Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sales Person of a Kind


Sometimes I hear people tell me how much they like reading this column. The question I have is then: What was it about my column that people like? My column has no fire or feisty political critique that readers would want me to season my writing with. In my search for answers I came across this motivational literature.  

I subscribe to David Tracy’s online motivational site. He alerted me to a new piece on seeing oneself as a salesperson.

“Everyone who is effective in any area of life that involves other people is an excellent salesperson of some kind. Everyone makes his or her living selling something to someone.  Everyone works on commission. Everything that we get in life is determined by how much value that we contribute to the lives and work of other people.  And the more, and better we sell, the more we make.  The better we sell, the better our life becomes.”

David Tracy talks about the importance of seeing oneself as a salesperson with a mission to selling solutions to the needs and problems in society. 

“When you become absolutely excellent at selling yourself and your products and services to other people, you will have a wonderful life, full of riches, rewards and respect. You sell yourself to your friends.  You sell yourself to members of the opposite sex, and to the person you want to marry.  You sell yourself to an employer when you look for a job.  You sell yourself to your co-workers when you seek their cooperation.  You sell yourself to your boss when you want a promotion.  You are selling whenever you attempt to buy anything at a better price than the one they’re asking.”

I learnt that everyday in our lives we are constantly selling, negotiating, managing, persuading, and influencing others to do something that we want them to do.

I have been a salesperson all my life without realizing it. Tracy begins with this line: “One of the hallmarks of the successful person in every field is that he is influential and persuasive in his interactions with other people. He has the ability to get other people to cooperate with him to achieve his goals and fulfill his aspirations. The truly successful person is the one who can influence the greatest number of people in a common direction to help him get more of the things he wants in life.” That rings true of many successful people I know in our country.

Tracy says: “All top executives are excellent low-key salespeople. All effective parents are wonderful salespeople. All effective children are very good at selling ideas to their parents. Excellent employees are very effective at getting their bosses to do things, and getting their coworkers to go along with them and cooperate with them in getting the job done. Everyone who is effective in virtually any area of life that involves other people is an excellent salesperson of some kind.”

Now think about this statement: “Virtually every single piece of financial information in the newspapers and on television and radio has to do with selling in some way. The entire stock market and all the activities associated with it are simply a series of reports on the prices of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments as they are bought and sold on a daily basis. And their prices and values are largely determined by the sales of the products and services that they represent. Companies rise and fall based on whether or not they are capable of selling sufficient quantities of their products or services at sufficient prices in competitive markets. Everything is sales.”

David Tracy discusses the theory of ABC and GAP to illustrate the point.

“There is what you might call an “ABC Theory” of human motivation. It is very simple but also quite powerful. It is essential that you understand it in all your interactions with others. “A” stands for antecedent, or the things that come before an event, activity or decision. “B” stands for the behavior that an individual engages in as the result of a stimulation of some kind. And “C” stands for the consequences of a particular behavior, based on the antecedent that motivated that behavior…”

About “15% of the reasons that a person engages in a particular behavior are determined by what has happened in the past, the antecedent. But fully 85% of a person’s behavior is determined by what they anticipate happening as a result of engaging in that behavior. Economists call this “Rational Expectations Theory.” It is at the heart of modern economic analysis. It simply says that people behave on the basis of their rational expectations, of what they think is going to happen if they buy or sell a particular product or service, or engage in any particular action.”

In terms of GAP David Tracy points out that it is really about identifying what the solutions are then about the products.

“Remember, that people buy solutions to their problems, not products or services. In fact, as a salesperson, you are a problem finder rather than a vendor. The more you focus on the problem or GAP that exists between the real and the ideal in the customer situation, the faster you will find a place where your product or service can plug the GAP…. The most astute people are those who are capable of finding a small GAP and then expanding it into a wide GAP. They are capable of finding a small problem or small dissatisfaction in the mind of the prospect and then, by questioning and commenting, they expand it and increase it until the prospect begins to develop an intense desire for the solution that they are offering.”

I now appreciate the value I have as person and a writer in Papua New Guinea. In all my interactions with others, from morning to night I am continually selling, negotiating, persuading and influencing other people through my life, work, and writing.

I will continue to write.

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