When I first start working with businesses many of their people worry that I’m going to teach them how to “sell”. It’s as if sales is from an alien culture, with anybody in a sales position being like the disciple of Lucifer.
What is this stigma attached to the word ‘sales’? One mention of it seems to conjure up images that are the embodiment of everything that is wrong with sales. From car salesmen telling you they knew exactly what you wanted the minute you walked into the showroom to telephone salespeople sounding like even they don’t believe in their own product.
Yet in one way or another we spend most of our life selling things. When we go for a new job, when we meet potential partners and when we’re in social settings we sell ourselves in one way or another. Most jobs also involve sales at one level or another. Or they should!
“To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales.
It’s the only way we stay in business.”
We all hate the hard sell approach of cold calls that we get in the evening. And we hate salespeople hard selling to us in face to face situations. Yet that’s exactly what 80% of salespeople do and it’s probably this that’s given sales its bad name.
We believe sales is an honourable profession when it’s done well (yes we would say that wouldn’t we?) but when it’s done poorly it only confirms the stigma of the hard sell approach that we see all too often.
Sales is all about:
· Fully understanding the needs of your customers.
· Asking questions to determine these needs. Lots of questions!
· Developing solutions to meet these needs.
· Building relationships based on openness & honesty that lead to partnership.
Sales is not about:
· Hard selling.
· Pushing products that the customer doesn’t want.
· Even if the customer does want them it’s still not about pushing products.
· The salesperson browbeating their customer with product diatribes.
Yet customer research tells us that things that sales should not be about is exactly what 80% of salespeople do. So, the stigma attached to the word sales is actually created because the huge majority of sales people don’t sell properly.
The final aspect of this is that as we mentioned above, all jobs involve sales, if by sales we mean representing our business with skill and professionalism and developing relationships with people.
So, do you ‘sell’?