Have you ever thought about how sales have helped you accomplish your goals? Do you know the number one reason businesses fail, or what skills will ensure your position in the marketplace? Knowing how to sell will help you get your way in life. Stop thinking of selling as a job -- selling is a way of life! Once you understand that notion, it will become apparent how we use sales each and every single day.
I was not born a salesperson. I was born a baby just like you. The dictionary defines sales as, "the action of persuading or influencing another to a course of action or to the acceptance of something," and element as, "an entity that satisfies all the conditions of belonging to a given set."
Sales is no different than any other skill, and you must know these four elements before you can succeed with it:
1. Selling Is a Prerequisite for Life
Selling impacts every person on this planet. Your ability or inability to sell, persuade, negotiate and convince others will affect every area of your life and will determine how well you survive. No matter what your title or position is in life, or what your role is in a company or on a team, you will at some point have to convince others of something.
Every person on this planet uses selling every day. No one is excluded. Selling is not just a job or a career; selling is essential to the survival and wellbeing of every living individual. Your ability to do well in life depends on your ability to sell others on the things in which you believe! You need to know how to negotiate and how to get agreement from others. The ability to get others to like you, work with you and to want to please you determines how well you will survive.
2. The Commission
Speaking of commissions: Every time you get your way, you've just been paid a commission. Not all payments are monetary. Some of the greatest achievements I've had in my life had nothing to do with money. Recognition for a job well done is a commission. A raise or a promotion at work is a commission. Gaining new friends is an incredible commission. Getting votes for a project you're pushing forward is a commission.
Those who find the right partner, take care of him or her, continue to create the relationship and keep it growing earn true love, the ultimate commission. There's no guarantee that a relationship will get you love. First, you've got to persuade the person to take an interest in you. Then you have to find out what they want and what makes them happy. Then you have to produce it and keep producing it. But somewhere along the line, you have to sell the other person on the idea that you're the one that he or she can trust to create a life with. If you succeed and exceed the person's expectations, you will get the commission of love.
3. Beware of False Data
The subject of selling, like any other subject, is full of false information that has been perpetuated over the years. This false data may be partly responsible for the poor impression of this profession and very needed life-skill. "False data" is information that isn't factual but is accepted as truth and passed along. The whole subject of money is full of false data, most of which is passed on by people who give advice on money, but don't have any themselves.
When I was starting my first business, almost everyone told me how difficult it was going to be, how much money it would take, how risky it was and how few businesses make it. None of these people had ever actually started a business themselves, but they had plenty of advice for me. You see, this is data that disregards all the successful stories of people like me who started their own business. I later started another company that required me to take on a partner. Multiple people suggested to me that most partnerships don't work out. Well, I can only tell you that while partnerships may be difficult, this business would have been impossible for me to operate without a partner. By the way, that particular partnership, which we closed on with a handshake, has lasted for almost fifteen years.
People tend to form opinions and give advice and pass on myths when they don't actually have any personal experience. Much of the data they pass along hasn't been fully inspected for truth even though it's been passed on as truth.
Most of the perceptions people have regarding sales are very rarely based in reality. Certainly any negative images you might have had about salespeople are based on the past -- which would suggest that they're not particularly relevant to the present. If I'm talking about selling, persuading, and negotiating, you might get an image of a past experience or something you were told about salespeople that would take you out of the present conversation. You would be relying on some past decision, advice or opinion for your information. All images based on the past have very little value in the present and definitely no value in creating a future.
4. Selling -- Critical to Survival
Regardless of your preconceived opinions, ideas, or evaluations regarding sales and salespeople, you need to fully adopt the idea that you're going to have to sell no matter what your position or job is in life. Whether you're rich or poor, male or female, on salary or on commission, you're always selling something to someone in order to advance. There is no exception to this rule and no way to escape it. That doesn't mean that you have to start wearing polyester slacks, white patent leather shoes and talk fast to pressure people to do what you want them to.
The skill of sales is so critical to a person's survival that I don't understand why it is not required study at school. The fact that it isn't taught in school, that it isn't required, or even offered, only further indicates the immense value of those who do learn this skill. It's my observation that the most important skills needed in life aren't taught in school. I spent seventeen years getting a formal education, and I can tell you that I have learned more from seminars, audio programs, books, and talking with other successful businesspeople at conferences than I learned in all my formal education. No successful businessperson would exclude basic selling, persuasion, and negotiation skills from a list of those things that helped him or her along the way.
A person's ability to persuade another is the only thing that will ultimately ensure a position in the marketplace. Academic records, grades, and résumés won't guarantee you a promotion or advancement in life, but the ability to sell will. All students should be required to learn basic persuasion skills, basic negotiating, and basic closing techniques, as these are fundamental to life. No other set of skills will better determine the likelihood of a person getting a job--much less being a success in life -- than the ability to persuade, negotiate successfully, and convince others to act.
Whether you're selling your own products, those of an employer or don't yet call yourself a salesperson, you should be treating everything as a sale. I break these four elements down and more in my Axiom Gold Award winning sales book, Sell or Be Sold, going over the techniques and approaches necessary to master the art of selling in any avenue. I also talk about how to handle rejection, turn around negative situations, shorten sales cycles, and guarantee yourself greatness.