Being in my mid 30’s, I grew up in the final golden age of cartoons. Saturday mornings were the time to curl up on the carpet with a big bowl of sugary cereal and watch cartoons until being forced to do chores.
Two of my favorites were Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. These two cartoons gave me a much deeper look into the entire rogues gallery of both heroes and gave me a better-than passing familiarity with the characters.
When I was young, I preferred Superman. The reason was pretty simple. Superman was stronger and faster. He could punch harder, and for a 7 year old there was not more that I needed to know.
It was not until I got older that I appreciated Batman. He was not born a hero, he MADE himself a hero. He took the most tragic event in his life and used it as fuel to become something better.
Here is the thing, now that I am an adult, I have come to realize the best parts of these characters are not their strength, intelligence of general ass-kickery. It is their flaws.
As I grew older, I found that the best moments in Superman lore revolve around his weaknesses. No, not just kryptonite. I mean his unwavering moral code his love for Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane.
My favorite Superman Story of all time is Superman vs The Elite, where he was never in real danger, but his moral code was challenged by a new group of vigilantes who had popular support from Metropolis citizens. The best conflicts are internal, because those are the problems he can’t simply punch into the sun.
Batman is similar in a lot of ways. He has the same moral code, but his real enemy is himself. What he does is completely self-destructive. You can see this in the Nolan films where he is constantly covered in bruises. The best Batman stories are, not unlike Superman, internal conflicts where Batman has to break past his own personal limits.
So how does this all relate to sales? I want you to start embracing your flaws. This is what will get people to like and identify with you. Too many salespeople want to put up this perfect image, and as a consumer, it actually turns me off. I want to deal with a real human being, not some actor pretending to be perfect.
There is a common line in sales. “People don’t care what you know unless they know that your care.”
That is true, but we should take it a step further.
“People cannot believe that you care if you do not work to understand their situation.”
If you walk into work every day looking like a perfectly primped morning news host, do you think they will believe you understand their problems?
Take it from two of the most popular characters of all time; admit your flaws, work on them, and people will like you more. This will humanize you in the eyes of your customers. And once they know you and like you, it is a short step the getting them to trust you.
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