The basic elements of salesmanship
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.
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.)