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The cost of getting the selection wrong is at least three, if not seven times salary

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What skills do your people need to make the greatest sustainable improvement?

Enrich your sales capability, Part one

We live in a world where we have almost unlimited sources of reference available to help the earnest salesperson. However, other than the ‘basics’ there are many other aspects to being a professional and ethical salesperson – all which can help make the salesperson more rounded and accomplished. Consider these three aspects to sales success that often get overlooked:

•           Self publicity & image

•           Spoon feeding your creativity

•           Knowing when to stop

In this blog we will cover the first of those three:


Self publicity & image

‘What Kills a Skunk is the Publicity it gives itself.’ Abraham Lincoln

What publicity do you give yourself? I believe that it is this publicity, the reputation that you carry with you, that goes a long way to determining the level of your success as a salesperson.


One Saturday evening…

…I found myself driving along, quite late in the evening and I suddenly realised that I was very close to where a friend lived. I realised it was quite late to call on someone uninvited, I know, but I thought I might just give it a try, so I drove around and found the house. I was pretty sure that I had the correct address, but as I approached the front door, I just had a slight question mark in my mind, as well, I suppose, as a slight feeling of guilt at calling so late. Anyway, there were lights on, so I took the chance and knocked at the door.

Fairly quickly, it was opened, by my friend’s wife. I hadn’t met her before, so I apologised for calling at that time of night and asked ‘can I just check that this is where Bob (my Friend) lives?’ ‘Yes, it is’, she replied with something of a sigh, ‘just bring him in and throw him on the settee!’

Anyway, one of the key things that I have learned from that experience is that the skunk analogy is true – not from the experience on Saturday night, you understand, this is from my own work in sales.


Reputation, Right or Wrong, has an impact

If you, or your organisation, have earned a reputation, rightly or wrongly, that colours others’ judgement that causes their nose to start twitching, for better or worse, whether from sweet perfume or the aroma from the skunks rear quarters, it takes a lot of work, energy and time to change it. Sometimes this might work in your favour – if, for example, you have inadvertently done something right – but too many of us leave that to chance and I would suggest that this is, at best, an unwise course on which to rely.

Everybody has an image and yet we can influence our own self publicity with our clients and prospects. Remembering that people will judge us by our actions – not our intentions will help remind us of every little thing that we do (or don’t do by the way!) either works for us or against our image and self publicity.

Keeping that in the forefront of our mind is paramount, because we judge ourselves by our intentions. See the difference?

All of this is critical because in many cases, the decision as to whether I (the buyer) want to even talk to you is based initially on the image I have of you and your perceived credibility. You can have the best sales pitch ever with logic and sound reasoning, but without perceived credibility you are not going to get very far.


Going through the motions

In 1878, the pleasure boat Princess Alice collided with a coal boat in the River Thames, just beside the Crossness sewage station as it was pumping out raw sewage from Victorian London into the Thames. Tragically, in this, the rivers worst ever catastrophe, over 600 people were drowned. A rescuer on returning from a fruitless, and no doubt somewhat pungent, mission declared that the survivors were not so much swimming, more going through the motions!

Maybe from this story, there is something else to think about in terms of sales and our role in it. Are we going through the motions where we do nothing to positively enhance our self-image?


Selling with passion & commitment

Demonstrating you care and are genuinely focussed on the customer, rather than them feeling they are just one of ‘many’ you will try and sell to will truly enhance yourself image. One simple work ethic is ‘work like you have no customers – but treat each customer as if they are your only customer’

But remember that every single thing that we choose to do or not to do (actions and behaviours) either add or detract from our image with the customer and the self publicity we generate for ourselves.


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