Brian Tracy (http://www.briantracy.com/) in his well known Sales Audio tape set makes the observation that 50% of any sale is a “transfer of enthusiasm”. I think this is right, and that if we analyze what we mean by enthusiasm two things become clear. First, that enthusiasm is a direct result of our belief – if we believe in a product or service this creates a ‘halo’ effect around it, which makes it far more compelling, or attractive.
In a way this is a subset of Professor Cialdini’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cialdini) point about influence – when in Rome do as the Romans do! Because someone believes strongly in ‘something’, then we are far more likely to entertain believing in it. There is something heinous about salespeople who have no personal commitment to what they sell – it seems no longer a ‘sale’, but a commodity to be traded as it were. Hence the slightly derogatory connotation of the word ‘trade’ – a nominalization divested of personal significance.
The second implication of enthusiasm is of a kind of energy that the sales person has about the product or service. In part this may derive from beliefs about the product or service and what it may be able to do, but it can be more than that.
Another way of describing the energy a sales person has is: how motivated they are about it. This motivation seems rooted in two areas of the psyche: the self concept and our identification with the product. Secondly, our expectations about the product. Expectations are our beliefs about future outcomes. In other words how the future will be impacted by using the product – a visionary well-being is invoked.
Visions of course are very exciting. I think it is true that most people lose sight of the fact that they are changing the world when they get excited by what their product can do – if they sell it! It’s that that’s at the heart of enthusiasm, and we need to regain that energy in ourselves and our sales forces if we are to be effective.