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Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman...

What do you think W. Clement Stone meant when he said, "Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect"? - by Community Mailbox
What do you think W. Clement Stone meant when he said, "Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect"?
I believe W. Clement Stone was wrong in that statement.

Certainly the attitude of both parties could be determinants of outcome.

This is another example of either/or thinking. - by Gary A Boye
I endorse the views of Gary 100%.

Ganesan. - by ezynes
I look at the statement to mean I the sales person must have the right attitude in order to serve my clients successfully. Sure I may be lucky and make minimal sales with the wrong attitude however having the best possible attitude increases my ability to enjoy more successful sales attempts.

A lousy attitude by the sales person can trump a customer’s great attitude.

I do believe this is the context of the statement.

I do agree with Gary’s statement when we examine both the sales person and the customer’s attitude. - by rich34232
What do you think W. Clement Stone meant when he said, "Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect"?
I have not seen this quote in context so giving W. Clement Stone benefit of the doubt I would view this statement as referring to the potential impact of a salesperson's State on the outcome of sales encounters.

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"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." - Thomas Jefferson - by Jeff Blackwell
Jeff,

If Clement Stone has said, "Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect", isn't Gary right in his complete disagreement? Is there any scope for interpretation of this statement, and giving Clement the benefit of doubt?

Or, may be he had meant, if the salesman is worth his salt, he should be able to influence even a prospect with adverse attitude? By this, may be, he has not discounted the role of the prospect's attitude in the sale, but perhaps tried to convey that the right salesman with the right attitude could even influence such prospects and convert them to clients?

Thoughts?

Ganesan. - by ezynes
When asked to assess a statement in the form of a direct quote, we only have the words that were said to work with. Beyond that, we would either be attempting to mind read, or, take into account other things about the individual based on some familiarity.

None of us are 100% perfect in choosing our words (although perhaps we should strive to be). Clement Stone was no exception. - by Gary A Boye
I want to add to my post above.

All quotes used in discussions and in education are arbitrarily chosen. They are mere "line segments" used to stress a point, and often symbolic of the widely extended "line" of a man's philosophy and life.

The facts are, W. Clement Stone was a hugely successful man who created a hugely successful Combined Insurance Companies of America, and built that company with his Positive Mental Attitude teachings. People became successful under him by adopting that "mental state." In addition, Stone's contributions to the selling community alone are immeasurable. I believe he made the world a better place for having been here.

He influenced me and millions of others.

Is it the only philosophy to build a successful company on? My own core belief is that it is not. BUT it is a philosophy that does work--in my view. - by Gary A Boye
I believe W. Clement Stone was wrong in that statement.

Certainly the attitude of both parties could be determinants of outcome.

This is another example of either/or thinking.

I agree with Gary and I''m sure he has further insights.

Most of us have been exposed to:

One sales trainer will say, you are only selling yourself.

Another will say, you are only selling the product.

Another will say, you cause the sale

Another will say, the prospect causes the sale.

Another will say, the value you build causes the sale

Etc.

Then there is:

The sale is contingent upon the attitude of the sales rep

Then another says its contingent upon the attitude of the prospect.

The fact is--everything above counts.

Selling has often been equated with a game of chess occurring within a fluid, holistic environment of meaning. The moves are determined by the meaning on, as well as, off the board for both players. The words you use become your fingertips.

- by John Voris
Without knowing more about the conversation that yielded Mr. Stone's quote, and given what I have read about Mr. Stone's successes (personally and professionally), I give Mr. Stone benefit of the doubt that he was not engaged in either/or thinking but instead emphasizing the immensely important concept of State.

Specifically, the impact of a salesperson's State on his/her thoughts, emotions, behaviors, etc. and the influence this may have on the prospect's State; ultimately both will affect the outcome of any sales encounter.

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The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong. - Carl Jung - by Jeff Blackwell
Without knowing more about the conversation that yielded Mr. Stone's quote, and given what I have read about Mr. Stone's successes (personally and professionally), I give Mr. Stone benefit of the doubt that he was not engaged in either/or thinking but instead emphasizing the immensely important concept of State.

Specifically, the impact of a salesperson's State on his/her thoughts, emotions, behaviors, etc. and the influence this may have on the prospect's State; ultimately both will affect the outcome of any sales encounter.
Jeff, leaving aside the benefit of the doubt you give him with regard to his understanding (which I share), do you agree with his statement?

"Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect"?
If W. Clement Stone would had stopped after the first nine words, I would agree 100%. However, "(sales are contingent) not (on) the attitude of the prospect." is not correct.

There are members here, I'm sure, who know nothing of W. Clement Stone. They, like those who know of Stone, were given a statement to evaluate. Either his words were correct, incorrect, or poorly chosen to make a valuable point, but nonetheless those are the words he gave us.

I view Stone's statement as incorrect. That doesn't mean that his intention to divulge his thinking was wrong, nor does it mean that the true nature of what he attempted to get across was wrong. - by Gary A Boye
Jeff, leaving aside the benefit of the doubt you give him with regard to his understanding (which I share), do you agree with his statement?
Hi Gary. :)

I agree with what I believe to be the intended meaning of Mr. Hill's statement.

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In all intellectual debates, both sides tend to be correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny. - John Stuart Mill - by Jeff Blackwell
Jeff,

If Clement Stone has said, "Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect", isn't Gary right in his complete disagreement? Is there any scope for interpretation of this statement, and giving Clement the benefit of doubt?

Or, may be he had meant, if the salesman is worth his salt, he should be able to influence even a prospect with adverse attitude? By this, may be, he has not discounted the role of the prospect's attitude in the sale, but perhaps tried to convey that the right salesman with the right attitude could even influence such prospects and convert them to clients?

Thoughts?

Ganesan.
My perspective on this quote considers a broader and longer term perspective than I believe this conversation has taken thus far.

I am drawing context from Stone's use of the plural "sales" rather than the singular "sale" to surmise that he is not talking about a singular event.

I believe that Stone is not discounting the impact of a prospect's attitude on a particular sale, but rather discounting it on a series of "sales" over an extended period or even an entire career. By this I mean, as has been pointed out previously on in this thread, that on a particular sale the attitude of both the prospect and the salesperson matter significantly.

However, over a series of "sales" it is only the attitude of the salesman that differentiates his success for that of another. All salespeople will encounter prospects who's attitude toward the purchase is positive, and prospects who's attitude toward the sale is negative. Over an extended series of sales situations each salesperson will encounter about the same mix, and it is only the attitude of the salesperson over that series of encounters that will see him make more "sales."

This is due to the fact that the salesperson with a positive attitude will influence more prospects with a negative attitude toward the sale to view it positively, and confirm the leanings of more positive prospects. The salesperson with the negative attitude, over time, will confirm the negative attitude toward the sales of more prospects, and influence more prospects with a positive disposition to see the prospect of buying negatively.

In this context I believe that Stone is precisely correct that, over the course of multiple "sales," it is the attitude of the salesman and not the prospect, that determines "sales" success. - by thesalesgiant

I am drawing context from Stone's use of the plural "sales" rather than the singular "sale" to surmise that he is not talking about a singular event.
Jon, we are at the mercy of our biases as well as our interpretation of another person's chosen words. Stone used the word "prospect" to convey his thought. It's a singular word.

Also I want to point out that "sales", as mostly used in these discussions, refers to the activity or business of selling products or services, not as a term used in grammar to signify more than one. As I'm sure you are aware, the nominalization "selling" is used interchangeably with "sales."

I think You, Jeff, and I agree on what we think Stone wanted to convey, and also agree upon its value. - by Gary A Boye
Jon, we are at the mercy of our biases as well as our interpretation of another person's chosen words. Stone used the word "prospect" to convey his thought. It's a singular word.

Also I want to point out that "sales", as mostly used in these discussions, refers the activity or business of selling products or services, not as a term used in grammar to signify more than one. As I'm sure you are aware, the nominalization "selling" is used interchangeably with "sales."

I think You, Jeff, and I agree on what we think Stone wanted to convey, and also agree upon its value.
Not to belabor the particulars of grammar but since we can't ask Stone his intention, his chosen grammatical construction is all we have from which to interpret his meaning.

Where 'sales' would be used to represent "the activity or business of selling..." comparable to the nominal 'selling' it would be a collective noun and, thus, singular. It would require the verb 'is' and not 'are' which he used. If Stone's grammar was true to his intent, this is a clear indication that he is talking about a set of sales.

The contrasting clause, "not the attitude of the prospect" is in the singular. That it is used in reference to a plural subject indicates that he is speaking of a characteristic of the set of sales.

This is not to say that other grammatical interpretations are not possible, nor that Stone's grammar was necessarily true to his intent, only that based on the statement alone his use of "prospect" in the singular does not exclude my interpretation.

I promise, no more discussions of grammar. - by thesalesgiant
We are all focusing on the semantics of sales and prospect, plurals and singulars.

What about the word attitude ? Is this mood or State or something else.

I know as a salesperson that I can influence the State of my prospect quite easily.

Not only does my State influence their State but I can apply anchoring techniques to have an effect too.

Is that why some sales people employ humour ? Jeffrey Gitomer certainly things humour is important.

What about the rep that arrives at his major client's office with a box of donuts and most of the staff get involved in a "morning coffee break". I worked with a guy who did this and I can tell you the whole office mood changed when he arrived donuts in hand.

Maybe Stone was right in his comment ? - by Greg Woodley
What about the word attitude? Is this mood or State or something else.
Do you have an answer for your question?

I studied Jung. He defined attitude as "readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way." To me that would seem pretty close to "predisposition."

How would you go about changing a person's predisposition with an "anchoring" technique? Why would that be preferable to engaging a prospect in a well prepared sales interview? - by Gary A Boye
What do you think W. Clement Stone meant when he said, "Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect"?
Having followed this thread, and looking at that quote as a
"stand alone" statement, I still firmly believe the statement is incorrect. My own knowledge, experiences, and sources I favor paint a much bigger picture:
  • The attitude of the prospect is a factor.
  • The attitude of the salesperson is a factor.
  • Sales are much more contingent on the proposition than the salesperson' attitude.
  • Many sales are made because of a predisposition to buy.
  • Prospect indifference is a very difficult attitude to overcome or transcend--more difficult than objections
  • A salesperson's attitude can work as an advantage.
  • A salesperson's attitude can work as a disadvantage.
  • A salesperson's attitude can lose a sale.
  • A salesperson with "favorable" attitude can also be unskilled in sales, and as a result, not be successful.
  • Some people buy from salespeople in spite of what they perceive as a poor attitude.
- by Gary A Boye
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