It Doesn't Have to Be Hell to Sell
Posted on 04 September 2014
The management classic Who Moved My Cheese makes it clear: change is going to happen regardless of how you feel about it. In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s happening right now in your organization in ways you’ve never even imagined. Change doesn’t need us to acknowledge it; it does what it does because that’s the nature of change. And as the moral of the story goes, the sooner we accept and embrace it, the better off we’ll be.
Many will waste time bemoaning the pointless question, “Is this change necessary?” The answer is yes; now don’t ever ask that stupid question again. Variety is the spice of life and a rolling stone gathers no moss. You’ve got to itch your niche. What’s in style one season is out the next. What once used to pinch now fits like a glove. Things change, markets change, people change. Continuous reinvention is what makes us successful. It’s the nature of evolution and survival of the fittest. This is not just a physical or genetic phenomenon. The same holds true for businesses. Change also keeps us relevant. The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice when he was ninety years old. His reply? “Because I think I’m making progress.”
So now that it’s come to your attention that you must “do” sales, let’s talk about what sales really is and isn’t. The basis of living life is to be of service to others. It’s at the core of the Golden Rule, the very fiber that ties us all together to live in a civilized and peaceful manner. Sales isn’t a spiel or a canned talk. As they say, “If you’re telling, you ain’t selling.” Sales is about meeting a need. Sales happen because someone offers a solution to a problem.
Make no mistake about it, sales does take work. The 20% who go back after five rejections gain 80% of the sales. And it’s tough to take that much rejection. But as I learned from selling books door to door during my college years, A Rejection = A Dead End, but An Objection = An Opportunity.
Last, and perhaps most important, you need to believe in what you’re offering. A customer can smell inauthenticity a mile away but it’s impossible to say no to someone who is passionate about what they offer. If you don’t like your company, your boss, your product, your customer, or yourself, it’s going to bleed out into the conversation and kill any chance of building a relationship. People do business with those who solve problems. If you don’t believe in it, how can they? I have been faced with this dilemma several times. But it all boils down to this: if you can’t get excited about what it is you’re selling, it’s time to move on to something you can get excited about selling. Sales is all about making relationships and that requires passion. Make yourself irresistible to your potential clients and enjoy your new role!
The bottom line is unless the cash register rings the factory whistle won’t blow. The leap from service to sales is not as scary and vast as we have imagined. Sales are our lifeline and we are all salespeople at the cores of our being: people helping others to have a better life. So embrace your new role, it has the potential to be much more exciting and satisfying than you probably imagined.