Salespeople are not born that way, they are made. Like any other profession, selling is a choice that requires the development of both a skill-set and passion. While an extroverted personality is a plus, it is not a requirement. While most casual observers might concede that talented sales superstars are great talkers, the reality is that they are far better listeners and are empathetic with their customers.
Erica vanderLinde Feidner is the consummate salesperson, although it appears that she does not consider herself as such. She has international notoriety as a musical genius and fine Steinway piano expert. However, she sees herself as a matchmaker, seeking to connect her clients with the right piano. She is driven by an passionate understanding of the chemistry between artist and her musical instrument as a form of self-expression.
"Successful piano salespeople aren't necessarily accomplished pianists. Most can play at least a little, but it's not an occupational necessity, or even something Steinway looks for in a prospective salesperson. Still, Feidner's playing stood out. Faires wondered if she had been a concert artist. Even in the brief Chopin excerpt, Feidner seemed to have the expressive power of a professional pianist" relates James Stewart in an extensive New Yorker magazine article.
Although I have never met Erica, I was moved by her stories in the New Yorker and Inc. magazines. She has enjoyed tremendous success as a piano salesperson, selling millions of dollars worth of classic Steinway pianos during her career. Interestingly, she does not consider herself a salesperson.
I envision her as more a curator of a fine art gallery who assists her clients with choosing the just the right work of art. She loves both her work and her work environment, being passionate about both. She understands the relationship between musician and instrument, one actually being an extension of the other. Fine pianos are simultaneously wonderful musical instruments, fine furniture and beautiful works of art. She gets it!
I own a 1915 Franklin piano that is slowly falling apart. In fact, I once inquired about rebuilding a new piano around it's wonderful aged soundboard. I enjoy laying my hand on the top as my son plays so as to experience the vibrations transmitted through the aged wood, the same way my guitars gently vibrate against me as I play them. It makes you feel as one with the instrument, adding to the experience. This is the same idea that Erica likely embraces when she pairs a pianist with a fine Steinway. The chemistry must be right. The reward is a lifetime of magic. She seeks that magic!
Successful salespeople seek to match clients with the benefits they are seeking. Doing so requires understanding, empathy and careful listening. Erica is a good example of an idea-seller. She is not tied to the constraints of what defines a salesperson, rather focusing her energies on deeply understanding her clients. The by-products are closed sales, lifetime customers and endless referrals, lots of them.