In today’s world a good product is only one part of a sale, not the sale itself. A good salesperson is also not enough to secure a sale. Nowadays, many business people, business owners and individual professionals need to be able to make a sale but aren’t what we would traditionally call a ‘salesperson’.
‘Closing the deal’ relies on a new set of skills and behaviours. Effective sales people or people who need to sell, need to add value to client relationships and focus their attention well beyond just the product or service they are selling. Building relationships, listening to customer needs and broader commercial awareness are all important contributors to effective selling.
Everyone is in sales
I am a firm believer that everybody lives by selling something, although most of us don’t think of ourselves as salespeople and what happens therefore, if you can’t sell?
How are you supposed to go beyond the scripted monologues of selling when you feel you don’t have the gift of the gab or that you were simply just not born to sell?
Even though you may not have a specific “sales” job title, almost all roles in some form or another require the ability to sell.
People sell themselves at job interviews, people sell themselves to land a promotion or a pay increase, people sell their advice, strategic thought and many non-salespeople sell a service or a product.
If you are in fact a salesperson, how many of us have entered our sales careers with our eyes wide open? Been fully aware of what it takes to be an effective sales person –resourced with the tools, processes, plans and support essential to our success?
For most, if not all of us, our initiation into sales was nothing like this, and was cushioned with little or none of these luxuries. Does the analogy “sink or swim” resonate with anyone?
Even the most successful and capable of sales people have been in the position of feeling they were unable to sell. Even if you think you just don’t have what it takes to sell, you do and you are not alone.
What to do
There are some great sales coaching and programs out there to help you become a successful sales person. Like any skill, you must first be taught and over a period of time as you practice, effective selling will eventually become second nature to who you are.
Before you go travel down the road of sales coaching and training, it’s worth sitting back and assessing the real reasons you feel held back from selling. Look within yourself, ask yourself questions and be truly honest with how you feel.
The ‘old school’ stereotype of the ‘smooth talking’ sales person whose job it is to convince and persuade people to buy a product is outdated and, most of all, ineffective. Don’t let this image discourage you. This is not what a sales person is meant to be.
Your beliefs, not your abilities, could be holding you and your career hostage. Here are some points you may want to consider:
- Why do you need to sell? Who will benefit from you being able to sell competently?
- How will ethically and proactively promoting and selling your capabilities help you and your clients?
- What is your current view of selling? Do you hold onto a view that makes you feel ashamed of selling? How is that view affecting your ability to keep your business healthy and viable?
- Can you reframe your thinking about selling? See it as a way to make what you do visible to the people who need to know about you so they can benefit from your skills and talent?
- How do you feel about the statement ‘everybody lives by selling something’?
Limiting beliefs about selling are a significant issue for many people and something that can be overcome with patience, clarity and persistence.
Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Visit www.barrett.com.au