Sales Director or Waiter - which role best describes you? (Part II)

In Part I of my recent newsletter I shared with you my thoughts in relation to why being proactive and directional, rather than reactive and waitingis so vital to sales success in our current climate. In summary my key points were:

1. The days of low hanging fruit are well and truly gone
2. Value justification is paramount
3. Customers are addicted to DIY
4. Multi-tasking is the new norm
5. Paralysis through risk avoidance and fear
6. Finding the leader in us all

(If you didn't receive my last newsletter, you may wish to read it here.)

As follow up, I promised to help identify the key behaviours, skills and attitudes that we should seek to develop in ourselves or our team if we are to adopt an innovative and successful approach to selling that fits the dynamic world of 2013 and beyond. Which behaviours or traits will help positively contribute to a more directional sales approach and which ones do we need to leave behind? 

Sales 'Director'
Sales 'Waiter'
Proactive - takes the initiative 
Reactive - waits for the buyer to initiate 
Control sales process from start to end
Waits for the buyer's answer / response 
"Seeks to understand - then be understood"
Talk, talk, talk; sell, sell, sell
Exceptionally INTUITIVE listening skills 
Poor listener - ready to butt in and talk over others
Emotionally INTELLIGENT; in touch with self and others
Over or under sensitive (passive / submissive / aggressive) 
Stuck - same old, same old
INSPIRES and motivates 
Bland / stereotypical salesperson
Clear and precise 
Confusing / vague / wooly / waffle / jargon 
Value is paramount
Price is key - stuck if not cheapest
Respects others' position, willing to negotiate BUT knows when to walk away
Willing to do deals at all cost
Creates higher value sales and see bigger picture opportunities 
Low value / low margin sales - misses the big picture
Solution seller
Transactional seller
Great pipeline seller - can manage quality and quantity re sellers 
Poor pipeline management 
INTEGRITY / credibility / sincerity 
Likeable (maybe) but superficial / unreliable / lack of trust 
Sees himself as an equal to his buyer
Sees himself as superior or inferior to his buyer
Positive belief and expectancy 
Suffers with 'Excusitus' or limiting beliefs 

The above outlines my broad perspective, based on working with thousands of sales people over the last 25 years in my role as a manager, coach, trainer, mentor, sales person and team-mate.

All are important but I wish to highlight just a few, especially if you sell higher value, more complex products or services (i.e. not simple, transactional price-driven sales). For me, it's all about the 5 'I's':


Intelligent: This is not about IQ scores (though an average level of this will serve you well), but rather about EQ or EI - emotional intelligence. The ability to influence powerfully, persuade, create movement or change; get people to buy into new thoughts, ideas, alternative ways of doing things; take risks, remove fear, invest in you - this lies at the heart of directional selling. The value of 'Emotional Intelligence' at a leadership and management level is well documented and proven. However, I believe the relevance of EI is severely underrated in relation to selling and the sales person, where successfully directing, managing and influencing relationships externally and internally is of paramount importance.

Simply put, EQ describes a new way of being smart that is more important for success than IQ or technical expertise. It involves two parts: first becoming aware of how emotions in ourselves and others drives behaviours; and second, developing the skills to manage these emotions intelligently to leverage our personal strengths to create products, solve problems and effectively influence the performance of others. (Emotional Capitalists, Martyn Newman).

Truly powerful! As a result of the insights I have gained in relation to EI, I have invested significantly in terms of time and tools and have recently become a licensed practitioner for TEIque - a highly valuable tool to help explore and develop EI for you and your team (to request more information, click here).

Intuitive Listening: We have heard over and over again the importance of listening skills in sellingthe old "two ears and one mouth" theory. However this is more than just a simple course on listening and questioning skills, which can end up being quite staged and manipulative and alienate the customer. Rather, this is much more about switching on your intuitive 'radar' and tuning into people and their environment with all of your senses, not just your ears: engaging your brain (& EI), opening your eyes, alerting your senses, picking up on what's being said, implied or maybe even left unsaid. One of the greatest gifts in life is to value other people by genuinely and intuitively listening to them - it's such a rarity - however it can only but serve you well in sales, forging powerful relationships which endure. 

Then of course, what do you chose to do with this knowledge and information? Do you intuitively allow it to lead, direct and create innovative and powerful solutions that add real value!?

 Innovative: "The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow". Regardless of size and stature, globalisation and technology have created a truly level playing field where sales success doesn't have to be about might. The sales person who can truly 'listen and understand' the needs of their customer, and then respond dynamically and innovatively with creative solutions, gets the prize every time. Innovation means anything but 'business as usual'!

Inspiration: When I ask people I work with what they expect or need from their leaders and managers a constant theme of our time is inspiration. As people struggle to make sense of the chaos around them - struggle with making decisions, knowing which path to take, finding the courage to change and take a different route, try new things, be brave, be bold - we need leaders who can, above all else, inspire. So too in sales, the ability to inspire our customers is key - why should they come on a journey with us if they are uninspired, unsure, nervous? Better to play it safe and stick with same old, same old. The powerful sales person is a true leader and influencer who, above all else, inspires. Someone who helps their customers create a new vision, a new world and walks with them, leading them carefully along the road until they reach their end goal and yours.

And finally integrity: "In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you." (Warren Buffet CEO, Berkshire Hathaway) 

My commitment to selling with integrity is based resolutely in my own personal experience and the experiences I have observed around me over the past 25 years in business (the last nine as Winning Sales). I am proudly confident that my personal and business growth and success has as much to do with my levels of integrity, as with my sales skills prowess. Anyone who met me last Friday will have noticed the spring in my step and the glint in my eye off the back of an incredible business week, most of which had 'landed' on my desk because of the incredible relationships I have been privileged to forge and which have served me so well. Some may call it luck; I call it inevitable because ultimately talent, passion, hard work, and integrity are a powerful combination in helping you grow, thrive and prosper.

For more information on how we can help you shape winning sales behaviours in yourself and your team, please contact me on 07801-387321.

Have a great day! 




I like your suggestion to call our life's puoprse instead what our life is all about . It feels better for me; more reflective and less demanding that I get on with doing whatever it is I am supposed to be here to do. Perhaps I am not here to do anything, but instead I am here to be . After all, I am a human being, not a human doing.

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