Lessons from sales series: Three-legged stool, leg #1, you have to love people

Two young men holding signs that say "free hugs"
From Flickr: loudestnoise

When I was working at Adams Outdoor Advertising, they brought in Dr. George Pransky of Pransky and Associates to talk about what would make us successful.  One of the things he talked about was a three-legged stool. The three legs were: You have to love people, love your product, and be resilient.

Does loving people mean you have to go around hugging everyone? No.

Does it mean you have to love every person you encounter? No.

But, to me, it does mean that you have to like people in general.  You have to enjoy being around people, you have to love getting to know people, and you have to enjoy working with people.

So what if people aren’t acting so lovable? Well, that happens a lot, especially if you are in sales. You get doors slammed in your face, you get yelled at, people don’t return your calls, and people lie to you. In those moments, I remember two things:

  1. If someone is acting meanly, it’s more than likely not about you. Maybe someone just cut them off in traffic, or maybe they just had a fight with their spouse and you look a bit like them…you just don’t know. But, it’s more than likely not you.
  2. I once asked a boss, who worked with a set of professional people who lied a lot to his face, how he was able to take it so well. “You’ve got to view it as humorous, Nicole,” he told me. “It’s not worth calling them on their lie. So instead, laugh that you know the truth and move on. It’s not worth the energy and don’t take it personally that they lied to you. They like a lot. It’s not a personal thing.”  He was a big lover of people.

If you are working in sales, communications, or marketing, you’ve got to love people, whether they treat you well or not.