Recently, John Heath from Colonial Life Insurance visited our Marketing Management class one morning. He has no degree in business, yet he is a great salesman. He and his assistant presented practical information for those wanting to get into sales. I, for one, do not want to venture into that field. Personally, the thought of speaking with people face-to-face, trying to get them to buy a product, terrifies me. But, to each his own, right?
Dr. Green has been reiterating to the class the idea that a person needs to be likeable and trustworthy in order to sell a product to someone. John definitely had those qualities about himself. He was friendly, explained things well, and seemed like he had your best interest in the forefront of his mind. David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg write, “Our basic theory is that a good salesman must have at least two basic qualities: empathy and ego drive” (2006). Along with being trustworthy and empathetic, a salesman must be driven. One of Heath’s maxims is that you can make as much money as you think you are worth. It is simply up to you to put in the time.
Heath’s primary role as an insurance salesman, it seems, is to promote awareness of his company’s product. Chernev explains, “Awareness reflects customers’ knowledge of the offering. Awareness can be generated by the company’s direct communications to its target customers…” (2014). Without awareness of your product, you have no market.
Heath explained the importance of getting as many “drops” as possible to contacts each week. It is called a drop because you are trying to “drop” your name and information to a certain business. The more times you contact a sales prospect, the more likely you are to get further with them in the sales process. “’No’ isn’t always a flat-out ‘no.’ Most of the time, it just means ‘not right now,’ so don’t be discouraged when you get a no. Be persistent,” Heath said.
This is what would scare me if I took a sales position. I do not like being told no. I feel as though my relationship with that person is hurt when they say no. I feel I cannot be as open with them.
Heath mentioned the book Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount. He and his assistant both praised it as a very inspiring, easy read, and it is definitely something salespeople need to check out. So, in a perfect world, I will read that book and suddenly fall in love with sales. We shall see.
Chernev, A. (2014). Strategic Marketing Management. Chicago: Cerebellum Press.
Mayer, D. and Greenberg, H. (2006). What Makes a Good Salesman. Harvard Business Review.