Salesmen are a strange breed. They're different from you and me. (Well, from me, anyway -- I couldn't convince a junkie to buy heroin.) They all seem to have the same slickness, the same ability to act as though they're your buddy, as though they're willing to give up their commission just to make you a good deal. Who hasn't made a large purchase and been told something to the effect of, "You know, we're practically gonna lose money on this sale"? And how many people believe that, if only for a while?
If you're a salesman, you can probably learn a lot from Robert Workman. The Dallas-based author of Hired Gun, a book written for successful sales professionals, will be at Barnes and Noble this week for a discussion and signing of his book. In addition to pointing out the "immutable laws" of hired gunning -- which, I guess, is selling -- Workman gives his advice on dealing with the "stigmas of sales success." According to Workman, these are plentiful.
But you can probably learn a lot from Workman's book even if you're not in sales. You might gain an insight into the mind of Workman and his brethren that could prove helpful in not getting fleeced. Next time you're dealing with a salesman and you begin to think, "This guy wouldn't do me wrong -- he likes me," remember this quote from Hired Gun: "The deal is the deal. Everything else is just conversation."
Workman might also provide useful as a role model of sorts. He has all the flash that a successful salesman is supposed to have. Get on his Web site (www.hired-gun.com), and you'll see photos of Workman, posed suavely with a pistol and wearing a "Hired Gun" baseball cap (available for the low price of $18.95). You'll hear a rather long version of the theme from Mission: Impossible. You'll see the slogan "You're #1, and somebody hates it." You'll read about Workman's Ferrari and exotic felines and affinity for Cuban (but of course) cigars. You may laugh at how perfectly he fits the successful salesman stereotype. You may think he's quite silly. And you may secretly consider going into sales.