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How would you define Salesmanship?

How would you define "Salesmanship" to someone who had never heard the term? - by Community Mailbox
How would you define "Salesmanship" to someone who had never heard the term?
Salesmanship? As an Art. I would then differentiate that selling is a Science, and that a career in selling is a Business.

Differentiation is a key to explaining and grasping a concept. Selling, or sales, is the genus. Salesmanship narrows it specifically and contextually to the art--the differentia. - by Ace Coldiron
The ability to convince others about an idea or product - by rich34232
The ability to convince others about an idea or product
No, not to my way of thinking.

A professional sales person is an individual who helps one prospect at a time make a favorable decision.

We do not convince, that is like saying we "induce" buyers. The best of the best don't operate that way, they help the buyer see for themselves that they can get what they want/need/desire from the product or service they are selling (indeed, if that is even possible).

How? By uncovering their needs [please read this as a general word meant to encompass PAIN, NEED(S), DESIRE(S)] through research, probing (asking questions - the right kind) and, most importantly; LISTENING. Then, when they have a clear understanding, showing the prospect how those will be satisfactorily addressed by the benefits of their product or service.

Sometimes you even create the need.

There are sales situations where you are showing benefits that addresses the NEED that the prospect never even realized they had, creating it ... even being in a situation where (unfortunately) you might be eliminating the job of one of the key people in that company through doing so.

It is complex what we do. There is no one definition. In the book from 1993 entitled SELLING WITHOUT CONFRONTATION the meaning is written as "Contrary to popular belief, the methodological approach of selling refers to a systematic process of repetitive and measurable milestones, by which a salesperson relates his or her offering of a product or service in return enabling the buyer to achieve their goal in an economic way."

Of course, if you are a real student of our profession, you know; not all goals are "economic".

This meaning, which is stated at Wikipedia.com could be accurate, especially in more complex sales. But when selling a car it is less correct, right? If you have read this far and comprehend what I am trying to convey, do I have your agreement on this point?

There very phraseology/question "do I have your agreement on this point" would be - if we were face to face and not posting in a forum - a "measurable milestone", is it not? Even the "is it not" also moves you forward to agreement. But in so many sales situations sales people do not work this way.

I prefer to sell to business because more often the buyer is higher educated, not always, but more often. That and because the selling skills are more advanced.

And I prefer to spend time with people who are more of a challenge in more challenging situations. However, this does not mean that there are not some serious B2C industries (insurance, for example, and Investing).

In more simplistic sales, there really aren't measurable milestones (or ACCEPTED BENEFITS) ... as THE CLOSE IS RIGHT THERE. As the sale becomes more complex, there are more and more needs to address and this is where that quote becomes more accurate.

Great question isn't it? I could probably try answering it twenty times and change the answer fairly substantially each time. The one common thread I would always come back to is that we do sell value, it is just not always "economic" in nature. That is where I disagree with the quote.

The notion that we convince is very strongly felt - quite profound in my nature. Influence? Yes! Convince? I do not think so. And, while describing sales becomes semantic (gets hung up on "the differences between meanings of words") we must realize that people are smart. It is far superior to help them to make their mind up than to sort of try and make it up for them!

Subtle? Yep, you bet. That is why I used the word semantic, which has another meaning; "logic relating to the conditions in which a system or theory can be said to be true".

So, my theory on selling is that we help people make up their own minds. We should only exert influence IF that product or service is good for them and we need not lie to achieve this.

Having stated the altruistic meaning, it is important to realize that some people can't make up their minds, which has nothing to do with us. In such rare occurrences, you might be slightly more forceful, as long as there is a clear understanding in your mind that the need is real and that our product or service fits!

The dictionary incorporated into Microsoft Word lists two interesting interpretations. One about selling, the transitive verb meaning for persuade somebody of something; to make an idea or proposal acceptable to somebody.

Interestingly, the dictionary meaning of persuade has two verbs (separate branches of meanings), one is convince. The other is influence and it is this one that I beleive true pros shoot for.

And the meaning of salesmanship is listed as;

"The skills, techniques, and tactics involved in persuading people to buy goods or services."

I hope parts of this post do not come off as too egotistical, that it helps this thread in some way and that this is a good discussion, it ought to be. - by Gold Calling
The ability to convince others about an idea or product

Very well put: succinct and accurate.

The primal source of "convince" is to seduce. Seduction is our natural tool we use for not only obtaining a mate but it is a derivation of seduction that we display whenever we want others to share our vision. Soren Kierkegaard wrote a philosophic treatment of seduction that is read today. - by John Voris
The skill or art of selling;ability or effectiveness in selling or in presenting persuasively - by Michael Dalton Johnson
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