We Are ALL In Sales

When I ask the question of a large group, “Who here is in Sales?” I will get just a couple people raise their hands.  When I repeat the question, I will get a couple more people.

Then I ask, “What do the rest of you do then?”  The answers will be typical.  HR, Accounting, Marketing, etc.

Here is my response: “If you are in business, if you are in the public sector, if you work for an NGO or… if you collect any kind of paycheck, you are in Sales.  Everyone is in sales.”

When we think of ‘Sales,’ we often think of the greasy hair, gold-chained, slimy sales guy that Hollywood has portrayed for years through movies like Glengarry, Glen Ross.  To the point where people in business will work very hard at distancing themselves from ‘Sales.’

Sales is the oldest profession in the world.  Some of you may suggest that there is something else that is said to be older. However, I would suggest that a sales transaction had to be negotiated first.  Sales is in everyone’s DNA.  As a small child you learned how to negotiate with your parents to get a later bedtime, an ice-cream on Sunday afternoon, or a sleep over.  In school you negotiated with teachers over projects and assignments.  If you have a significant other in your life, there was a sale made there at some point.  The list goes on and on.

Everyone is in sales.  Each time someone asks you where you work and you reply with your pitch about the company, their products and services, you are selling.  Every time you listen to a problem and devise a solution, you are selling.

Here is my list of business related ‘must haves’ for everyone in the workplace:

  1. Love your products or services.  If you don’t, you are wasting your time and are probably not going to be happy.
  2. Love your company.  Same reason as above.
  3. Love your customers.  Customers pay our salaries.  If you do not take care of customers better than anyone else, someone else will take care of your customers for you.
  4. No trash talking. Ever.  Talking poorly about customers, fellow employees, or competitors only weakens your personal brand and your business.
  5. Solutions.  Selling – real selling – is not about the ‘flash’ and the ‘pitch.’  It is about understanding a customer’s problem and offering solutions to their pain.  Great business people talk about ideas with benefits and not products.
  6. Owning the problem.  Successful sales people are amongst the highest paid professionals in the world.  The ones that make the most money are the ones that take personal ownership of any problem a customer has.

If you already have the above list as a key part of your personal package, you will not only be hugely successful, you will be happy and fulfilled.  And, it all starts with an adjustment in your thinking; switching to the mindset that “Everyone is in sales.”

Bob Murray

Bob also holds Board positions with Russell Breweries, Element Four Technologies and the Growth Point Group as well as being an author and key note speaker. He brings a wealth of experience in business and leadership having worked in 12 countries around the world in the high tech and communications industries.