I think it was my Grandma who taught me that first impressions count and that to be able to influence people (for good) was amongst the biggest achievements in life. There started for me, a lifelong relationship with sales – without knowing of course that she was teaching me principles in selling.
Sales or as it is called now ‘’business development’’ is probably amongst the most scorned and poorly considered professions and departments. There are very few Sales degrees or Phds in Sales that I am aware of, although of course, you can attend and send your team on sales training courses.
We only need to listen to how people treat incoming calls from sales people on sales calls to assess the poor opinion. Perhaps that actually reflects more on the quality of the sales approach – because after all, if it was good, surely the sales person would have the recipient eating out of their hand.
I am a believer that everyone should be taught to sell and that if you weren’t lucky enough to be taught sales skills as a child, it is something you should spend time learning now and teach your team.
Why? Because we sell and influence every time we interact with someone personally and professionally. Whether we are finding a life partner, influencing a new landlord, a real estate agent to find your dream home, encouraging the bus driver to stop for you or the sales assistant to find the size you need.
Or whether professionally you are influencing someone’s decision in the workforce, delegating to a team, going for that new job, negotiating a payrise or encouraging that customer to believe you are the best person to service them.
Selling is everywhere in your day and Sales is too important to be left to the sales people in your company. Everyone should learn to sell.
After running my own business and feeding the new business pipeline consistently for 22 years, I think I have a few lessons to pass on about sales. I’ve had to learn to influence prospects to work with me, sell terms to suppliers, encourage customers to come back again and again and attract people to join and stay on my team. In that time, of course I have lost, won and drawn.
Good sales process and sales success is motivating and exciting. Sales are celebrated in companies when things are good. Businesses expand. But when sales are down, the entire company soon hears about it and is influenced as a result. From job losses, to perk cuts, to wage freezes – sales influences everyone’s present and future.
So what are some immediate things you can do to ensure everyone is on side, and understands and drives sales:
- Firstly, make it clear that if selling stops the business falls over. So the sales role is really important
- Make it personal, if people don’t take time to sell themselves within their environment others could take their promotion
- Show people why sales is important to your business and what could happen if sales fall over for the business and for them
- Get everyone on side to ensure sales are driven as best they can
- Teach them the basics of empathy, rapport and relationship building
- Plus teach the basics of Sales 101 – the ability to question and listen to what people really want
- People think selling is talking but actually show them it is about listening. Great sales people as well as great customer service people and great leaders are usually great listeners
Ensure your intro to selling in your company starts right from the beginning, first day, first lesson. It always amazes me when our new interns arrive fresh from university that the first thing we teach them is the basics of selling. How to look someone in the eye, smile, appropriately greet, be genuine, speak appropriately on the phone and sell their capabilities and interest to the people around them on team, to ensure they get the most out of their intern experience.
It’s why I am passionate about teaching my team how to sell for their own good and for my company. And why you need to get started, learning and teaching the understanding of sales in your business.
‘’Remember, if they like you, and they believe you and they trust you, and they have the confidence in you …then they may buy from you’’ – Jeffrey Gitomer, Little Red Book of Selling.
About the author:
Sharon Williams is a pioneer in the Australian marketing and PR industry. She is a CEO, Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor. Under Sharon’s leadership and entrepreneurial flair, Taurus is now recognised as one of Australia’s highest profile agencies, offering unparalleled levels of service to global corporations including Advance, UTS:INSEARCH, Appster, Napoleon Perdis and Clean Up Australia.