I used to think that “sales” was a bad word, but I’m learning that it’s not.
Since quitting my job last summer, I’ve learned a lot about how to sell and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s something we all do and something that we should all strive to get better at. To me, sales is all about building relationships and matching value with a need. This blog is a series of raw thoughts on sales and I hope that it sparks something for you.
It’s Required: when you are the person in charge of bringing in business, you think about sales (duh). In order to run a sustainable business, selling is required and that can be exhausting. To be more specific, in the world of coaching and training, sales is tiring because you have to sell a service and then you have to provide that service – you are the product. You always have to be thinking about how to bring in new business.
It’s Personal: when I think about sales, I think about nurturing a relationship with the intent of providing someone else value that they need (and/or are looking for). It’s about making a connection; making another person feel heard, cared for and supported. The best selling doesn’t feel like selling because the other person’s best interests are at heart and that guides a genuine process. One of the hardest parts of sales is when other people don’t respect the human who is doing the selling (I’ll vent about this another time).
It’s Emotional: people (you and me included) often don’t make rationale decisions when it comes to spending our resources; we use emotion. For example, most people don’t purchase a treadmill because the act of running indoors will bring them immediate happiness; they purchase a treadmill because they have an emotional pull toward the desired results and feelings that exercise might give them (e.g. confidence). The sales process can be emotional when things don’t go as planned (people back out on their word) and that’s part of the process – it’s a lesson in managing expectations and emotions.
It’s Challenging: the most attractive and most challenging part of selling is that it takes time, endurance and persistence. Sales is a long game and if you’re not willing to wait, you’re not going to win. Being great at sales requires long term vision paired with short term action. You need to plant seeds (plural) now so that you might have the chance to harvest fruit later on. Sales demands patience but not when it’s passive.
It’s Human: part of sales involves influence (and impact). One of the best books I’ve ever read on the topic asserts that we are all selling something at all times. In fact, each interaction consists of us selling ourselves to a certain degree; attempting to gain good standing another person(s). Furthermore, at it’s core, the most honest selling is about serving – it’s about leaving people better than we found them and it should be focused on creating impact before generating income.
While selling isn’t a bad word, it isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. If you’re in the world of sales, I hope that this blog gave you something to think about. If you’re not in sales, I hope that these thoughts can be helpful in navigating a world full of selling. Let’s end things with the perfect sales quote…
Leave people better than you found them.
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