Bob Heiss - Conversations with Artists

Where is the art in what you do?

"I'm in sales consulting, and the art of what I do is actually the art of communication.  When people communicate with one another they frequently are playing certain roles and they act in a routine of those roles.  If you were buying something from a salesperson you'd probably act the role of a typical prospect and there are certain things that you would do.  The art that's involved with sales is being able to break down the preconceived perceptions that people have about the sales process and communicate with them in a way that removes all defensive barriers and allows people to really connect.  So sales is really nothing more than communicating on a person-to-person basis."

Is there a negative connotation to being a sales person?

"OMG - it's huge.  And it's caused by people having bad experiences with salespersons their whole lives.  The ubiquitous sales call that we get at home for credit cards, donations - the experiences we have when we buy high-ticket items like cars and flat screen TVs.  Whenever there's a sales process the salesperson typically focuses on themselves and their product and tries to create a value around that when all this does is create the suspicion that they are more interested in their own commission than helping the buyer fix or achieve whatever they need to fix or achieve."

When did you realize that this was the work you wanted to pursue?

"I don't think there was a moment that it occurred to me.  I've just always been good at talking to people.  I just kind of woke up that way when I was little.  

Most people don't realize this: selling is actually more about listening, actively listening to somebody vs. telling.  It has nothing to do with a 'pitch' or about telling people about your product.  Everybody is either trying to fix something that's broken or trying to achieve something - trying to close the gap between what they have and what they need or want.  A salesperson really should put all focus on the buyer or client to help them and collaborate to fill their needs."

Do you deal with a lot of artists who need to be sales people?

"Everybody needs to learn to sell -- whether you're actually in the business of performing a service or selling products or goods to people or trying to get them to perceive something.  Even with artists, besides selling their product or their service, photographers for instance have to make people comfortable.  They have to sell their own credibility and help bring people through a process. Nobody is going to buy your work unless they trust you.  And developing trust is very hard because you are perceived as having your own agenda.  Trust is built on experience.  It takes experience and history for somebody to start to trust you.  So what the sales process boils down to is - can you develop trust with somebody in a short amount of time?  If you can, then you'll be able to help them.  If you can't then your chances of success aren't that big."

What advice would you give to an entrepreneur or artist?

"I think artists have a few particular challenges when it comes to business.  One of them is that artists are emotional about their product because it's part of them -- an expression of their soul, their creativity.  I think that when you have to sell something that's emotional to you, you are going to lose objectivity.  The other challenge that artists face is that when you have a business around your art you have a tendency to be somewhat defensive about your stuff and criticism is hard to take.  Artists also don't naturally have the ability to think about the client because they're thinking "I made the art - if you like it you're brilliant.  If you don't like it you're an idiot"  - and I think this is something to overcome.  My advice is:  you really need to get as emotionally objective as possible when you're in 'business mode' around your art.  It almost has to be as if it's somebody else's art.  Very hard to do, but I believe that the artists that are the very best at doing business probably have that figured out."

Knowing the struggles that artists go through if your son told you he wanted to be an artist would you try to talk him out of it?

"Never.  I would never try to talk anybody out of anything related to art.  I think the world needs artists. OMG do we need artists!  It would suck without artists.  There would be no expression.  Everybody has a different way to express themselves, and we should enjoy the way other people express themselves.  A world without art would be impossible.  I can't see it."

Bob Heiss is the founder and owner of Sandler Training, a New York based, authorized licensee of Sandler Systems, Inc. Bob is a sales and sales force development expert. He specializes in helping companies hire the “right” people (who can sell), managing them effectively and profitably (motivation and accountability), and trains them to sell using the Sandler Selling System. His client base is composed of corporations, small businesses and traditional sales professionals as well as those in other fields who desire to build their practice or enhance their skills.
In addition to training and coaching people and companies to attain their goals, Bob regularly speaks to companies and organizations in many diverse industries and has published a wealth of articles on sales, managing, goals and success conditioning.
Bob understands that “Companies and individuals who are exceeding their goals are the ones that view training and personal development as strategic business partners.” With a proven track record, Sandler Training has helped thousands of professionals to triumph over the challenges that inhibit their success.
Contact Bob Heiss at 1120 Ave. of the Americas, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036, Phone 646 502-7515, email .