As we explore the different traits that are considered essential in defining what makes a good salesman, let’s consider the stigma that is sometimes attached to the profession. Unfortunately, there’s a stereotype out there that many people associate with anyone in sales. Good salesmen have been the butt of jokes for decades, perhaps even centuries. In popular culture, they have been portrayed as shameless hucksters since the days of door to door snake oil salesmen. Even a Broadway musical, The Music Man, portrays the main character as a shyster.
Because of these unflattering caricatures, there tends to be a negative perception of salesmen. It’s no wonder that they have to work so hard just to overcome reluctant customers and make an honest living!
When we talk about sales resistance in customers, cost is often the factor that first comes to mind. But there’s another, very important, factor—trust. That’s why integrity is a fundamental ingredient in what makes a good salesman.
Integrity, honor, uprightness, reliability, sincerity, honesty—there are plenty of words that basically mean, “You can trust me—I will never steer you wrong.” It’s a crucial factor in building relationships with customers and establishing a rapport where all parties are comfortable going through the process together.
Once a salesman closes a deal with a customer, the customer should have a good feeling, not a bad taste in his mouth. It’s the salesman’s job to make sure that this good feeling happens; after all, the customer’s not only buying a product or service, he’s buying what the salesman is telling him. No company wants their salesmen selling lies.
If we were to ask sales managers where the salesmen’s focus should be, they would most likely tell us that salesmen should be sales-focused. While this is true, the sale is only the last step of the formula. The first step is gaining the customers’ trust by focusing on their needs and concerns, then maintaining that trust throughout the process. When the focus is on the customer, it naturally follows that the sale will be accomplished, which will advance the success of the company.
So customer-focus equals sales-focus, which equals company focus. When you make integrity a part of the formula for what makes a good salesman, you can be assured you’re hiring someone whose priority will always be to do the right thing for the customers and the company. This type of selling is a win-win-win situation, and it builds respect from customers, colleagues, and managers, creating a foundation for selling success over the long term.
Ultimately, making integrity a primary element in your formula of what makes a good salesman boils down to a simple but important concept: protecting your company’s reputation. If you don’t follow a proven sales hiring system such as the one provided by AHS, you may end up hiring salespeople who will do anything to make a sale. As a result, you’ll end up with more than your average number of dissatisfied customers. This will lead to customer service problems, damaging feedback, and negative word-of-mouth. We all know how that can affect a company!