Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.
This might sound a bit corny and a tad smarmy, but to be a good peddler you need to have the right ’tude, baby. If you have a good one, it’s a lovely day. If you have a bad one, the world sucks. It’s pretty much that simple. Think about it.
Anyone with the right attitude can sell. Not because that’s all they
need, but because they can learn everything else. They can learn the
sales process, they can learn the product, they can learn how to build relationships with prospects and customers. But the wrong attitude, well, that can kill you from the get-go!
It is a peddler’s prerogative to wake up every single morning knowing that a good attitude will change the world and a bad attitude
will really kill your quarter.
Before we go any further, drum
this into your peddler head: We
convey our attitudes by our
actions and behavior. Do
you say hello to coworkers and ask them how
they are, or do you
grunt and hurry past
or ignore them completely? You are
probably known as
having a friendly attitude if
you do the former and an unfriendly attitude if you do the latter.
Each of us develops attitudes about most things in our lives, from
holidays to Hip Hop and everything in between. In this chapter, when
I talk about attitude, I mean your attitude toward peddling. Do you
love it? Do you hate it? Do you have answers to these questions?
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: If you don’t love selling, if your
heart isn’t in it, there is no way in hell you are going to be a great peddler. That, my friend, is the long and the short of it.
Go ahead. Right now. Ask yourself: Is my heart in this peddling gig?
When you do, what you are really asking yourself is: Do I have a passion to sell? Do I have a passion for the peddling life?
Passion is what pulls us through the difficult times. If you have a
passion for your work, you can do what you need to do, day in and
day out, no matter how hard it is. You see hurdles as par for the course and roadblocks as gateways to opportunities. Nothing gets
you down (well, not for more than a day or so) or deters you from
What many folks don’t realize is that selling is hard work, so you
have to have a passion for it. You are an army of one, out in the field,
living by your wits. You gotta love it or leave it.
So sit yourself down for a friendly but honest chat, and figure out
where your passion lies today. Perhaps you did love selling, but lately
find your enthusiasm waning. It happens. But now you must ask yourself why, and if there’s something you can change to get back in
the groove. If so, do it! If not, move on. Do something you are passionate about for criminy’s sake!
On the other hand, maybe you never loved selling and are doing
it for the wrong reasons, the most common one being money. Money
can be a great motivator—but usually, only for so long. Ask yourself
this: If you were not making a lot of money would you still be selling? If the answer is no, you are in the wrong profession. Now that
we got that out in the open, accept it and follow your heart.
Your heart is the most difficult thing for you to control. Almost all
attempts are frivolous. The primal forces in your heart are much
stronger than the thoughts in your head. I don’t want to get into a
philosophical debate of the power of the head versus the power of the
heart, or logic versus emotion, but to me the ultimate confrontation
is man’s basic nature versus man’s basic intellect. I think of the heart
as nature, and the head as intellect. We think we can tame nature, we
think we can control nature. But when nature exercises its true power,
intellect is but a leaf in the wind. As Mr. Tom Waits (the famous songwriter) says, “You can drive out nature with a pitch fork, but it
always comes roaring back again.”
This is why you must find out if your heart is in selling. If it’s not,
it will thwart your success at every turn. If it is, you are unstoppable.
Some forces can’t be reckoned with. There is no stopping a great attitude fueled by a strong passion.
The cool thing about asking your heart a question is it doesn’t lie.
It always gives you a straight-up answer. This is unlike the head,
which can spin you silly. The head will effortlessly concoct a rational for us to carry out whatever folly we are considering.
Some of us listen to the head, because we believe the rationale it
dishes out. We think the head knows better than the heart. “If my
head is telling me I can do this, I can do it.” Wrong! First, check your
heart. If it’s in the game, then check your head.
There are a few peddlers who can truly sell anything. Sneakers, satellites, sailboats—you name it, they can sell it. These folks are rare
Most peddlers should sell products that are related to their interests, education, or experience, and for which they have an aptitude.
Products that they can wrap their minds around. Products that they find compelling. The reason is that when a product engages us, we are
willing to take the time to learn all the ins and outs of how it works,
who buys it, and why. We see its great features and benefits, and we
find workarounds for its shortcomings. We are willing to spend the
time showing others how it can help them.
I call this having your head in the game. If you can’t do this, if you
can’t take a product and make it yours, you don’t have a prayer. You
may even get hurt.
“OK, guys, let’s keep our heads in the game!”
I have heard this for as long as I can remember. My father
yelled it at the Red Sox on TV. My coaches screamed it at me and
my teammates. But I was about eight before I figured out what it really meant.
It’s a warm summer night and I’m playing baseball on a farm
team. I’m scanning the bases when I notice that my buddy over in
center field is off in la la land, ignoring the game, watching the world go by. Before I can get his attention, the batter hits a fly ball
to center field.
Like any good left fielder should do, I run my tail off to back
him up. I’m hoping to prevent an inside-the-park home run when
I see the ball sail within an inch of his head. As I grab the ball, I think, “Whoa! That could have been ugly! I need to get my buddy
to focus on every pitch. He needs to anticipate his next move if the
batter hits the ball to him. He needs to get his head in the game.” At that instant, the meaning became crystal clear.
It also became clear that not having your head in the game can
result in needless errors, if not serious injuries
If your product doesn’t grab you and hold your attention, if you
can’t grasp how it works, if you can’t for the life of you understand
why anyone would buy it, you won’t be able to keep your head in the
game. You won’t be able to stay focused on your deals, laying the
groundwork, anticipating prospects’ objections, providing answers,
and moving your deal to the next step.
The net-net is this: To have a great attitude, your head has to be
in it, too. So if your heart says, “Hell, yes! I’m in!” then check your
head to figure out what you should be selling.
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