How to Build Respect in the Sales Profession

BY Tim Londergan
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Think about those you know who are respected in the sales profession. These may be past or current relationships or people on your own team. Now, try to isolate their specific traits that have earned your respect. Importantly, this exercise can be a guide to your own path toward success. I’m guessing here, but I bet their characteristics lean toward terms like passionate, knowledgeable, reliable, optimistic, empathetic, and confident.

The sales profession depends on caring problem solvers

We all know the short-​term sellers who are just looking to cover their next car payment. Their focus is inner-​directed and has little relevance to the actual sales profession. However, their presence in the business can damage the image of well-​meaning salespeople who are seeking a foothold to properly serve the customer. Earning the respect of clients can be difficult, especially if you are just starting out. Fortunately, there are many ways sellers can build trust and direct the course of the sales relationship by learning skills, adopting attitudes and developing a mindset toward problem solving.

Your heart in the right place

You know the saying; it’s used to describe a person with good intentions. The phrase can also capsulize the five ways that Kelley Robertson proposes for salespeople to earn a customer’s respect. Kelley is an author and president of The Robertson Training Group. His suggestions reflect the premise of “give respect to earn respect. In effect, they range from showing up on time, making relevant proposals, and avoiding the canned pitch, to confessing when your solution is just not-​right-​at-​this-​time. Cumulatively, these steps reflect honor for the client, the seller’s wholesome intentions and integrity for the sales profession.

Play the long game

Newcomers to the sales profession often get a raw deal. They are handed an aggressive sales quota or outsized revenue budget that they struggle to achieve. If they fail, it only adds to their anxiety. Consequently, the pressure mounts until they resort to short-​term sales tactics or give up entirely. This is where smart sales managers can make a difference in the career of aspiring sales professionals. Sales managers must allow sellers time to cultivate relationships and gain the respect of their prospects without the burden of quotas. “Playing the Long Game in Sales” offers tips on how to do just that at yoursalesmaven​.com.

Learn to earn respect in all phases of your life

Sometimes stress at home or in the workplace create overwhelming circumstances that sideline our best efforts. While there are no easy answers, this article from entrepreneur​.com provides two dozen tips to earn respect that make the sales profession more rewarding and enjoyable at the same time. Granted, some are simple things you learned in grade school, like smile more, help others, take initiative, stand up straight, or be a good listener. But other tips remind you that earning respect is a two-​way street. For instance, treating people as you would like them to treat you is paramount. Also, handling conflicts gracefully reveals your character and says much more about your maturity and your sense of duty to your profession.

Reputation, credibility and trust

Your success in sales, much like your success in life will be a function of how you treat others. One of the famous quotes by motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, was “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” This attitude of paying forward, biding your time, listening to needs, and being proactive is the path to success in the sales profession. Establishing a reputation of trust and credibility lays the groundwork of enduring respect.

Photo by Tiago Felipe Ferreira on Unsplash