When I grow up I want to be a salesman!
Ask any CEO what is the most important job in the organization and they will respond by saying it is sales. Sales and marketing are responsible for not only bringing revenue to the company but good sales folks drive product innovation that helps create the next generation of go to market strategy and products.
The challenge with sales has little to do with aptitude but it is how we perceive the sales process. The fact is that everyone has sales skills from the day they come into this world. From the time of our childhood we sold parents and teachers on getting what we want. The skill sets associated with selling are instinctive and some of us practice them more than others. Unfortunately focusing on these skill sets and process is not taught in most schools. No one goes to college to become a great sales person. Selling has a negative connotation in society and no one is inspired to be a sales rep when they grow up. They want to be doctors, engineers, teachers, firefighters but not sales reps. God forbid car sales reps. Since the process of sales is not emphasized in schools and Universities the concept of sales as a career is an afterthought.
Selling is the art of discovering the needs and wants of people and helping them obtain it. The most gratifying experience is to have folks share what they want and then find a way to provide it to them. The basic sales skill sets can be taught in a few weeks but the art of mastering the sales process takes years to master.
Before discussing the integrated process of sales, it is important to note that sales as a career is not for everyone. It takes a special type of character to become a good sales person. In my career I have seen many sales reps come and go. During the dot com boom we had an infusion of all the drop outs of other industries, from teachers, biologist, and construction workers who became sales folks for high tech companies overnight. Lured by the pay and money, most lasted a couple of years at best and then went off to the next career.
Ultimately what makes a good and successful sales rep? The folks who do well in sales have one major characteristic in common. They show a genuine interest in the needs and wants of fellow man. They sit attentively listening to the desires, needs and wants of others with the intent of helping them attain what is perceived as something that is unattainable. Good sales reps value the stories of others and want to hear them. They have the ability to become trusted advisors, good listeners, and use these skill sets to become story tellers themselves. After all, it is the story of our wants, needs, and desires that connects us regardless of race, color, religion or national origin.
Seasoned and professional sales reps have the ability to see past the limitations of companies’ products, features and offerings and are consumed with solving problems for others. It is true that most sales reps get into sales for the lure of the money but the ones who stay in the business for life are in it because they love the process, the people interactions, and the financial rewards are simply added gravy.
Even if you have been in sales and marketing for a longtime we hope that you find useful information on our site. We hope to get your input and learn from your experience and stories. So please share them – we love your stories.
Going forward we will be covering extensively the art of selling and marketing on Bizcloud site. We will be dedicating a section to covering a number of integrated sales and marketing topics, techniques that we hope you will find useful.