YOU ARE IN SALES!
My first intention is to help you become aware of the selling that you’re already doing.
After that, I’m hoping that you’ll be inspired to take ownership of your selling skills by investing some of your time into studying sales and negotiation techniques. Most importantly, I’d like to invite you to take the steps to improve your communication skills.
The quicker you accept that you have sales-like interactions in your daily life, and more that you consciously choose to study and apply these skills, the sooner you can purposefully improve your results in both personal and professional situations.
Yes, I believe that everyone is in sales! That means you.
The used car salesperson stereotype does not apply to the Sales role as a whole!
people deny it because they are in sales because they have negative associations with sales. Does that sound like you? It’s totally understandable, because there are some salespeople who have given the title a very bad reputation due to pushing an agenda that doesn’t serve anyone but themselves. The slimy, greedy, pushy and dishonest salespeople of the world have most likely tried to convince you to make a purchase that wasn’t right for you, whether it was at your front door or at a used car lot. Were you ever pressured into a purchase that you later regretted? If so, that sucks!
There are many good salespeople out there who work with honesty and integrity for the sake of getting people exactly what they want and need, or what they will need. Think of some of the salespeople that you like and trust; those who have earned your loyalty by steering you the right directions. These are the service-minded people who look for problems to solve. They study their industries, master their craft, have social graces, are enjoyable to be around, and they are genuinely excited about improving your life with their products or services.
Now, you might still be thinking, “Yes, that’s true, but it still doesn’t tell me how I am a salesperson.”
Whatever your career path, there are moments (possibly on a daily basis) when having the ability to influence another makes the difference between hitting your target result or not. Whether you’re in Accounting, Business Administration, Customer Service, Facilities Management, Finance, Human Resources, IT Management, Operations, Project Management, Shipping and Receiving, Reception or the warehouse….and whether you just have internal or external customers, you’re all in Sales! Sometimes, we’re just selling the importance of the work that we do, in order to keep are jobs. The same rule applies to every role in the book! Parents and children, teachers and students, politicians and public servants, leaders and job seekers, you’re all in sales!
Want some examples? Great, I’ll give you three; Partnerships, Parenting and Purchasing.
Enter their world — Whether you are in a romantic, platonic or business relationship, it is inevitable that you and your partner will have a disagreement. Probably many. It could be as simple as choosing a place to eat dinner, or as complicated as writing a contract. Sales skills that will help you to listen, to be heard, possibly understood, and they may even help you come to an win-win agreement or see eye to eye, whatever your desired outcome. In the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Dr. Stephen Covey, habit # 5 is Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This habit is common practice among expert Salespeople while we are always looking to understand and align with other’s motivations. In other words, ask great questions to your partner or client until you get their perspective.
Okay, so are you a parent that has ever wanted to get your kid to to do something specific, such as getting ready and go out of the house, simply cleaning up after themselves, or potty training? To those uninitiated, these may all sound like a piece of cake, but us parents know that everything can be a struggle.
So, how did you do it?
Do you get down to their eye level and speak softly or do you get frustrated and bark a command?
Do you use enticing words that the child cares about or would you speak matter of factly?
Did you use a sticker charts and offer rewards or did you yell about every accident?
Guess what, if you are an effective parent then you are already motivating and influencing your children…and yes, that is a form of selling. Also, kids naturally try to sell their parents on buying the toys they want all the time, and do they take no for an answer? Probably not, they either get creative or asked repeatedly until you either gave in or lose you’re cool.
Are you in IT, for example, and you see countless projects that need to be executed by deadlines but they all require capital expenditures? You have to convince your CFO or CEO to fork out tens of thousands or more to resolve some major issue such as Windows 7 extended support ending on January 14, 2020. That may mean many upgraded licenses or even a computer refresh to buy you another 10 years. The likelihood that the decision maker already understands the risks and consequences of not making the change is low. Unless you can effective describe the possible pains and problems that will occur if you don’t keep your systems up to date and succeed in getting their buy in, then you can’t do your job effectively.
Guess what, CIO’S, System Administrators and IT Managers, you’re all in sales! Oh, and I can get you a great deal on your software licensing and new computers. Call me!
So, what is your job title? Is it just another fancy way of avoiding calling yourself a ‘Salesperson”? Look, I am as guilty of this common form of branding as anyone…my LinkedIn headline shows me as a ‘Technology Dealer, Printing & Office Product Broker, Artist, Goal Getter’. My job title is ‘Senior Account Manager/Government Task Force Manager’. Yeah, most of that is just code for sales. Sales Representatives throughout time have been shamed into trying to hide our true agendas. Everyone knows when someone is trying to sell you something, so why do so many people try to hide their true intentions with titles like Product Consultant, Key Account Representative, Business Development, or Manager of Relationships? I’ve heard too many new salespeople try to disguise the fact that they were in sales mode by acting like they were just taking a survey or s, and frankly, it’s pathetic! Just be honest and own it!
Once you accept your role as a salesperson, what are you to do?
Find your why. What is your reason to succeed? Are you clear on your desired outcome? Get clear on what you want by journalling, writing out your goals and making plans to achieve them. It’s all about having a strong and clear ‘why’!
Identify your customers and specify what you are trying to sell them. This will change depending on whether you are looking at your professional or personal life, and whether you have internal or external customers. Be true to yourself when you look at what it is that you really want from others.
Audit your skill set by honestly looking at your own strengths and weaknesses. Ask you manager(s) and peers for their honest feedback about where you could use improvement.
Increase your knowledge and skills. Read sales books and articles, watch training videos, listen to great motivational speakers such as Jim Rohn and Zig Zigler, attend sales seminars and join groups that will help you improve your skills.
Practice, practice, practice. To continuously strive for excellence in communication, it’s not enough just to study. One must keep their tools clean, sharp, and in regular use. To achieve this, I joined Toastmasters International to keep my influencing skills sharpened and to tighten up my gift of gab thus help me get to the point quicker.
Time to be at peace with it and be direct about it! Let me start with myself, I, Alan Schwartz, am a Salesperson, and proud of it!
Now, I recommend that you own it too.