John’s a salesman. He’s a confident character because he knows he’s good at what he does and he understands the needs of his customers. John’s positive and articulate when he talks, so he’s good at communicating. He’s considerate of his customers’ needs, so he’s also a good listener. Because he's friendly and down-to-earth, he gets on with people. He’s determined to get things done but he’s patient at the same time. His clean-cut professionalism is reflected by his clothes. He dresses smartly without wanting to make a fuss.
Jeff’s a salesman. He likes to think he’s a confident character but the reality is, he’s just noisy. He’s worked in sales for quite a while. But he still thinks a lot more of himself than he should. He tells his colleagues that he’s passionate about what he does. What he means is, he’s got a short fuse – especially when one of his deals doesn’t go through. Jeff lacks social skills and diplomacy. In fact, he borders on rude. His clothes reflect him as a character – loud and dated. He likes to think he’s good with the ladies, but he’s inconsiderate and overbearing. He also likes to think he’s a bit Wolf of Wall Street. He’s more Wolf Creek.
Two sides of the same coin
In years gone by, salespeople were often viewed as brash, unscrupulous and pushy, willing to say anything if it would earn them some quick money. They were a bit like Jeff. But now, the view of salespeople is changing. Talking about the cliché has almost become as much of a cliché as the cliché itself. Salespeople have become a lot more like John.
Which are you?
In our new series of insight pieces, we’ll be looking at the six essential qualities that make a good salesperson. So whether you already work in sales or are thinking about a sales career, you’ll be able to see which of these qualities you already have and what you need to work on.
Are you a John…or a Jeff?