What the Terminator Can Teach Us About Sales.

Get a load of those pearly whites!

This is the face you make after you ask for the order.

That rep is a machine.

That rep is a killer.

That rep is a monster.

Metaphors like this are tossed around in sales all the time.  It’s usually in a very reverent fashion.  I’ve used them myself to describe certain people I know at the top of the game.

The most amusing part about all these metaphors?  The people we’re describing are really just amazing at forging relationships…and they do it a lot.

They start and maintain relationships better than others.  Not exactly the forte of a “killer” or a “machine” is it?

When we call someone a machine,  what we’re actually referring to is their work ethic and their ability to produce a result.  Plus it sounds way cooler to be a “machine” than a “fantastic relationship builder.”

We haven’t lost sight of the fact that their personal connection ability is still CRITICAL. Without it, they would undergo tons of robotic activity with little result.

On the flipside, there are hordes of salespeople with decent personal connection ability….but they don’t visit the necessary number of people to succeed, so they fail.

This is where it would help to have some machine like tendencies.

I like to think of the perfect sales process as giving a salesperson the advantages of both a human and machine.

Take a journey with me to get all geeky for a second.

Did you ever see the Terminator movies?  Surely you have.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg from the future.  He’s a technologically advanced, self aware machine on the inside and he has a living tissue exterior over his advanced robotic frame.  It makes for a potent combination.

I think Arnold’s character is the PERFECT analogy for an effective sales process.  Not the salesPERSON….but the sales process they follow.

The skeleton of your sales life:

Your overall process — How do you structure your sales activities.

Your schedule — The repetitive nature of your days.

Your scripts — Can you respond to ANY input with the correct output to achieve a desired result?

Your product knowledge —  Is it limited? Is it expansive?  Is it stagnant or growing?

In a “killer” sales rep, these qualities are all nearly robotic in nature.   They learn/program these skills/disciplines to the point where they don’t think about them anymore.

But as we said earlier….we can’t just have robots.   People buy from people they like.  If you can’t connect with people at all…it doesn’t matter how many you see.

So we need that living tissue piece as well right?  The “connective” tissue, if you will.

The muscle, connective tissues, and skin of your sales life:

Your personality — Are you likeable, agreeable, friendly, trustworthy?

Your sales skills — Can you demonstrate competence and inspire confidence?

Your skills of negotiation and persuasion — Are you fair?  Can you appeal to a buyer’s sensibilities?  Can you create win/win solutions to problems your customers face?

Your relationship building/nurturing ability — Can you become more and more of a resource, confidant and trusted advisor over time?

If you’re a great connector, most of these skills are inherent inside you, but they can also be developed.

All stars possess and continually work to improve both these “skeletal” and “connective tissue” qualities.

In teaching our sales process to my team, I’ve actually had reps tell me they enjoy the “machine like” process we follow.  It allows them to move through the day efficiently, always being able to execute on the call and not get bogged down by rejection.  It allows them to see more people, and therefore have a higher likelihood of success.

I must caution you though.  It’s possible to create some confusion with a fervor for embracing a well defined, strict sales process.  I’ve heard commentary that “You can’t put people into a mold.  Some people need to do things differently!  You need to let their personality come out in their work.”   The problem is, it’s in their “personality” to make 4 sales calls a day 🙂  That’s a recipe for failure.

It’s important for you to understand I’m not saying we need to stamp out individual personalities and force everyone into the “sales process box.”

In fact, what I actually want is for you to be your very own, authentic self (Now that’s deep).

The critical part is that you need to be yourself(connective)…in front of as many people as possible(skeletal).

Boom.  Thanks Arnold.

Go sell.





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