Confronting Discomfort As A Sales Professional
The fluorescent lights hum overhead, casting an almost clinical sheen on the bustling mall scene. Amidst the hurried shoppers and tempting storefronts, my gaze settles on a lone figure tucked away in a corner kiosk. His slumped posture and vacant eyes tell a story – a story of discomfort, fear, and missed opportunities. He’s the embodiment of a truth I’ve encountered throughout my years in sales: discomfort is the ever-present shadow we must learn to dance with.
But what if we saw this discomfort not as a roadblock, but as a stepping stone to greater success? What if we could transform those nervous butterflies into wings that propel us to new heights? The way we perceive and handle this discomfort can redefine our path in this challenging yet rewarding profession.
Malls (aka Sales Laboratories)
My fascination with malls as a sales laboratory began early in my career. I realized that these bustling centers of commerce offer a unique window into the world of sales. Every interaction, every pitch, and every customer response at the mall provides insights into the intricate dance of selling.
I often spend hours observing different kiosks and stores, analyzing how salespeople engage with customers. This environment presents an array of sales ‘styles’ – from the enthusiastic and persistent to the hesitant and reserved. Each pitch offers lessons on what to do and what to avoid in sales.
One particular encounter etched itself deeply in my memory. A salesperson at a technology store possessed the uncanny ability to disarm customers instantly. He exuded an aura of genuine warmth and interest, meticulously listening and tailoring his approach to each individual’s needs. Not only that, he wasn’t just selling products; he was building relationships, demonstrating the power of empathy and customer-centricity.
A Tale of Two Kiosks
On one of my visits to the Ontario Mills Mall in Southern California, I encountered two salespeople who epitomized the spectrum of responses to sales discomfort. One salesman, peddling neck pillows, seemed almost invisible. He lacked the confidence to engage with potential customers, letting countless opportunities slip through his grasp. His fear of stepping outside his comfort zone was a tangible barrier to his success.
In stark contrast, another kiosk buzzed with the infectious energy of a salesman offering nail and skincare products. He faced rejection after rejection, yet his enthusiasm remained undeterred. His persistence wasn’t a product of blind optimism; it stemmed from a deep belief in his product and a resilience that turned potential setbacks into demonstrations of commitment.
This encounter highlighted a critical lesson: our attitude towards discomfort defines our success. The neck pillow salesman’s hesitation was a self-inflicted barrier, while the nail care pro’s resilience transformed rejections into opportunities for connection.
Key Lessons from the Sales Floor
These observations led me to some key lessons in being a good salesperson.
- The Role of Personal Energy: The energy you bring into a sales interaction can be a game-changer. Customers are drawn to salespeople who exude confidence and enthusiasm. They want to engage with someone who believes in what they’re selling.
- Handling Rejection: Rejection is an inherent part of sales. The key is not to let it dampen your spirit. Every ‘no’ is a step closer to a ‘yes.’ Learning to handle rejection gracefully is a skill that every salesperson must develop.
- Belief in the Product: A deep belief in your product’s value is contagious. When you genuinely believe that what you’re selling can make a difference, it shows in your interactions and can significantly influence the customer’s decision.
Common Sales Discomforts and How to Overcome Them
Every sales professional will encounter a variety of discomforts. From dealing with objections to closing a sale, these challenges can be daunting. However, preparation and a positive mindset can help you overcome these hurdles.
For instance, when dealing with objections, listen actively to understand the customer’s concerns. Offer solutions that address these concerns directly. Remember, an objection is often a request for more information.
When it comes to closing a sale, focus on the value your product or service offers to your prospect. Be clear and confident in your pitch, and don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. Often, a straightforward approach is appreciated by customers.
Discomfort is A Catalyst for Growth
As you reflect on your own sales experiences and challenges, remember that discomfort is not a barrier but a catalyst for growth. It’s an invitation to step into a larger version of yourself, both professionally and personally. Whether you’re a seasoned sales veteran or just starting out, there’s always room to grow, to be bolder, to embrace the discomforts that come with the territory.
I encourage you to take these lessons to heart. Reflect on your approach to sales discomfort, and consider how you can turn these moments into opportunities for growth.
This blog post draws from the first chapter of my book, Be Bold and Win The Sale. If you want to go deeper into the concepts shared, I encourage you to pick up a copy of the book.