Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Overcoming the Used Car Salesman in Yourself
First off, let's clarify something. Mandrake the used car salesman is an archetype - it's a character that has grown to be compiled and exaggerated over time as the various accumulated experiences of individuals have been layered on top of one another. The result is a Frankenstein of sorts, with Harry the corner car dealer's plaid jacket, Sam the huckster's flair for half-truths, aggressive Al's pressure tactics and George the gouger's self-serving deal making.
The fact that Mandrake the used car salesman is a compilation, an exaggeration, doesn't make him any less powerful. When you are in the midst of a selling/buying transaction and you notice a touch of him, one of these or other characters, the used car salesman pops into the foreground of your consciousness, reinforcing the stereotype.
Here's where it gets really interesting. Back in the real world you have just discovered that your new responsibilities include sales. You have been a professional whatever (engineer, banker, etc.) all of these years and now you have to do WHAT?? You have been in a role that carries a lofty reputation and respect, and now they are expecting you to lower yourself and become another Mandrake??
How do you go out there and talk to people and avoid having them hang up on you, slam the door in your face, or treat you with the same mistrust that they have learned that they need to use with the used car salesman? You have to let go of the archetype, first of all. You need to start by acknowledging that it's not representative of the bulk of salespersons out there. You don't have to be that guy if you don't want to be that guy.
Next, think about the qualities and behaviors you would like to see in someone you trust, from whom you want to buy something big. Is that ideal person candid and straightforward? Are they well-informed? Are they easy to talk to? Can you trust that they have your best interests in mind? Would you recommend them to friends and family?
Replace the arechetypical descriptions by affirming the ideal characteristics. Convert them to behaviors and set goals around them. For instance, if you want to be easy to talk to, you can affirm that in yourself by saying or writing, "I remember to start by asking questions to get to know my prospective customer." or "I listen more than I talk when interacting with prospects."
In order to embrace the role of the ideal salesperson you have to let go of Mandrake the Used Car Salesman. While you are working with his shadow looming over you, you aren't going to engage in the level of activity that you need to engage in to get the results you want. You aren't going to risk being rejected because Mandrake deserves to be rejected.
Your options are wide open to become the type of salesperson (or person, for that matter) with whom you would like to do business, in a style that suits your natural strengths. You will get there faster if, instead of focusing on what you don't want, you engage your imagination in envisioning how you DO want to be.