The Difference between a Salesman and a Peddler

Over the years, after I truly committed to the Sales Profession, I would be asked at a networking function or similar event what I do. When asked I would respond, “I am a peddler.”  After the individual gave me a peculiar look, he/she would respond, “Oh you are a sales person, right?”  I would politely say “No I am a peddler.” Then I would say “Would you like to know the difference?” More often than not the reply is a peculiar “yes.”

So I would proceed, to explain the difference.  A good salesperson knows his product, his market, his competition and his customer. A good salesperson is fully informed and makes a professional presentation, shows his customer how his product will solve a problem or make the customer more money. Then the salesperson would ask for the order.   That is my definition of a good salesperson.

The difference between the peddler and the salesperson is a peddler, like the salesperson, knows his product, his market, his competition and his customer.  But there is more.  The peddler will go further before and during the presentation.  He will analyze the customer in a variety of ways, ask them can they do this or why can they not do this by watching, asking and trying to understand the customer’s needs or in some cases the lack of a need.

A good example is the salesperson that has an appointment with the buyer in a store. The salesperson will introduce himself and, after a short pleasantry, he will proceed to get in the features and benefits of his product(s).  If a good presentation is made and the buyer gives the salesperson an order, the salesperson has done his job well.

The peddler has a similar appointment and does a little analyzing of the store layout etc and creates a need. He/she will introduce himself and exchange some pleasantries, before launching into the product presentation.  He discusses how traffic into a store is critical to a successful operation.  The peddler may suggest ways of helping the buyer to get additional traffic into the store by moving some existing items. Then the peddler goes into his presentation the same as the salesperson but points out how his product on display in a certain area my help increase traffic into the store.

The entire meeting is shifted to solving the need rather than selling a product or service.   If you have created a legitimate need then the product will automatically follow (be bought). That is the difference between a salesperson and a peddler. The salesperson goes out and gets an order, whereas the peddler goes out and creates orders that develop into business and hopefully a long-term business relationship.

Now, the buyer buys and looks forward to the peddler returning again and bringing in some new increasing business ideas.

The peddler will always have greater results because the buyer, regardless of how experienced he or she is, is totally taken back by the peddler who demonstrated this need to him.

After I explained this difference to the individual who asked the original question, he became genuinely interested in my information about this method of selling “Create a Need Selling Techniques.