Sales Philosophy #3 – It’s Fine to Play at Ping-Pong, but Be a Professional Salesperson

Sales Philosophy #3 – It’s fine to play at ping-pong, but be a professional salesperson.

Visualize me on a cruise ship as I become involved in a ping-pong tournament.  The score is 20-20, and it is my serve.  If I make the shot, I win fame and glory.  So I toss the ball and hit it with all my might in an attempt to get a grand slam, but the ball flies right into my opponent’s forehead.  Shame,  Embarrassment.  Laughter from the crowd.  I lose.

Later, a ping-pong professional approaches me and comments that at the key shot, my wrist was bent during the serve and this caused the ball to have an upward spin, beaning my opponent right between the eyes.  “Your wrist needs to be straight and the paddle held like this” is the pro’s final comment.

“I’ll never do that again!” I think and go about my business.  Two days later, another game.  The score is 20-20.  My serve.  Toss the ball into the air, hit it with all my might…directly into my opponent.  I lose again.

If I were a professional, I would have been practicing nothing but my grand-slam serves during the interim.  As a professional, I would have made sure my wrist was straight even if I had to tape a board to it.

But as an amateur, I merely thought about it and did not practice.

What do you want to be… an amateur?  Or a professional?  Sales professionals study and practice.

The difference between two professionals or two salespeople can be very small in the level of skill, but very big in the degree of success and reward.  One year on the professional golf circuit, after 30 tournaments, two top golfers averaged 70.94 and 71.34 per round.  After 2,160 holes of golf, the difference between the two was less than half a stroke per 18 holes.  Yet one earned over twice as much money.

In baseball, the difference between a .250 hitter and a .300 hitter is one more hit every 20 times at bat.  (And that probably means the difference between earning many million dollars per year and not making it as a professional.)

In the Olympics, the downhill was won by 27/100 of a second!  So, even a slight professional edge can make a big difference in the success and rewards for an athlete – or for a salesperson.

Just as professional athletes constantly practice and strive to improve their games, professional salespeople must do the same.

Selling is at its highest level when the salesperson takes on the relationship of a consultant and advisor to his client, the prospect.

To be successful in his/her career, the professional salesperson must develop knowledge, skills, and standards.  The purpose of on-going training material provided by your company will be to provide basic information to help salespeople be more competent in these areas, but this is only a starting point.  Development in these areas will come from self-improvement through study and reading, observing other salespeople, studying people, and intelligent analysis.


Product knowledge is vital.  You must know your product.  You must thoroughly understand everything about your products and your company.  And you must know your customers.  Product and customer knowledge is vital, but studies show that selling is only 15% product knowledge and 85% people skills.

So, learning the advantages and benefits for the customer is more important than the actual features of the product.  Customers are more concerned with what products will do for them.  To convey this, the salesperson must be very aware of everything the prospect does and says.  This means the salesperson must know his product backwards and forwards.  The sales presentation must be so well known that the salesperson can concentrate on the feedback he is getting from his prospects.

Studies tell us that our subconscious mind will allow us to do any over-learned skill without even thinking about it.  The professional golfer doesn’t worry about every aspect of his stroke each time he addresses the ball; the professional is thinking about strategy.  The same should be true of a professional salesperson.


85% of selling is skills, especially people skills.  How the knowledge is used by the salesperson when he faces (or talks on the phone with) the prospect is vital. 

Success in selling depends greatly on the skill of the salesperson in establishing trust, understanding what keeps people from buying, understanding what motivates people to buy, identifying the different types of people and how to deal with them, planning the presentation, approaching the prospect, making the presentation, handling objections, gaining commitment, and maintaining trust and building goodwill.


A proper attitude is vital if a salesperson is to do a successful selling job.  This means how a salesperson feels about selling as a career, his current job, his company, his product, his associates, his customers.  Some of these attitudes are affected by outside influences over which the salesperson has little or no control.  But the salesperson must realize that his own mental attitude toward being a successful salesperson is as important as his knowledge and skills, and he must adjust to his environment.

Good training and successful experience can work magic with the attitude of a salesperson.  When comfortable with the product and confident of the skills, the salesperson should be eager and willing to put this competency to work.  Success then becomes more frequent; minor frictions tend to be ignored; and the salesperson’s attitude becomes even better.  Again, it is our hope that our training material will increase your comfort, confidence, and competence, so you may have the best possible attitude about your career as a professional salesperson.

Professionalism.  Quality.

Perform your job better than anyone else can.

Every day, look for some way to improve the way you do your job.

If you will decide that you are going to make a commitment and start this very second to learn how to become the best possible salesperson you can be, and if you commit to studying available information – now and forever, you will become a true professional, and you will earn much more money as a result.

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