Nelson Mandela, the epitome of respect, admiration and gratitude.


Selling is our planet’s oldest profession, and its most enigmatic. On one hand salespeople keep companies’ doors open, lights on and they generate the revenue that creates more jobs and pays employees’ salaries … including the boss’s salary. And yet, salespeople are still the most avoided and rejected business people in our economy.

Avoidance and rejection translate into slower sales growth for even the most successful companies. 

Tangent is routinely asked by company leaders, “How can we increase our sales?” There are several complex answers to that question, but there is one sales growth strategy that eclipses them all. Teach your salespeople to sell in ways that earn respect, admiration and gratitude. Three words not normally associated with selling and salespeople. Then I ask the same company leaders, “What if the world LOVED your salespeople? How do you think that would change your selling results?” A silence generally falls over the room and then I’m asked, “OK … How do we make buyers LOVE our salespeople?”

First… I encourage BOSSES to think about our culture’s universal opinion of salespeople. We think of them as pushy, manipulative, interruptive, greedy, selfish, desperate, brash, commissioned, bounty-hunters and, at times, even dishonest. As a result we all go out of our way to avoid salespeople.

Second … I remind BOSSES that salespeople can’t sell well if they are being avoided and marginalized.

Finally … I urge BOSSES to be brutally honest and examine every aspect of the way their salespeople are expected to sell. Could any of their current sales tactics be characterized as pushy, manipulative, interruptive, greedy, selfish, desperate, brash, commissioned, bounty-hunters? BOSSES and their salespeople who refuse to change do so at their peril.

Is your company searching for a new, refreshing competitive edge this year? Companies with the most respected and admired salespeople outsell the rest. Always. Every time. Without fail.

Peter Skakum