you would think we have something to hide. The senior living industry has NOTHING to hide! We have an amazing product to offer people who genuinely face risks, and we bury it in performance. Why? To convince the consumer and ourselves, we are not salespeople!
Every profession and every professional needs structure. But structure doesn't have to be confining. There is a kind of structure and training that would actually encourage an authentic salesperson and put our prospective buyers at ease. It starts with telling your client: I AM a salesperson. I want you to live here. Now let's get to work.
That's what RaDical Sales®, this month’s series, is all about. It is not only about how you can become an authentic salesperson, but how that authenticity can encourage a gratifying and authentic relationship between your prospect, your community, and you.
Being Authentically “You”
These days it is popular to espouse that there's no mystery in sales, no natural abilities, no "you have to be born with it" truths. I disagree. Putting aside the self-hatred of our profession, if you look at yourself honestly and don't see a salesperson waiting to be acknowledged and developed, then RaDical is not for you and the best thing you can do for yourself and your profession is find what you truly are. If, however, there is a salesperson inside there, an authentic one, waiting for a profession that doesn't have to pretend, waiting to connect with prospects and communities in real ways, and waiting for authentic methods and structure that will enhance those natural-born abilities and lead to more sales, then you have finally arrived at the right place.
I'm hoping RaDical has a collateral effect for sales directors, helping to hire people who can sell your product, because it is what they were meant to do, they honestly believe in your product, and they sincerely care for the people you serve. And, I'm secretly hoping it has a more lasting effect as well: to urge the culture of sales to become fully what will make it most successful — a respectable, deeply authentic vocation that we can be proud to answer to at parties, at work, or in church: "I am a salesperson. This is what I do."
Over the upcoming weeks we will we delve deeper into the aspects of RaDical, and how the program may impact you and your relationship with your prospects. Keep reading the blogs in June and discover how rewarding being authentically “you“ can feel.
This blog entry is provided by guest writer Deborah Potter.
Deborah Potter is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® as well as creator and author of RaDical Sales® senior housing sales system. She joined Retirement Dynamics after her rapid rise from sales counselor to area sales manager for one of the largest senior living systems in the nation. Her success is based on driving sales. She’s adept at helping teams to achieve maximum sales by educating older adults on the value of retirement living and equipping them to make the move. Deborah holds a B.A. in English from Auburn University and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Denver.
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