There is a stigma regarding sales people that inaccurately lumps together professionals with offensive losers. We’ve all had that experience where we wished the person in front of us would shut up and go away. The very thought of dealing with a sales person makes people cringe. Why? We know why! There are people out there selling things that are as far from professional as they are insightful. The guy hammering you on how much you need a new and improved rotisserie should know by your blank stare and restless body language that you aren’t remotely interested. The reality is that they don’t.

There is a difference between a good sales person and an order taker. Sales professionals have a career and order takers have a job. Welcome to McDonald’s can I take your order? You get the idea. They are simply waiting for you to tell them what they want. This is done in every industry and at every sales office because people often mistakenly hire order takers instead of sales professionals. Whether your company sells widgets or multi-million dollar processors to billion dollar companies, the people on the front lines selling your product need to be professionals in the art of selling.

starbucks_1798272cRemember when the new flavor of pumpkin spice was introduced at Starbucks? I certainly do. I went in to get my usual latte and I was greeted with a warm smile and casual conversation. I said I would like a caramel latte please. Enthusiastically she said have you tried our new Pumpkin Spice latte? “It’s so good, you won’t believe how much it changes your palate”. Hmm, I was intrigued. She began to tell me her experience when she tried it, what it tastes like and then reassured me that I wouldn’t be disappointed. That was a sales professional. She informed me of the product, read my level of interest and then sold me on how it would benefit me. Sales are made everyday by people who take pride in what they do and know how to do it.  Conversely my wife and I were looking for a new breakfast table. We walked into the store and were greeted by a sales guy. “Can I help you”, he asked. We are looking to buy a new breakfast table. “Ok, they are over at the far end of the store. Take a look and let me know if anything interests you”. Gee thanks! We looked and left. Without being told the features and benefits it was all just wood to us. That guy was an order taker and could care less if we bought anything. It was simply a numbers game to him. Eventually someone was going to buy.

Sales drives the machine. Companies need to look at their talent pool and determine if they have a staff of professionals or order takers. It’s a waste of precious prospects when the sales person doesn’t create the motivation for the customer to buy. Rarely do people stumble into a grocery store looking to buy a car. People are purposeful when they buy something. They want to learn how the product will enhance their life, job or business. It’s a professional that will create excitement and the desire to buy. Not an order taker!