Misconceptions About Selling
Everyone is in sales. You sell your potential spouse to marry you, you sell your employer to employ you, and you sell your children to clean their rooms. Sales is about persuasion, leadership, and people skills, so it stands to reason that you need to be excellent at sales to be successful in business AND in life.
Over the last few decades however, sales as a profession has earned a bad reputation. TV shows and movies reinforce the stereotype of the slick, fast talking, extroverted salesman, who will do literally ANYTHING to close the deal. They are often depicted as being pushy, manipulative, unethical liars. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people out there who gave these show producers the material to work from! Here’s the problem though – these misconceptions and a lack of understanding of key sales concepts can result in:
- A reluctance to sell and be assertive when required
- Poor negotiation and leadership skills
- A lack of clarity of the value and differentiation you and your products provide
- Feelings of guilt for being successful and making profit
- Poor performance from sales staff
Ultimately, if you have a negative paradigm of sales and salespeople, it will cost your business in lost deals, clients, and revenue!
True Salesmanship: A Paradigm Shift
Times have changed. Buyers are better informed than ever with a wealth of information literally at their fingertips. Deceptive and unethical sales practices are easily publicised via social media, review websites, and public forums. I greatly welcome these changes, as it has made it necessary for salespeople to revert back to true salesmanship.
But what is true salesmanship? I believe it is ultimately defined by three key skills; namely your:
- Ability to discover and initiate potential win-win business relationships
- Skill in demonstrating that your product will result in a win-win relationship
- Ability to persuade and influence others to act on achieving this win-win relationship
Can you see how these all centre around building win-win relationships? This is the only way to achieve long-term success, and it is little wonder that “relationship selling” has become the gold standard for salespeople.
Business, Sales, & Leadership
Both sales and leadership have persuasion and influence at their core. The better you are at motivating people to take the action you want them to, the more successful you will be. There is however, an important distinction to be made between persuasion and manipulation. While both exert your influence over others, persuasion results in a win-win relationship, whereas manipulation results in win-lose relationship. I hope it is abundantly clear to you by now that there is no place for manipulation in sales.
From the above we can see that every business owner requires a high level of sales skills in order to be successful. Your staff are not exempt to this requirement. For example, a proper understanding of sales will enable your customer service professionals to listen better to client needs and refer them to the appropriate solutions. Product development specialists in turn need to understand the value clients seek from the products they create in order to properly satisfy them.
Money makes the world go round, but sales make the money go round. I hope at this point that you see why it is critical for you as a business owner to be highly proficient in sales. It is indeed one of the oldest and most noble professions out there, and the principles will carry over to every other aspect of your business. So get to work on improving your sales attitudes, knowledge, and skills, and watch your revenue rise!