Would you agree with me that sometimes sales guys can have a questionable reputation? I do not know, there is just something about some of them that I can not quite put my finger on. Maybe the thing is I sense that I can not really trust some of them. I have many friends and family members that are indeed great people and great sales people so this does not implicate every single sales person but there maybe some generalizing wisdom that might be gleaned from this experience. Maybe hearing some recent conversations among sales men on the train, better known as the light rail, just maybe these conversations will give us some valid reasons for those queasy feelings in out stomach when dealing with some sales people.
Today it was one of those recent 98F days with a super high dew point. The Twins games had just gotten over about 45 minutes ago so the train was extra packed. Even in that jam-packed situation, you are able to listen to some conversations. The conversation today was between two very young sales men.
One was a tall pimply faced guy with a huge grin from ear to ear. He was dressed in average business casual attire so nothing other than his louder than average voice would catch someone’s attention. The other gentleman was dressed to the nines with a spiffy expensive summer suit, a very expensive looking leather brief case, a gaudy gold watch and a ring to match and shoes that were of the latest fashion and shined perfectly. He sported a smile that communicates I am god’s gift to the world and you might want to get on the ground and worship me.
These gentlemen were talking boisterously about their work and how great it is and how great they are at it. They were each going down their list of their huge success at work landing these huge deals. Then they went on to what they were going to do next. The tall guy was so sure he was going to be trading options next. One interesting thing I noticed was that neither one of the guys asked the other any questions. They were just spitting out words like a fire hose shoots water on a fire. CRAZY!!
Then they went to the topic of their wonderful ways with women. They went back and forth like a tennis match, telling story after story about their exploits of conquering different women, and then when they would score they would go on to the next. After that, they decided to illuminate to riders on the train on how they would manipulate women. They were sharing trick after trick after trick. While listing to this I felt like I was in a house of ill seeing all the smarmy guys slither through the place. Then they went on (like it was not enough already) telling each other (and us) about who they are going after next. I was thinking, yes I am sure after the 40th conquest, I’m sure you will be filled up and happy right? What an incredibly bizarre and empty life.
So towards the end of my ride, pimply face guy is telling a story about a coworker. He was telling how this other guy is a decent guy, he has his MBA, he has some skills with what he is doing but he went to a “low class” state school for his under graduate studies, implying no one with any brains would go to a school like that. He was ooooooozzzzing with self-righteous high class private school arrogance. I was imagining that he was thinking something like “it is only in an Ivy League type school where all people of any worth go to.” I felt like I was going to puke.
I am sure most of you would considered this experience to be a bit odd and it would be very out of the ordinary and I would have agreed with you if I had not overheard a similar discussion just a few days ago.
So, do you think we have some reason to feel a bit smarmy when we are around some sales men? I know they are not all like this. In fact, most are not but I think too many are. So I am on a quest to find sales guys of great character and great skill. Hey, it would help if you sent me notes on great sales guys that you know. Maybe someday I will to a report on great sales guys.
Until next time on the train, remember “Holding the door can damage equipment and cause delay.”
Hi Wayne, sounds like these guys were immature narcissists. Certainly some sales people are smarmy (great word you used BTW) and may not be trustworthy. I think there are real professionals and there are hustlers regardless of the industry. On balance I guess I would say I’ve run in to more professionals than hustlers. Good sales people are often the most creative and hard working people in a company.
John of course I know and we all know there are great sales guys out there. But it is guys like these guys that give all you great sales guys a very bad rap.
I suppose it is like the ambulance chaser lawyers giving a bad name to all the good lawyers out there, maybe?
Certainly I know the best of the best sales guys are VERY hard workers and in fact build great companies.
As soon as I finish my “Remy Martin” high-ball and Cuban I can respond…
ha ha ha you are too funny!!
Said like a true salesman.
The clue to how these guys sell and why they feel smarmy is in the way they talk to each other. They were both fighting for the chance to talk about themselves. It takes young sales guys a while to learn “telling isn’t selling.”
A smarmy salesman doesn’t care what your problem is because he has the solution. Why does he need to listen and learn? He might hear something he doesn’t want to hear.
I would be happy to contribute to a list of best and worst sales guys I know.
Gee Keith, you sound like a consummate sales professional.
So do these guys make it in sales?