Do you have a fear of sales?
One of the pleasures of my time mentoring business students is their fearlessness.
My students are currently organising an event and they are trying to sell tickets to other students and with no sales experience or know how seeing them trying to sell their wares was an eye opener and to see them fearlessly asking for the sale or closing was a joy to behold..…Yet many business owners with oceans more experience have an innate fear of selling and so how do we help overcome this worry!
The business world can look very complex but I realised after a little while and still do today that sales is at the heart of every commercial enterprise and that being the revenue-generating engine of a business is exciting but the fear of sales comes from the perception, targets and the idea of having to be pushy!
I’ve come to realise that at least part of that fear of sales stems from the persistence of an anachronistic definition of selling and a complete misunderstanding of what successful sales professionals actually do.
Many people equate sales with making people buy things they don’t want, don’t need, and can’t afford….the proverbial used-car salesman springs to mind.
But today there are many professional sales roles specifically, many of which require tremendous expertise such as the medical device industry employs sales professionals whom doctors consult about the proper application of their product while they are in surgery.
Overcoming the fear of sales can begin initially by operating on the assumption that people will benefit from using your products and services, then sales is entirely about helping others. Done well, selling today is helping people identify and address their needs in order to achieve their goals: to improve efficiency in a business, to make something easier, to live a better life in retirement, to be safer, live longer, and so forth.
Secondly by understanding how you sell is a vital part of the value you create for the customer. I would encourage sales professionals with clients is hard sell and chatter but to engage in a mutual dialogue about what a client is trying to accomplish, and then apply the solutions offered through their products or services to the client’s needs.
Thirdly by remembering that every employee is selling in some capacity — even if they don’t think they are — so they might as well get good at it. It is estimated that more than 40% of our professional time is spent selling. Not only selling the company’s products or services, but selling ideas, approaches, or a particular way to solve a problem. Sales professionals create value with customers and the ability to create value, is inextricably linked with your ability to sell, no matter what position you’re in.
Don’t run from away from sales as many people do and remember sales is the engine powering all business and professionals are the ones driving the train.