The S@*% Word
I want to talk about Sales. For whatever reason sales has a bad rap. Billy Mays, QVC, that punk ass car lot guy — we can all remember a time when we were ashamed that sales got us. Like the time you bought that Bowflex in your basement.
But this is buyer’s remorse. This isn’t sales. Sales is what happens before. In the moment. The thing that gets you to pull out your wallet and actually give money.
And it’s a lost art in tech right now. We keep viewing sales as an art instead of a social science. Instead of human.
I started my career as an accountant. No, I didn’t have a pocket protector. And NO, I wasn’t as cool as Ben Affleck in The Accountant either. I’ve never even had a conversation with Anna Kendrick.
I left accounting to go to a startup I believed in. After 2 rejection letters for strategy positions, I begged my way onto the inside sales floor. It’s where I met my friend, Adam.
True story, this was the actual Instagram post I saw the day after my interview with Adam. He took the belief I had in the company and transformed it into belief in myself and his ability. I was so confident that he could teach me the skills I needed that I took a 50% pay-cut and joined his team a week later.
Side note: I was the first to introduce this Staten Island, New York Jets loving, Seton Hall grad to Gary Vaynerchuk! Also, I’ve never seen him eat food. He’s fueled by cigarettes, Starbucks coffee, and classic NY hustle.
Under Adam’s training I learned the operations side of sales. How to listen for the real “why”. How to handle objections. How to negotiate price. How to use silence on a close. It was first rate training and far more applicable than anything I’d learned at PwC.
But Adam isn’t the best salesman I know. That title belongs to Grampy; my dad’s dad.
Grampy & Red
My grandfather finished high school, spent 2 years with the military, and moved from PA to Cleveland. He had $2.
He got a room at the YMCA and begged his way onto a used car lot. Then he became a salesman for MetLife Insurance, and sent my dad and his four siblings to college. When I was 2 he returned to Kent State and graduated with a degree in Geography the summer I finished grad school. We had a joint graduation party.
We’re Italian. There was a lot of wine.
I remember visiting him one summer and he played an old cassette tape for me. It was a conference by Red Motley. Grampy introduced the tape as the most impactful learning material for his sales career.
This is part 1 of the actual tape Grampy played for me. Thanks, YouTube!
What is Sales?
“If you’re in sales you are a want creator.” — Red Motley
It seems obvious but there’s actually a lot going on here. We all learn that there are three basic needs for humans; food, clothing, and shelter.
Everything else that you have bought that goes beyond the basics of those three you have been sold.
And we act like that’s a bad thing. But our wants shouldn’t embarrass us. All sales does is awaken a desire that’s already in you and grow it into a want.
- It’s something you feel you need
- It protects you from something you fear
- It completes an image of what you think life should be
Your Ninja Bullet. Life insurance. The red BMW convertible when you turn 50. All are manifestations of these driving forces.
It’s why tech sales use demos to sell.
Your Sales Team
Why do people buy your product or service?
- There is something your company does they’re not doing and need to
- There is something your company does that insures against an undesired outcome
- Having your product completes the idea of what their business should be like
Our job, throughout the sales process, is to fulfill one of these wants.
This base psychology informs our whole sales process. Because at the end of the day to sell is human.
- Your elderly parent joins a gym because they need to stay healthy and limber
- You send your daughter to a defensive driving class because the alternative is unthinkable
- You buy your husband a new GQ-esque outfit because damnit we’re going to make him look like Clooney if it kills us
Everything is selling.
Everything? Everything. I promise you that the second you make it a priority to develop your sales skills, regardless of your career, life can go from good to holy s@*%!
Stay Curious. Stay Brave.