All business starts with a sales lead. There are no appointments set, no presentations, no sales closings, no completed sales, and no commissions without getting that first sales lead. So, to get paid you gotta start with a lead!
I vaguely remember watching the movie Glengarry Glen Ross just before I started my sales career. In that movie there is a salesman that is not selling very well. He’s on the brink of being fired. It’s Christmas time and he needs to pay a visit to a family to sell them time shares. He was nervous and his life depended on making the sale. This was a family man and he had a family to support. What a life he must have had when every sale was almost a matter of life and death. Sell and his family survives, don’t sell and his family goes hungry.
Glengarry Glen Ross portrayed the sales career as cut-throat. Sales leads were like gold and salespeople needed to do anything to complete a sale – ANYTHING. So the image of the salesperson was portrayed as conniving and deceitful. This seemed to be the popular culture image of the salesperson at that time and it was enforced by movies like this. Just mention the term “used car salesman” and immediately negative thoughts come to mind.
But movies like this also showed a glamorous side to sales jobs. It showed that the top salespeople were wealthy and lived like royalty. It was reasons like this that made me eager to get into the sales profession. Making a lot of money was huge motivation for me.
Now, I had a problem. I think I’m a good person and I don’t like to screw or disparage people. I want to earn a lot of money and want to be rich. There was cognitive dissonance here. Can I be a great salesperson, be honest, help people, and make a lot of money all at the same time? The popular culture answer seemed to be “no” as salespeople were conniving and deceitful. But I had to do it. I had to try.
I started my sales career selling copiers and fax machines and then moved on to selling insurance. I am pleased to report that movies like Glengarry Glen Ross portray a totally false image of the modern salesperson. The top sales performer today is a top sales performer mainly for one reason – people like him. People buy from people that they like. People can spot liars and scammers and they just don’t deal with them. The top salesperson today is someone that has empathy, someone that can interact with other people, someone that is a “people person. ” Bad salespeople are quickly weeded out don’t don’t stay in sales very long.
So, back to the sales lead. It’s true, sales leads are like gold. You must start somewhere and that somewhere is a sales lead. The true performers recognize the value of a lead because it all starts with a lead. Where do leads come from? Remember, a top sales performer is someone that people like. Someone that people like will get referrals. Be a good person and you will get sales leads.
It All starts with a lead!
Tino Buntic provides sales leads to business professionals across North America through his company, TradePals.