You don’t need to pretend to be something else
I find it highly amusing why anyone who needs to generate money into their business would say they aren’t in sales. I’ve been selling face to face since I was 16 and quite frankly I am good at it. So why would I not admit to being amazing at sales?
I come from a background of successful sales people, with the exception of my sister (a professor at an English University), one could say it is in the blood. From founding directors of Royal Liver Assurance Liverpool, to solo entrepreneurs my family have pretty much earned their fortune by being more than a little bit good at selling.
My mother is always proud about our family’s sales achievements so why are we in the minority. Why are there very few business people who actually say that they are in sales? Why do many small business owners fear asking a customer for the business, when that is what they need to be doing?
I also often wonder why many people, obviously tasked with the job of selling, resist referring to themselves as being in sales. They don’t seem to have a problem saying that they do marketing, but never admit to being amazing at sales.
Definition of a sales person
Firstly, what is selling?
“The chain of commerce where a buyer exchanges cash for a seller’s goods or services, or the activity of trying to bring this about”.
Therefore anyone who is reasonably involved in any part of this process should consider themselves “in sales”. From a dedicated sales person through to a business owner who has to promote his or her own services, selling is essential to achieving financial success in their business.
So if that definition is correct then I reckon there are probably a substantial number of people who are “in sales”, but still don’t like to use the title. Some I come across include:
- Business Development Executive
- Managing Director
- Marketing Manager
- Customer Service Agent
- Receptionist even (maybe stretching it with receptionist, but you get my point)
Are they all scared to say that they are in sales?
Why not put the word sales in the title and make it clear that they are responsible for delighting their customers as well as driving money into their business? Let’s face it, at the end of the day that is what they are responsible for doing.
What about SME’s?
Another group of people belonging to the “I’m not in the sales club” are those working in a small business. Many have to, and indeed do sell face to face, but use their “club membership” as a get out clause for saying they are “in sales”. But sell they must, otherwise they won’t generate the sales their business needs to survive.
Apparently there is a marketing guru somewhere who stated that if you do your marketing right then you don’t need to sell. In my opinion if you think you are making money from marketing then you are mistaken. The verb “to market” is defined as “to advertise or promote”. Whereas “to sell” is about the exchange of money for goods or services. So how can you make money from marketing?
[easy-tweet tweet=”To make money from marketing then surely you must be selling? – Susan Marot” user=”@SucceedatSellin”]
So could it be because those “in sales” are too often perceived as being pushy and loud?
Pushy sales people
In my opinion being pushy and loud could also translate as being a focused and effective communicator. Appearing “too salesy” comes from people in sales doing the job badly. It is the bad sales person who gives all of us great sales people a bad name. This could be why those responsible for selling in a business often choose a title that doesn’t have sales in it in order to distance themselves from the pushy sales rep, such as Business Development Manager or something similar.
Exceptions to the rule
Having said that there are exceptions to every rule and having the right “non-salesy” title can help to win business. This was especially true when I first started selling to the public sector.
Not too many years ago decision makers in the public sector were very scared of sales people. When I first started selling in this sector I was told to tone down my approach, and my title was changed to Business Development Director. This was to demonstrate that I was responsible for my company’s growth and the word director gave me the status that equaled those of the decision maker. Appearing not “too salesy” certainly helped me to be a success selling to the public sector.
Times are changing
However we live in a tough world these days and companies of all shapes and sizes are focusing increasingly on their sales performance. So surely making it clear who within a business is responsible for sales, is of paramount importance.
Therefore my challenge to companies who don’t have the word sales in any of their titles is to consider putting it in. Why not make it clearer to your clients who they need to approach in order to buy your products or services.
For 30 years my clients have always known who they need to speak to in order to place an order. So if you want to study education at the highest level, then go see my sister. She really is one of the best educationalists in the world.
However, if you are “in sales” then make it clear you are. Don’t hide behind a mask.
Trust me, your customers are watching and they want to know who to spend their money with. If you don’t tell them why you are amazing at sales, then your competitors certainly will!
If you need help to become more amazing at sales then contact me for a free 30 minute call to learn how you can become more successful at selling!