When it comes to the pursuit of income there are three types of people: beggars, conmen and salesmen. All three employ certain skills and demonstrate specific character traits when it comes to earning money.
Beggars are more numerous than you think. Apart from the ones you meet in the streets and shop veranda there are also beggars who patronise the office reception of Members of Parliament and the occasional extended friend or family member.
Beggars sell pity; they will wear a sad look and dress and speak in a manner that is calculated to project the most pitiful look. Somewhere in the world of beggars is a means of measuring the monetary response of an individual’s conscience to pity. Pity does not attract much money, therefore beggars reap from volume; a beggar who is properly located will get in touch with many people and walk home with a full wallet.
In the world of begging, you master the ability to hide your earnings; if you visit a beggar in the morning you may see only two Shs 100 coins on his plate. When you come back in the evening you will still likely find the same two coins on the plate.
Begging skills do not yield good result in employment and business. I see people repeating the mistake of seeking pity from employers over and over, saying things such as: “I have young children, please give me a job so that I can earn money to feed them” or “I graduated three years ago and have not found any employment, and please give me something to do.” The business example is of someone who begs people to buy from him or her because they have not made any sale the whole day. Hear it from me, if you want to get employment and good paying one at that or if you want a growing business, throw away your pity looks and stories.
Conmen, and the female ones are included too, sell things of inferior or no value in exchange for money. Just like beggars, conmen are everywhere. Take the example of a group of real estate conmen who expressed interest in buying a house that was on sale. They got a copy of the title supposedly for the purpose of doing due diligence. When a buyer was finally got, he could not conclude the deal because a caveat lodged by the conmen. The conmen told the buyer they would only lift the caveat after getting paid 18 per cent of the cost of the property.
A con person is a pretender. Even when they do not have money they will wear clothing and drive cars that paint the picture of a person having a lot of money. Con men will often continue scamming until they run out of luck.
Unlike beggars and conmen, sales men trade in value. A buyer will be happy and do a repeat purchase when they fill they have got value for the price they have been charged. Similarly a seller wants to get paid an amount that is profitable.
Traits of sales people
Sales skills are extremely useful whether you choose the route of employment or business. Three key sales skills that everyone should develop is pitching, dealing with objections and closing the deal. Sometimes it is the person with the poorer idea or product who gets the money, why? The difference is in the ability to pitch. Good pitchers are passionate about their products or services; they ask questions; they focus on helping rather than selling. In the process of selling, people may express reservations or ask questions; a good sales person will use objections as an opportunity to address fears and provide reassurance.
A good salesperson knows when to close the deal and get a commitment from the buyer. Some people talk for too long and talk their way out of a deal and others leave matters hanging and do give the buyer an opportunity to commit.
After all is said and done, the best chance for getting better income while maintaining your reputation is to learn to be a better sales person.
James Abola is the team leader of Akamai Global, a business and finance consulting firm. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org