Everyone is part of a sales culture, whether you are in the C suite or a member of the legal or administrative department; whether you own your business or are the receptionist in a Fortune 500 company. A sales culture means that everyone’s in sales. Does this mean that all employees have to stop doing what they are doing and make some cold calls? Nope. A sales culture means that each and every employee—regardless of title or tenure—understands they have a profound impact on a customer’s decision to say “yes.”
Every single conversation is a bona-fide selling moment. Those conversations are opportunities to make impressions that begin to build or continue a relationship. Want to know how you can affect sales? Read these tips in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.
There are two types of salespeople: the ones who self-identify as being in sales and everyone else. The latter are made up of the “non-professional salesperson” (NPSP). People are exercising the basics of sales far more often than they think. From lawyers to the owners of local fast-food restaurants—they are all in sales.
Then there are the people in companies who need to sell something internally. One common example that comes to mind is someone who is engaged in research and has a great idea that needs funding to make it happen. That idea has to be sold to the bosses. You’ve all used and heard the term “it has to be sold” or “we need buy-in” when referring to something internal to your companies or in your personal lives.
Regardless of how you see yourself, here is the point that needs to be firmly and unequivocally understood. Telling people that they are in sales usually provokes two types of reactions, the first being, “Yep, I agree.” The second reaction is “Nope, not me—I’m not in sales.” The latter is sometimes said with a slightly confused gaze, but the intent is there. Everyone is exercising the fundamentals of sales far more often than they think.
It is also a fact that some non-professional salespeople will vehemently deny this entire concept because they think that selling is not something they have to do. The older guard of the NPSPs did not have to sell as we think of it today. Business came by referral and word of mouth. Oh, how times have changed.
How Non-Professional Salespeople Sell
Sales fundamentals constantly take place in non-sales settings. Conversing, handling objections, networking, building relationships, listening and helping are all selling motions. The fundamental skills of selling are the same skills that you use every day in some fashion. Most of the time you don’t realize it and when it’s pointed out the usual reaction is “Hey … I’m not in sales” or “Sales … that’s not my job!” It cannot be stated often enough—when you talk, you sell. It’s the same synonymous motion. When you speak, people form an impression very quickly and that is a selling activity. So, the NPSP, is as much a salesperson as is the professional salesperson. The only difference is that a professional salesperson is getting paid to sell. The NPSP gets what they want by selling themselves, ideas and passions and, as a result, good things happen. Sometimes those good things are monetary, like a raise.
Selling is not something that requires people to stop what they are doing and do something different. It is not a mode change. It is rooted in solid relationship building and developing trust. It is not unlike complex solution selling that we sales professionals experience all the time. In other words, selling is “Don’t do anything different, think differently about what you do.” What you do every day influences people in many different ways—and that’s sales. Things do not happen magically in a vacuum. You need to get out there and sell yourself and your ideas so you can get what you want, need and deserve.
Selling is a complex process and it is no longer a linear relationship between the salesperson and the client. There is not a sale that could happen without the help and input of many people throughout the organization. Everyone has a systemic role and everyone does something that helps a customer say “yes.” People who think, “Sales—not my job,” are people who will keep the company mired in mediocrity because they think that selling is something else that they have to do in addition to their job. The point is that their job is sales and what they do is vital to the company engaging and closing more customers.
Source: Todd Cohen, CSP is an accomplished and sought-after speaker, sales culture expert and author of Everyone’s in Sales and Everyone’s in Sales; STOP Apologizing. Cohen’s dynamic and motivational presentations are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. Since 1984, he has led sales teams to deliver more than $850 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox and Thomson-Reuters.
Compiled by Cassandra Johnson