Broke salespeople smell funny (according to Dave Ramsey in “Entreleadership”) and I tend to agree with him. There is a certain vibe when someone on a sales team is desperate to make a commission—and customer’s can smell it.
Now, before you get out the torches and pitchforks to tell me about how difficult money can be, let me explain:
There is a difference between falling on hard financial times and being broke. The first is something that we all face from time to time and we take responsibility to overcome it. The second is when someone lives above their means and spends every dollar they have like it’s going out of style—that’s broke.
In sales, people often get lulled into a false sense of security because of their latest commission check, so they buy the boat, or the house, or the car. Most of the time they don’t actually know if they can afford it, but they buy it because they can. Everything looks good on the surface, but underneath, things are bad.
Salespeople like this are:
- Desperate to outrun the debt tidal wave (and this leaks into their interactions with customers)
- Distracted from taking care of customers (because whether they can pay their bills or not is always at the front of their mind)
- Less content with their pay than anyone else (it really doesn’t matter what they make, they will find a way to spend it)
- More likely to make dumb decisions (because their work life mirrors their personal life)
The answer is exactly the opposite of what our culture tells us every day—and here it is: Say no to instant gratification.
When you have the discipline to live within your means and say no to what you could buy, something amazing happens. You gain unprecedented power with your customers (and your career).
You no longer have to make the sale, you get to make the sale. You no longer have to show up to work, you get to show up to work.
This subtle change is immediately noticed by customers and they will build trust with you faster than ever because they understand that you are really in it for them. I would argue that getting your own house in order will free you up (ironically) to sell more than ever before and you will have happier customers along the way.
Here’s a few reasons why:
- You can free your capacity by saying “no” to the jobs that are bad (rather than have to sell anything, no matter what)
- You can win the jobs that are best (since now there is time to think and strategize about how to win those accounts)
- Your discipline in finance will transfer to sales (and sales is a game of discipline)
- You gain an understanding of how wealth works (and this is critical in selling to people who have it)
- Your vision changes from desperation in the here and now to preparation for the future (this will fundamentally change the way you sell)
Saying no to ourselves is one of the hardest things to do (and our culture will tell you that you are crazy), but it’s where you have to start if you want true success in the sales world. It can seem impossible when you are starting out, but with some simple steps, you can start to move the needle and put your house in order. I’d recommend starting with Financial Peace University or finding a friend or family member to talk to who lives out good financial acumen.
Imagine the power you would have if you didn’t have to work your job to pay your mortgage this month. What would it do to customers to tell them, “I don’t have to come in and work this job, but I do it because I love helping people like you find what they need”; or in your next job interview say, “I don’t have to make a move at this point, and I won’t do it hastily. With that in mind, tell me why would your company be the best fit for me”?
You can get your house in order and win more sales than ever, but it starts with you making a radical commitment to yourself. Believe me, you won’t believe the peace that comes from living within your means and the power it gives you to make more sales than ever before.