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The Story of ED

What traits do top sales performers have?

Once upon a time there was a guy named ED! People really didn’t know ED that well, but every month, every quarter and every year he was on the top of the sales charts! Number one! Never was he second! One day, his boss sat him down and said “ED, you have been working with us now for 2 years. And in that time you have never ever been second. Would you mind sharing your skills or techniques with us?”

Well, said ED, to his boss: “Do you know in 2 years you are the first person to ask me that question?”

ED’s boss was horrified. “What?” He asked!

“That’s right”, ED said. Not once has a colleague asked me for advice or what my secret is!

The boss was shocked! But he suspected why no one has ever asked. For years sales teams across the globe have been working in isolation! Pretending that they are know-it-all’s with all the answers. Making excuses month after month when they are not meeting their goals! Team meetings are full of bragging sessions, not what really matters: How do we share and learn from each other’s successes rather that talk about our failures? How can we put our pride aside and realize that by sharing best practices we can all grow together. It is not a competition. It is sharing a common goal for the good of the individual, the team and the company!

So, since someone has finally asked, ED was more than willing to share. More than willing to teach and educate his colleagues. More than willing to spread the wealth and the knowledge so that the entire team can work towards creating even more revenue for the company and more satisfied clients! The boss was listening with baited breath!

As ED was about to speak it was as if the sky opened up and sunshine was drowning the office! And finally, ED said it. ED finally revealed his secret! THERE WAS NONE! NADA! ZIP! ZERO!

What? The boss shouted. What do you mean?

ED explained: It’s not a secret! It’s not some magic trick I pulled out of the air! It is COMMON SENSE! The reason I am so successful is all in my name!

What do you mean? The boss asked.

Well, my name is ED. Haven’t you ever wondered why it is capitalized.

Actually, I always did wonder why!

Well, ED said, is because my success has to do with Empathy and Drive… E and D! Simple words but powerful traits that are needed to be successful in sales!

There are two basic qualities that any salesmen must have:

EMPATHY. The ability to feel as other people do in order to sell them a product or service; a buyer who senses a salesperson’s empathy will provide him with valuable feedback, which will in turn facilitate the sale. “This is the salesman with good empathy. He senses the reactions of the customer and is able to adjust to these reactions. He is not bound by a prepared sales track, but he functions in terms of the real interaction between himself and the customer. Sensing what the customer is feeling, he is able to change pace, double back on his track, and make whatever creative modifications might be necessary to home in on the target and close the sale?

DRIVE is the personal desire to make the sale- not because of the money to be gained but because the salesperson feels he has to. For a sales rep with strong ego drives, every sale is a conquest that dramatically improves his self-perception. “His feeling must be that he has to make the sale; the customer is there to help him fulfil his personal need. Because of the nature of selling, the salesman will fail to sell more than he will succeed. Thus, since failure tends to diminish his self-picture, his ego cannot be so weak that the poor self-picture continues for too long a time. Rather, the failure must act as a trigger- as a motivation toward greater efforts- that with success will bring the ego enhancement he seeks”.
A subtle balance must be found between a) an ego partially weakened in precisely the right way to need a great deal of enhancement (the sale) and b) an ego sufficiently strong to be motivated by failure but not to be shattered by it. He has the drive, the need to make the sale, and the empathy gives him the connecting tool with which to do it.

The person with the strong ego drive has maximum motivation to fully utilize whatever empathy he possesses. Needing the sale, he is not likely to let empathy spill over and become sympathy.

In the dynamic relationship between empathy and ego drive, each must work to reinforce the other:

*ED: The top salesman has strong ego drive (D) and strong empathy (E).
*Ed: this is the “nice guy” . Strong Empathy, low Ego Drive
*eD: ” bulldoze his way through to some sales”. Strong Ego drive, low Empathy
*ed: is not a salesman!

Long before he comes to know the product, the future successful salesman is developing the human qualities essential for selling. Training is vital, but can succeed only if selection succeeds. Good raw material must be provided first. The selection of salesmen should be more focused on Empathy and Ego drive. Experience appears less important than the possession of the two central characteristics of Ego drive and Empathy.

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