How Salesmen Romanticize Themselves

In fairness, shared by a former BRS Labs and OV salesman ;)

In keeping with the cartoon, I've had more experience where the sales guy was extoling the benefits of rubber swords.

Ouch :)

This is how I feel a lot of the time. Way too many liars and products that don't perform to the listed or stated standards.

Great presentations that say a lot with a lot of things left out due to lack of education or background knowledge of products and industry.

Like don't confuse me with the facts, just tell me what I want to hear and make me feel like the I own the game, # 1, the best.

Keep it simple, to the point, and free lots of fun & prizes

ooh by the way dont break the budget. Just leave out those parts for the next budget cycle. There are a lot of great products and those perform and are the cats meow .

Great Cartoon, Keep up the good work

Good warriors don't depend on salesmen to break the news of innovations to them, either.

Besides, the salesmen will just pick his rig up and visit the other side in about 10 minutes anyway.

Sales "People" often get a bad rap, but there are bad customer's, too, and I've run into plenty of the ones like in the cartoon. Maybe the sales relationship between customers and salespeople is just a reflection of relationships in society these days, more about "how can I get the most for myself out of this" rather than "what do we have in common and how can we benefit each other".

There's certainly issues all around.

I just can't get over a former BRS Labs and OV salesmen posting this. How dense can he be? Does he really not realize that the problem was his solutions did not deliver real value? Did he just think all these customers were too stupid to get it?

I'm sure the comic was a source of comfort to him and gave him a way to rationalize the seemingly fickle and capricous nature of the 'decision-maker'...

If he was shrewd then perhaps he even used it as a way to 'soften up' a hard-nosed prospect...

When he was at all successful then he was smug and arrogant, when not, he was contemptous and dismissive.

Its doubtful he had any more than fleeting thoughts regarding his 'problem'; cognitive dissonance being what it is, most people would cannot function well simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs.

Then again he MAY of also realized that RioRancho Estates and the GlenGarry Highlands were not all they were cracked up to be, but those are the cards you are dealt.

Ray Bernard once commented on how some marketing directors mistakenly feel like they are in the marketing industry, in the Microsoft CSO article. Often salespeople act like this. They don't care or believe the underlying value proposition. They peddle widgets and its their job to 'sell, sell, sell!'

So that narrows it to two people.

hw/lc ?

LC. ? I was thinking HW and MB.

What are you guys - code talkers? :)

It was LC. Chris wins the door prize!

Just didn't want to identify the "innocent". LOL

So there are TWO people out there who worked for both Object Video and B.S Labs??

I was surprised to hear that one exsisted...

What are they selling now? Ice to Eskimos?

Sagy, that's out of line!

He's selling unicorns to the zoo ;)

Sales people are an easy target. Look at how we're typically portrayed in the media ( Herb Tarlek, Glenngary etc.) They're all show and no substance and most would be lucky to spell CAT if you spot them the C & the A. Hey it wouldn't be a stereotype if it wasn't true - right?

The reality though is the best salespeople are nothing like the stereotype. They're hard working, self disciplined and want to create long term relationships with their customers. They're there at the beginning creating the opportunity, they see it through the implementation and are there after the sale to provide whatever support the customer needs. They don't make promises they can't keep, disappear the moment the PO comes in or avoid the problem calls if things don’t go as planned

The very best understand that they need to listen twice as much as they talk and be able to communicate with everyone they deal with in a language they can understand. They also know that sometimes they have to say No, whether it's to a price concession a feature request or a specification their product can't meet

They also know the job isn't 9-5. It's using those hours to make the phone calls, drive to the meetings and get in front of the customers - prospective or existing. After that is when they create proposals, design the systems, learn about the competition or answer that day’s e-mails.

So go ahead and joke about us, we're used to it. We have a lot of experience dealing with rejection. We'll just shrug it off and keep trying to grow your business.

Wow Undisclosed I had no idea...

of the depth of the callous and insensitive abuse you guys endure, day-in, day-out.

The looks, the stares, the comments you can't quite make out etc. The hurtful jibes and gambols hurled

by those who expect you to laugh with them as they parrott some ancient canard maligning your beloved metier.

Fight the good fight!

Anyway, while you're while we have you engaged, can you give us your perspective re: the OP?

To wit, what are the mental states of a salesman employed at a company where the product is failing miserably.

Sincere? Ingenuous? or Disingenuous? or other?


p.s. nonwithstanding the steretype, I love Herb Tarlek, I have the belt and shoes to prove it!

Anyway, while you're while we have you engaged, can you give us your perspective re: the OP?

To wit, what are the mental states of a salesman employed at a company where the product is failing miserably.

Sincere? Ingenuous? or Disingenuous? or other?

I used to sell a product (not video related) that was not what I considered "best in class", but was still functional and provided the end user the specific benefit as advertised. I would not over promise performance, and also prepped the customer with their responsibilities in using and maintaining the product.

My "mentality" was I worked for a company that paid me to do this job. I had a sincere belief in the results the product could provide. I was very successful in selling this product line over a very long period of time (until it finally commoditized) and to this day am still good friends with many of my former customers.

I hope that answered your questions

Good info Undisclosed, thanks!

It's funny how we can all so easily "stockade" S & M folk for just doing their job, as if they should be held to some higher moral standard than say the janitor.

We imagine the indignant new Shill-In-Training, busting into the boardroom tendering his resignation before storming out with nothing to show for it except his integrity.

After realizing the implausibility of that scenario we then downgrade our expectations to thinking "he would be looking to get out ASAP" and we imagine that he shouldn't try too hard, lest he actually make a sale.

Of course the reality is different...

Fortunately it sounds as tho you didn't have to sell any rubber swords, maybe just tin ones? ;)


P.S. None of my business, but are you any relation to U.M. #0021312, the author of the brilliant riposte to Heckling Sales People? If you are, hats off! If you haven't seen it check it out!

Regarding the "tin sword" analogy, in my current position I work with folks who were selling the competitive product I did consider "best of class" in the category. To my surprise it also had "warts" that weren't known to us nor were disclosed by end users of that product

I knew our solution was good in certain environments / applications, but not the right fit for all. I also wasn't afraid to say that directly to the prospective customer. I maintain that same candor in my position today within the IP video world (though I might have a few disagreements with a few folks here in/on certain circumstances / deployments)

Finally, that wasn't me who responded to the heckling thread

I think everyone should have to put in time as a salesman, that way they have empathy for the person, just trying to make a living and sell something.

You have to have a hard shell, dont take anything personnel, have a passion or mission to keep going no matter what.

Your whole way of life is dependant on the sale.

There is different cultures in the world today and you see a different way of selling to each area your in.

Some Relationship, Some Quick Sale, Some Spur of the moment, Some Right time, Right place

I had a friend who was very simple, let nothing bother him, went door to door, sold a ton of stuff no one wanted, but because it did not matter who or what went on around him, he make sales of products no one wanted.

The law of averages " percentages " You will make a sale eventually.

Training, Education, Endurance, Patience,Continued footwork

It always has a price in investment of time and cost to get the sale.

Lonely road of travel to where ever it leads you. You must be available and willing to go. Drop your life to meet the goal.

I have seen many Large, High Level Company's spend huge amounts of money in training, expense's, preparation to get the sale.

And the company could not perform the mission stated and still went on to make a fortune.

Larger the company, The more to spend, The more Professional the layout.

Very expensive presentations and proposals ( its the culture you live in and are talking about )

Not the ADT Free System , or the low down, payment s for life Systems, those salesman really work for education and experience.

As someone who has been selling something all his life, I have to throw in my two cents.........first let me say that there is nothing romantic about this occupation regardless of what you are selling. So fellow salesmen, don't fool yourselves. 40 years of selling is giving you some's a living, that's all.

Second, I would like to say that there are some of us, even selling in this industry, that have morals and scruples and we do not deter from those. In the 17 years with the same integrator, my company has twice added manufacturers to our product line that I refused to sell. One was a VMS/camera/housing manufacturer and the other was an access control software provider. Although the company had these products "in the line" for several years in both cases, I did not sell those products........not once. Had I sold those products I would have been doing my customers a great injustice. If you are a career salesperson, burning bridges by giving customers bad advice is career shortening to say the least. I can honestly say that if I left the company I am with today and went to the competitors camp, many if not all my customers would at least consider following me.

Lastly, my advice to all you who have salesman-phobia and consider us just one step above crooked lawyers, when you do need to buy something or need some product knowledge that you can't gleen from the white papers written by..guess who...salesmen, find a source that has a sales culture based on the needs of the customer not one that is based on the "here, go sell this product to every body you meet" philosophy. When a company has a product that they are bent on selling to every prospect, that company grows the kind of salespeople you all make fun do I.

Mike and Undisclosed Manufacturer, thanks for the feedback and the perspective of sales people. I do think that many sales people mean well and strive to do well to the customer. Those sales people tend not to think they are selling machine guns to medieval knights, realizing the value typically comes from incremental improvements and support, not science fiction advances.

I see two challenges to the 'good' sales person:

  • Marketers, who in my opinion are far more dangerous and far less informed, tend to set the claims and story for a sales person. The path of least resistance is to parrot them even when they are highly misleading or flat wrong.
  • Sales person are, by their nature, public, going out and pitching to the broader community, which means that mistakes or lies are very visible. An engineer making major mistakes, which certainly happens, is typically hidden / obscured by the insides of their company.

I completely agree that these are challenges faced by every salesperson. I sometimes wish that I could take every young person on the day that they decide to take their first sales job, sit them down and say " here are the things you must avoid at all costs". In that lecture would be the importance of telling your customers the truth and avoiding parroting the "too good to be true" claims from manufacturers and how to recognize them. The most important part of the lecture, however, would be listening. If we as salespeople would listen to our customers how much better off would our relationships be? We all sell something, even if it is just ourselves. Think about IPVM. It was built because you listened to what your customers had to say and you gave them what they needed, be it brutally honest at times, it is still based on need.

Well said Mike.

There are good and bad people everywhere. in every country, and every industry.

Similarily there are reliable sales people, and there are those who see their job as "selling at all cost".

Your advice "find a source that has a sales culture based on the needs of the customer " is good, but how do you suggest for the common end-user to filter between the good and the bad?

One way to begin filtering salespeople is to start with the company they work for......ask for a line card before your first visit. If you are shopping for a VMS and the line card shows only one....this is probably not your guy. He his limited to selling you only the VMS in his line whether that is the one you need or not. The same would apply regardless of what you are buying. If you need to buy a good used car, you wouldn't go to a car lot that only sold Chevy Trucks unless you were sure you wanted a Truck.

The next thing is to pay attention to the sales person on the first visit and go with your gut. The good sales person should give you what we call an elevator speech.....a 20 second introduction to his company....then he should be listening to you and asking questions about the problems you have or think you have and then offering solutions to those problems. Sometimes, such as in the case with looking for a VMS, the compilation of problems may be too complex for him to offer a solution without research. This just means that he is contientious not that he has a lack of product knowledge. Again, go with your gut.

When it comes time to see the proposal and pricing ask yourself the right questions......Does the proposal/product offering address the problems I related? Is it overkill? Is it a dead end solution? And most importantly would you want to develop a relationship between this sales person offering this solution and your company? Would you buy another car from the guy you bought the last one from? When I want to upgrade, does this guy offer the upgrade? Do I have other issues this guy might address for me? And again, go with your gut. You might not buy from him this time, but is this salesperson someone I might need to deal with down the road.

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