The basic elements of salesmanship

March 12th, 2013 by Ken

By Joe Illing

Great salesmanship rests upon two foundation stones. They may appear to conflict with conventional wisdom, but if you look closer I think you’ll agree they make sense.

The first of these foundations is empathy, or the ability to put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes.  A healthy dose of this vital elixir enables you to understand the motivations and needs of your prospective customer.

Without empathy a sales pitch (brief exposition of the benefits of a service or product, generally followed by an order for (known as a close) has about as of much of a chance succeeding as does a dart thrown in the dark.

The second of these foundations is listening. The everybody’s buddy types like Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman, who rely on connections and faux friendships; or the slick, fast talking used car salesmen of Cadillac Man may make great fiction, but not great salesmen.

The slick used car salesman.The slick used car salesman. 

What makes a great salesman? The insight and complete knowledge that selling is simply the language of questions.

(Editor’s note:  For more from Joe Illing, simply click on his logo to the right.)

Posted in Business, The Real News

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