One of the greatest myths the educational system has helped to perpetuate is that you are in school so that you can get a good degree, get a good job, become good at it and avoid sleazy careers such as sales.
It is the reason why you will never learn anything about sales in school, which i believe is one of the most important skills for success in the real world.
The reality however is that we are all in sales now and I really mean everybody – graduates, doctors, scientists, lawyers, accountants, consultants etc. All must sell or they place a lid on how far they can advance their careers.
Even YOU are a product, a brand. People tend to hire or do business with people they like or buy into. And people like people who are able to convince or demonstrate the benefit of hiring them or doing business with them.
Do you have this great vision and you wish everybody can see and share in it? Or that project or process you think would improve the organization and nobody is seeing it the way you do at work?
People or your manager or colleagues will reject you if you are not able to convince them on the benefit of your idea or vision. And the rejection can be simply because you can’t sell. A scientist can fail to attract a grant simply because his speech or writing can’t convince the funding body on the benefit of sponsoring his research.
Got you! You never did avoid sales after all. At the same time, relax, to sell is human. This is one of the big lesson I’m learning from Daniel Pink.
Now let me explain 4 self-limiting beliefs that limit people’s ability to sell:
1. Selling is for losers
The highest paid people in any decent organization are sales people. You can have a great R&D department, develop the best products, employ all the tactics of operational effectiveness – six sigma, total quality management etc and it’s important. But can’t sell the product, then you are a loser.
Our economy runs on sales. All the gamut of activities that takes place in an organization can be considered successful only when it converts a prospect to a customer. Economies are measured by their buying power not just their producing power. Of what use are goods or service that are not sold. Nigeria as an emerging market is valued because a lot of selling can happen here.
Still thinking sales is for losers? The highest earning individual is the guy who makes the most sales because the company’s fortune depends on his results. Selling is big. Profit can only happen when there is a sale. The end point of strategy is to increase market share and what is that by the way if not increasing sales.
2. I will never be good at selling. I just don’t have it
Watch it! Your beliefs can create your truth. Sometimes, you are as good at something to the level you permit yourself to be. Selling like any other skill can be learnt and mastered and it’s not all smooth talk.
All successful people who achieve sales success or mastery in persuading others to an idea or cause started with little or no skill but they sure became good at it. How? By doing it. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you are right”, said Henry Ford.
Some are great by birth but most are great by choice. Success in sales is a set of skills and principles and can be learnt as long as you are willing to.
Selling is the only profession I know that will not fade away any time soon. However, the definition, the practice or the channels can change.
3. I don’t know how to get along with people
Being an extrovert can be helpful but your temperament doesn’t seal your destiny. Selling is not all smooth and fast talk as I mentioned earlier. You can easily be perceived as pushy and lacking sincerity. This can be a peril to your success in selling.
Real selling on the other hand is more about building relationships, listening to understand or anticipate what the customer wants or their problems. This can then be followed by showing them how the benefits or features of your products or services can meet such needs or solve their problems.
Do you need to be life of the party kind of person to do this? I don’t think so. Matter of fact, you can play to a quiet and reserved nature as it enables you to listen more. And listeners are always welcomed anywhere.
Real selling takes place when your customer’s needs match up with the benefits you can provide and when you are confident enough to ask them to buy when the former has been established. That’s the win-win situation you should always pursue.
4. I hate rejection
Honestly, if you do not have a positive mental attitude, succeeding in sales will be difficult. Selling is often considered a numbers game – the more people you approach, the likely the odds that someone will buy.
It’s not always true. Trying to persuade a thousand eskimos to buy ice is a futile effort. They simply don’t need it.
Taken, rejection is not easy on any of us but we must understand it is part of the selling game and life too. People won’t always buy into you or your products. Sometimes, it’s not about you so stop taking it personal. Instead, look for lessons you can find and move on.
You can’t succeed in any endeavor if you fear rejections. Failure is an event, not a person.
On the other hand, winners expect to win and when they don’t win, they keep expecting to win. It’s called the Law of Positive Self-expectancy. You usually get what you expect not what you want.
Setting low expectations is the coward’s way of handling rejection. Your subconscious mind knows when you are not expecting much. As a result, your efforts are weak and lacking enthusiasm.
Don’t be disappointed when you don’t close the sale. You created your luck because according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
As long as businesses are measured by revenues, profit or ROI, then we all must sell. As long as human advancement and relationships rest on the fine art of persuading others either for their own or our own interests or the larger interest, then we are all in sales.
Let’s have a conversation
Which of these self-limiting beliefs have you bought into about selling? How will you get rid of it? You can leave your comments below.