I’ve spent 20 years in marketing, and almost three months in sales.

And while I’ve owned cats my entire life, I’m only three months into life with Rocky, our chihuahua mix pound puppie. So if I’m off the mark here, please comment and set me straight.

In marketing, like cool cats, we stand back and watch things, analyzing with calculating interest the effects of variables on sales results. We touch and nudge with curious paws a factor here or there and chase down the occasional mouse with special interest. In general, marketers approach their craft with intellectualism. Yes there is passion, but passion driven by numbers (metrics).

In sales, I am already falling into the boundless enthusiasm and can-do attitude of the representative on the hunt. I am confident and energetic, my virtual tail wagging with anticipation of a positive sign from the lead. Like a bloodhound, I track a sale tirelessly, through gatekeeper assistants, voicemail mazes, price negotiations and multiple meetings. And, when a sales goes south, I’m sure I can look as forlorn as the doggie who’s been scolded by his master for chewing his shoe.

It is amazing how humbling sales can be.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
– You need to be upbeat and strong, delivering your message with enthusiasm (even when you’ve already repeated it several dozen times that same day – with no success).

– You need to listen carefully and think fast. Potential buyers will come across as negative first. It’s a natural defensive reaction. But then, a few times each day, maybe only a few times every week, someone will suddenly say something that leaves room for further discussion.

– Engaging the potential customer for 30 seconds can lead to a minute, can lead to 10 minutes, can lead to a warm lead. If you get past the initial defensiveness, you can spend a few moments talking and gaining the trust of the person on the phone. After they learn you’re not a shark-like salesman with white shoes, they’re more open to hear you out and think about your offer.

– I’ve learned – sometimes too late – that a statement of an objection may be overcome with a reasonable response that addresses how your product solves a problem or improves their bottom line. Keeping alert gives you the perception to recognize when those opportunities occur.