Posing is any selling action that precedes selling education. It’s trying to sell before actually training to sell. It’s trying to act like a salesperson when you don’t know what it takes to be a salesperson— whether or not the customer knows you’re acting.
The problem of posing begins for many salespeople when they are hired for their first sales job. Sales recruiters for large firms are notorious for hiring new blood with one thing in mind—production. The bottom line. The welcome message many salespeople are given is, “If you don’t produce, you don’t keep your job.”
So they figure out that if they tell prospects what they want to hear, they can keep their ear longer—whether or not what they are saying is true. They figure out that if they act as though they’re selling the hottest product on the market, prospects want to know more—whether or not the people really need what they have to offer. And thus, posing becomes second nature to many salespeople.
THE SIX SIGNS OF IMPROVISATIONAL SELLING
Whether posing has become a standard or rare practice in your sales efforts, it nevertheless leads to a destructive, stressful sales career—and eventually to your demise. And I’ve found that posing is usually evident in a salesperson’s career by the following six signs. As you read the list, ask yourself if any of the signs are characteristic of your selling endeavors.
1. FALSE CONFIDENCE
Fake it till you make it is a dangerous way to close sales. Your confidence in closing sales is erroneously based on your ability to fake a relationship rather than foster a relationship. And when the sales winds begin to whirl and all you have to rely on are the clients to whom you’ve sold before, you’ll find that your confidence is nothing more than a house of cards.
2. ACCIDENTAL SUCCESS
Any success that is not based on an integrity-centered plan is accidental. In other words, if you can finagle your way to a sale, your success didn’t happen as a natural course of action. It happened by a lucky guess and a roll of the dice. It happened by chance. And relying on chance sales leads only to erratic success.
3. SELLING RELUCTANCE
Salespeople who suffer from call reluctance fall into one of two categories: (1) those who don’t believe in what they are selling, or (2) those who don’t believe in their ability to sell.
There is a way to sell successfully with integrity and sincerity, and if you don’t know how to do that, you are most certainly relying on a phony form of salesmanship that will always lead to reluctance. If it’s your product that you don’t believe in, then you’re in the same boat. Selling something that is either second-rate or not needed by your prospects does not breed confidence before making a call.
4. UNDERPERFORMING CLIENTS
Probably the most obvious indication of posing is the lack of performance by a salesperson’s clientele. When you give your clients no reason (or a phony reason) to trust you, you also give them no reason to return to you or refer you to others.
Working eighty hours a week is not a prerequisite to being a successful sales professional. Unfortunately posing leads to a tendency toward working harder and longer than necessary in order to close sales. Multiplied over time, that leads to more hours on the job to meet your goals. Posing is a hit-and-miss approach to selling. If one costume doesn’t work on the prospect, then you have to try on another. And all that does in the end is to decrease your overall productivity and increase your hours on the job.
6. JOB TURNOVER
For most salespeople, posing leads to short-lived sales positions. Their probability for success remains low as long as they continue to bring haphazard factors to their selling efforts. All they are doing by starting over with a new position, product, or territory is reshuffling the same mindset and hoping for different results. It just won’t work.
THE ONUS OF SELLING SUCCESS
By making the mistake of trying to pose your way to the top, you are ultimately putting the onus of selling success on your ability to role-play—to play the part of an interested, caring, genuine salesperson. And let’s be honest: when salespeople are interested only in closing the sale, they are not good actors—whether they admit it or not.