Why successful sales people and players are made of the same stuff
The common definition of a player according to Wikipedia is "a man or woman who has romantic affairs or sexual relations... but will not marry or commit to any one relationship”.
As a young man growing up with a high testosterone level and a bit of an ego, I was always fascinated by my friends who were masters at the art of seducing numerous women. One particular guy, Terrence, had taken this to the highest level. What made him fascinating was that he had little money, dressed pretty ordinary (because he lacked the cash to buy the clothes he wanted), and was only slightly above average in looks. But he was still the crown prince of “players”.
Terrence's black book was totally full. No matter where we went to find action on the weekend, Terrence was usually out the door with a beautiful girl on his arms, before any of the rest of us had even struck a conversation. He was always successful, even if it meant stealing the girl you had been talking to the whole evening. Terrence was a bit of a ruthless son-of-a-gun that way; friendship couldn’t interfere with the chase.
Over the years I have wondered how Terrence could succeed so consistently, while most guys I have known have tried so much harder and failed so miserably. I have put it down to four key traits, which I believe are the exact same traits which are basic to the make-up of every successful salesman:
The ability to read other people
The ability to read people is critical in sales, because it means you focus your time and energy on good prospects and don’t waste too much time on the others. The world of the player works in the exact same way. In a bar or club environment, the clock is ticking and you have a very limited amount of time to make an impression. Most guys and girls spend the whole evening chatting up the wrong person, who in reality they have no chance with. Successful sales people and players have an amazing intuition that enables them to zero in on the best shots they’ve got. They register everything that the prospect is communicating – body language cues, word choice, vocal tone. Nothing escapes them. They know when to keep pushing forward, and when to drop it and move on.
Ego and drive
Players and great sales people have ego and drive in abundance. They are sharks that always keep moving. Even when things look bleak, they remain optimistic. They know what they want and they pursue it with incredible persistence and a strong competitive spirit. It is not enough to win; the other guy must lose! This kind of person digs deep and finds the motivation and energy to push on even when they are tired, drained, or everything is going against them.
Where does this intense determination come from? I’ve noticed that these winners often had some sort of childhood issue, poverty or a lack of parental attention or a history of being bullied or of failing in school, whatever. The chips they carry on their shoulders create a need for them to over-compensate in later life, and boy do they ever!
To be successful, you have to be comfortable in your own skin. I cannot count the number of times I have seen a really attractive girl arrive at a club, only to observe an army of guys lose their composure immediately. The same goes when a salesman is intimidated by the size or reputation of the company whose account he is trying to land. These attitudes are self-defeating because they put all the power on the other side.
Let’s face it, the girl might not be that great personality-wise; the blue-chip company might be overrated. A player never bows down to anyone; the concept “out of my league” simply doesn’t exist for him. He always stay in control, focuses on his target, and never becomes overwhelmed.
Having a thick skin and keeping emotions in check
I saved the most important trait for last. Rejection means nothing to a player or a great salesman. He has got the hide of a rhino and the still nerves of a champion poker player. He can take a licking and keep on ticking.
I remember going out one night with a friend who we can call Bud. Although we were young bucks in our early twenties, we couldn’t afford to dress fancy and the velvet-rope bouncers weren’t very impressed by us. So we wound up in an absolute dive, sleazy and darkly lit, with some pretty scary-looking women.
Bud had an impressive record as a pickup artist, but his mojo wasn’t working on this particular evening. The girls just gave him the cold shoulder.
But getting rejection after rejection didn’t faze him in the least. The girls’ loss, he thought. He came up empty-handed that evening, but brushed it off and on the following weekend was back to his old successful tricks.
The average guy internalizes rejection. Successful salesmen and pickup artists play the numbers game and keep emotion out of it. They don’t get dejected. A little run of ill-luck just means better odds ahead. And failing to land any particular customer or girl never throws them off their game-plan. That’s why they always win in the end.