10 Greatest Salespeople of All Time (Inc. Magazine)
As we state in our Personal Selling tutorial, sales is a highly misunderstood field. Yes, most people understand the main task of many (but not all) salespeople is to get customers to purchase products. And, because of this many have developed the perception that salespeople must be extremely aggressive and interested in only one thing – making a sale.
But, it would be shortsighted to think that making the sale is all salespeople do. In fact, they contribute to the marketing organization in many other ways. For example, the sales force is a key provider of market information since they are directly involved with customers on a daily basis. This level of contact can directly benefit those in charge of product marketing by providing important details on what is occurring in the market.
Companies also know that having a sales force that is viewed as being only interested in making the sale may not always be good for business. Why? Because for many buyers the only contact they have with a company may be through the salesperson, consequently, a customer’s perception of a salesperson is also their perception of the company. Any negative feelings they have toward a salesperson may also be the attitude they have about the company.
Yet, despite different tasks salespeople perform for a company or a company’s efforts to field a customer-friendly sales force, many still equate sales success with the ability salespeople have to motivate customers to make a purchase.
However, this story may offer some support for other methods that make for success in selling. While there certainly is a good representation of dynamic sellers, such as infomercial icon Ron Popeil and Oracles Larry Ellison, the story also includes discussion of men and women who built successful sales careers in other ways such as through sales training, use of technology and building strong customer relationships.
Napoleon Barragan – The founder of 1-800-Mattress was a genius at using technology to open new sales channels for his Simmons and Sealys. He was one of the first and most successful adopters of the 1-800 number, correctly predicting that consumers would be perfectly willing to have mattresses delivered to their homes sight unseen.
What trait is most common among each of the sales stars profiled in this story?
Image by Auntie P