Myth #2: You Must Like People
Many people preach that a primary prerequisite to be successful in sales is that you must “like people.” The implication is that you should have the innate capacity and desire to cozy up to just about everybody . . . or at least everybody with a bankroll in their wallet. I am not a fan of this postulate.
You see, I have traversed the United States many times, worked in eighteen countries on five continents, and observed countless people on airplanes, in post office lines, at restaurants, toll booths, and department stores. I have watched people drive cars, run races, attend classes, and root for their kids at high school athletic programs. For over fifty years I have watched people do just about everything people can conceivably do on this planet. (Well . . . almost everything.)
Here is what I have concluded: The world has its quota of nasty, insincere, and negative people who I consciously choose to have nothing to do with. More accurately stated, I don’t like them or what they stand for. And I don’t have any intention of entering their world and trying to change them. (How’s that for an “I am a salesman, therefore I like all kinds of people” endorsement?)
On the other hand, during these same travels, I have met many fine, upstanding, fun and creative human beings running around our planet trying to creatively figure out how things work while maintaining a healthy sense of humor and appreciation for reality. These people are the ones who I want to be around . . . learn from . . . and even try to emulate. I like these people.
So, let’s give this “you’ve got to like people” thing a different twist. If you want to minimize your stress, have more fun and earn more money, begin spending more time looking for and doing business with people toward whom you have a natural attraction . . . people who are honest, hard working, fun, intelligent, enthusiastic and easy to be around. It is also a good idea to take a little more time than we often do to understand people better. After all, many nice people just don’t know how to make a good first impression. It would be a shame for you to prematurely cross them off simply because they have a lot of bad hair days.
Where does it say you must do business with (or, what’s worse, seek business from) everyone who wants your service or product? That’s a myth. You may feel a little out of joint right now and be saying to yourself, “Is this guy saying that it is okay to be prejudiced?” No! Not at all. Take a deep breath and read the above again. I am saying that it is okay if you don’t do business with rude, unhappy, belly-aching whiners. That is all I am saying, and I will say it in a court of law if you insist on hearing it under oath.
If you are going to bust your chops servicing people to the maximum of your abilities, you might as well do it for people who will appreciate your efforts. You will bring more energy and positive attitude to your job every day. And that translates into more success.