Personal growth trumps skills every time. A salesman I once knew, let’s call him “Sam,” (not his real name), was the best real estate agent in his 20 person firm in terms of real estate knowledge. When it came to knowing real estate law, contracts, how to get the best deal, anything having to do with the business of being an agent, Sam was all over it. Sure, he was brusque and impatient with customers, and he treated those who didn’t understand contracts like they were idiots, but who cared. He knew his stuff.
Betty, on the other hand, could never quite understand contracts. She had to have others run her numbers, and hands down was the worst agent in the office when it came to real estate knowledge. She had barely passed her agent’s exam. However, she was also the only agent with multi-million dollar sales every year. She consistently outsold every agent in the office year after year. Sam just didn’t understand how she did it, and neither did anyone else. But within 10 seconds of meeting Betty, I did.
When you met Betty you felt like you’d met your long lost friend and soul mate. Betty had a knack for engendering trust in her right off the bat. I asked her how she’d learned that. She told me the first book about sales she’d ever read was Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” She was horribly shy in high school, so she was forced to work on her personal skills, and people skills before she ever discovered real estate. By the time she got her real estate license the strongest skills she had were personal ones. Every year her real estate skills get better, but it’s her attention to her growth as a person that has made her the company’s golden ticket. Ninety percent of sales are about the relationship you develop with a customer. You can’t fake it, at least not for long. Skills that win customers are the personal ones—compassion, patience, empathy, sympathy, listening abilities, the art of easy conversation. If you’re going to focus on sales, focus on becoming a better person.
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” Theodore Roosevelt