Death of a Salesman

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As communication continues


to experience convulsively


explosive change, so do the


methodologies we use to sell.


     Playwrite Arthur Miller clearly had something else in mind at the time he wrote and titled his classic Death of a Salesman, but there could never be a more apropos expression for what’s happening today, right this very minute, that is about to forever extinguish the “sales process” as we have known it since the day anyone reading this was born. 

     What, for example, does it suggest to you that even as recent as a year ago, effective sales communication was commonly reported to consist of as much as 87% nonverbal ingredients–gestures, posture, tone of voice, appearance, eye contact, active listening, etc.– and today major companies are talking about the sales process in terms of “digital body language”?

     Except for those salespeople who haven’t caught up (or, on) yet (and you surely know who they are and where they breed), business is at the crossroads of revolutionary change, and savvy salespeople spurred on by the blinding speed of technological advances are quick on the heels of entrepreneurs worldwide in leading the way.

     With entrepreneurial base-camp entrenchments established, salespeople will be muscling their way up the mountainside and serving the rest of society and the business world as the catalysts of change who will ultimately shake our depressed economy back into place. But this will only happen if those engaged in sales careers are able to fully grasp the dynamics of what’s going on around them.

     Entrepreneurs are spirited innovators who start enterprises, and who find the fuel and who get the engines fired up, and who get that initial forward thrust to happen (which is probably the most monumentally difficult and underrated task in all of business), but it is the world’s salespeople who who are responsible for revenues and growth and profits more than any other entity.

     Ah, but therein lies the potential problem. Salespeople who don’t see what’s happening, who don’t jump at the chance to instantly and dramatically shift into higher gear, who think they can keep doing the same old things in the same old ways, will fall by the wayside and die. And there won’t be any mercy rules!

The bottom line for salespeople:

  • You must adjust your mindset to become more of a marketer and less of a sales representative.
  • You must provide prospects/customers with new buying process experiences that are anchored by product/service/idea and market knowledge.

         You must rely more heavily on proving performance with demonstration and testing and sampling.

  • You must increase your focus on benefits and ways of integrating purchases with existing products/services/ideas.
  • You must spend more energy sitting on the same side of the prospect/customer’s problem-solving table and working as a partner instead of as a representative.

HIGH TRUST/credibility, proven performance and database marketing are now the three kings of sales! Are you making it happen, or is it happening to you? 

# # #

Good Night and God Bless You! 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!    


4 comments so far

4 Comments to “Death of a Salesman”

  1. Volkeron 30 Mar 2009 at 4:31 am


    Just folllowed your thread from the Sales Blog. Very interesting.

    For someone who has done a lot of sales and a lot of communication training, I can tell you it is not all about the 87% of non verbal communication. Also, never forget, it depends on the product you are selling too.

    Giving trials, examples, the touch and feel of a product is not always possible. Compare a car sales man to a conference delegate sales person. Wow, here we go with body and non body languages.

    The car sales person can give the prospect the key, give him the feel, the touch and the experience before the buy. The value for money becomes much clearer. However, the deal is done the minute the person drives off.

    Now, the delegate sales person sells a concept of knowledge. If the prospect goes and attends the conference, can turn the knowledge into progress (for the company, personal etc.) then the person sees ROI, e.g. comes back to see more conferences, trainings, seminars etc etc. You have a value chain. Then the personality of the sales person is more important, don’t you think?

    Looking forward to your opinion. Nice blog btw!


    Hi Volker – Thank you very much for your insightful comments, and blog compliment. Your points are well-taken, and I agree about the importance of the salesperson’s personality in a value chain situation such as the example you offer, though I do think that even in those applications, we are not far –in this hi-tech communications tsunami– from seeing that sales personality factor experience substantive change as well.

    I also agree with your distinctions about product “touch and feel” and “body/non-body” language, but here too I might take SOME exception to the car salesman situation you raise to underscore your contention that “the deal is done the minute the person drives off.”

    Based on recent work with a major car dealership that (even in this stereotypical “hard and personality sell” environment), more awareness is surfacing about the long-term customer relations component of each sale and the need to NOT think the deal is done the minute the person drives off because that thinking will drive (no pun intended) the buyer and the buyer’s family and friends to some other dealer.

    Thanks again for your input. Please return often. Your comments are ALWAYS welcome. Regards – Hal

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  3. Mark Sokason 15 Apr 2009 at 8:20 am

    Hal – I rarely comment on blogs but yours I had to stop and say Great Blog!! Thank you, and keep up the super posts!! – Mark

    Thank you, Mark! I appreciate your comments and your visit. Please return soon. Regards – Hal

  4. […] Doctors give away sample drugs they get from detail reps who want the doctor’s Rx business. Airlines offer free upgrades to frequent flyers. Car salesmen will tear the shirts off their backs to get your signature on the contract. Every one loves free sample products!  […]

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