(Post 2 in the Sales Series)
The first article laying out general categories of sales as we know them. This article will unpack the basic concept(s) within Sales. When I work on this Gear with my Business Coaching clients in Edmond, OK – the first term I attack (yes, I said “attack”), is the word itself.
The entire vocabulary of Sales is so backward in orientation, causing a lot of confusion in business, sales departments, and customers. The term “Sales” is really a derivative of the legal term “Bill of Sale” and also a reference from an accounting perspective of Sales vs Expenses. When this term creeps into the training manual or the Sales Presentation, the misalignment begins. This is also where the stereotypical sales personality comes from. What do you think of when you think about Sales?
In the 25 years I was doing sales training, I would ask the group, “Have you ever felt like someone was trying to sell you? And if so, when?” Often the answer to this question would elicit responses like “Car Sales”, “Insurance Sales”, “Time-Share Sales” etc.
How much do you like or enjoy that process? Overwhelmingly, people say “not at all”, “I hate it/those people” or some version of “I don’t like high-pressure sales.”
The anticipated answer was given every time. A negative response. Asking more questions about why would lead the group to say that they didn’t feel listened to, didn’t think the salesperson could be trusted, and most importantly, felt like the salesperson was trying to manipulate them.
Now, my next question to the group and to you, the reader: “Even though you don’t like being sold, do you like to buy things?”
The change in demeanor was always immediate. Smiles and laughter began to appear in the group as people would tell me what sorts of things they like to buy and why. Some would smile as they described how much they like buying makeup, clothes, tools, electronics, etc, etc, etc.
I ask, “What’s the difference between the two experiences?”
For example, people describe a positive “Buying” experience when they feel in control, listened to, and when they have a say-so in the decision. People describe a negative “Selling” experience when they feel ignored, manipulated, and pressured.
Hard fact: Nobody Sells Anything.
Sales managers created “Selling as an imaginary concept.” It instills a false sense of control in the Sales Person. If a salesperson is told to go sell something, can they actually go sell it?
No, they can’t.
What can they do?
Salespeople only have control over the activities they personally initiate. They can call someone on the phone, visit them in person, or introduce themselves and ask for an audience. They can present information on products or services their company offers.
Therefore, they cannot make that prospective client buy anything.
Buying is the only critical activity and the client’s the only person who can do it.
Business owners and Entrepreneurs are invited to take my Free Online Assessment on the main page of the 7th Gear Website.
The first article of the Sales Series: