What is good salesmanship really?

Michael J. Brankin
4 min readJan 16, 2021

Out of my 40+ years in sales and marketing I have come across so many different tips and tricks and approaches and different ways to say things.

None terrible, all had some level of credibility. But what I am talking about when I talk about salesmanship is more sales philosophy. The right words, at the right time can help. But what helps you get to the right words at the right time, is so much more important.

It all comes down to one thing.

How well you listen is the greatest tool any salesperson has. Anyone that says different…isn’t listening.

As you read that, you might be thinking that it sounds intuitive, but you’d be surprised how much it isn’t. And once you know what to look for, you will see examples of bad salesmanship everywhere you go.

Most salespeople think it’s the ability to convince people to buy what it is they’re selling.

That is not the case at all. Sure, there are salespeople that have a great pitch and can make you believe anything in the moment. What follows is that you will most likely regret your purchase later and never want to see that person again.

But a great salesperson will ask probing questions and help the customer realize that what the salesperson is offering satisfies a need that the customer has.

Let me give you an example.

I used to attend a lot of networking meetings and business events. And one of the people that is always at every one of these events is the insurance salesman. If you have ever been to a chamber event or BNI group or business gathering, you know what I’m talking about. Now most insurance salespeople are convinced that they have to get people to sit down, tear open their finances, and sell that person every product they can pull out of their portfolio. And though this may be the end result, it sure isn’t how you want to meet somebody. I’ve had these well-meaning people attack me and say, “Come on! Let’s sit down and explore all your finances and save you money on insurance…” blah blah blah. All I want to do is turn and run.

But one such gentlemen had a very different approach. He came up to me and asked me what my business was. After I told him, he said, “That’s very interesting. I think I need to introduce you to a few people that might like your service.”

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Michael J. Brankin
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Bird Brain. Lover of Life. Sales Craftsman. Father. Husband. World Traveler. Spinner of Tales. Challenger of Ideas. Optimist. Hope Seeker. How Can I Help?