Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Are You A Good Sales Clerk or a Great Seller?

Thirty-three across, in a syndicated crossword puzzle I struggled with yesterday had "sales person" (5 letters) as the clue. The answer, which took me way too long to answer was "C-L-E-R-K." Hey, there's nothing wrong with being a clerk, or post man or neurosurgeon. But after more than a few decades in and around sales, clerk just wouldn't come to mind if somebody asked, "and what do you do for a living, Bob?"

After all, what does a clerk do? He tells you what products he has for sale. He'll be able to answer most questions about their features and benefits. He knows the prices; for just one and the discounts, if any, for bulk. He probably can even tell you why his stuff is better than the other brands he doesn't carry, and he'll be happy to process your order (take your cash and give you the merchandise). Hmmm. OK, I get it. The difference between a sales "clerk" and a real seller has more meaning to remarkable sellers than to most of those on the other side of the transaction. If you accept that proposition, and you'd like the view of your skills and productivity to be more profound, you have the mindset to make it happen.

Great sellers do much more than present their products for sale. They first insist upon learning all that the prospective customer knows, and doesn't know about what works and doesn't in his business plan. He joins his new "partner" in canvassing the marketplace and how the product or service they represent fits the consumer (or "business customer" ) needs. They examine the competition and the respective brand positions. They review what's worked in the past and what fell short. And then, after that work, all orchestrated by the seller (the Great Seller) they plan and execute the strategy and plan.

The answer to a crossword clue of "Great Seller" just couldn't be clerk.

Great Selling!

Love Your Work and Work Tirelessly
Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
Serve, Don't Sell
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