Sunday, May 8, 2011

We are all in Sales

Most people reject the idea of selling as it seems too difficult, too phony or too undignified. But in fact we are all in sales.

 Today being Mother's Day it might be a good idea to reflect on your first sale. For most of us it was convincing our mother to help us. Not really a hard sale, but one of the most vital. You didn't stop there as you got older and as what you wanted became more sophisticated so did your technique. At some stage you realized that getting people outside your family circle to do what you wanted was more difficult. In truth your mother and father were not always totally devoted to your interests.

We all have a need to sell something. At bottom we are selling ourselves, that we are worthy to hire, to befriend, to become more intimate with, our ideas. A lot of our life is devoted to these tasks.

At different times in your life you want other people to give you something. It might be a job, their friendship, to accept your idea, to do something together. Sometimes you succeed and often you don't. To get more of what you want from other people you have to learn what might be called sales skills.

In all businesses (including non profit) the tasks that generate money or help fulfill your purpose will become ritualized or made routine. As time passes opportunities to improve are identified and someone may recognize an opportunity to sell the idea. If they are successful there is usually a benefit to many of those involved.

Formal sales involves selling specific goods or services to people willing to pay for them and as outsiders we can quickly appreciate it is not easy. The problem is your targets tend to be comfortable with what they already have or are very reluctant, even fearful to change their habits.  If a product or sale sells itself, it doesn't really need any special sales effort. This only happens after the demand for the product or service has been developed.

There is a need for sales. Aside from the fact that nothing happens until someone sells something, a lot of good things are waiting for the right person to persuade someone else to start the ball rolling. I  believe working together we can all sell better and serve the world better.

I have been selling for a few decades and unlike many who write books or give seminars I would not describe myself as a model of success. I would say I have identified a lot of aspects of the selling effort that make a difference. Some I learned the hard way, by making mistakes and others I learned by reading or listening to more successful sales people. In future blogs I will offer bits of what I have learned and hope that you will share your experience in a positive way.

For another perspective on all of us selling:

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