Bullshit & Bravado
The phrase bullshit is widely used but seldom pondered, being considered below serious academic study. In fact it’s the primary factor in human relationships. Everybody spins stories, and reality, to suit their own interests. We may call it our point-of-view but it’s bullshit, and we all know it. To the extent that we feel our world view is more correct than other world views, and that we try to convince others how we are more right, and they more wrong, we are bullshitters.
Applying this to our chosen occupation, sales, we can see that bullshitting is one of two components that make up the mythos of sales. The closer is to be idolized and emulated, so that one too can be a top gun and make the big bucks. As opposed to the Willy Lomanesque Death of a Salesman loser, or poser.
In the public mind, these are the archetypal, stereotypical images of that subspecies of homo sapiens we call sales reps. A fast-talking, glad handing, bullshitting, con-artist, or a poor, pitiful, door-to-door schlepper. The classic country song implores moms “don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” Moms everywhere would nod their heads vigorously enough to risk whiplash if sales rep were substituted for cowboy, wishing for any alternative fate up to and including (gasp) lawyer or politician. These stereotypes, preconceived opinions and judgments, are held by prospects too. In effect, not just the rep’s reputation, but the entire profession’s reputation has preceded her. She is starting out in a hole and must climb to reach level ground to be trusted.
The main cause of this sad situation is that sales, for most reps, is an accidental career. It’s something they stumbled into, and often just as fast, back out of. They are for the most part interlopers. They don’t consider sales a profession, so they don’t take it seriously and neither does anybody else.
Since virtually all sales training is a joke and most reps don’t get enough even of that to laugh, is it any wonder that they guess at what to do to make a sale? And pretend they are what they see the popular media portray them to be? Many try out a sales job. Few last more than a few months before hightailing it back to wherever they came from. The survivors, which are a pitifully small minority, often discover that a little “bullshit and bravado” will put them in the exalted top 20 of the 80/20 Paretto Rule. These “winners” then go on to influence others on how to do the same. Thus the cycle continues and the mythology of sales perpetuates itself to the detriment of all concerned.
That’s not to say that I don’t respect and admire these brave souls that persevere and succeed in sales against great odds. They are doing their best, but consider what they could have accomplished if given a realistic systematic training program.
Instead of merely saying that a better way exists, and that you too can raise your sales performance by orders of magnitude, I will simply show you.
sale – what happens when a viable prospect meets a closer.
close – getting a decision, yes or no, not a maybe or stall.
closer – someone that makes sales happen.
professional – one who serves the client’s best interests ahead of personal interests.
bullshit – nonsense, lies, or exaggeration.
bravado – a pretentious, swaggering display of courage.
pretentious – making an exaggerated outward show, ostentatious.
swaggering – to walk or conduct oneself with an insolent arrogant air; strut; brag; boast.
ostentatious – pretentious conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others.