Does going to a car dealership and being accosted by a guy who starts showing you every feature on a car that you don't want make your heart sing? Do you wait, with baited breath by the phone in hopes of a call from a telemarketer? I know, how about when your door bell rings and you're greeted by a religious zealot pedaling her ideology, that's got to be a rush. No, not for you? Well, you are not alone. Nobody and I mean nobody likes to be sold. So, if universally, we all hate to be sold, then why do our organizations have sales teams? For that matter, why is there even a sales profession? It just seems counterintuitive.
Do you wait, with baited breath by the phone in hopes of a call from a telemarketer?
I don't think our disdain for being sold is new to the human experience, I just think technological advances have made the profession no longer useful. You see, before the information age and the birth of a knowledge-based economy, sales was a function that served a purpose. There was a need for information transference. Back in the olden days, you would walk on to a car lot to go look at a car you saw on the road or in a 60 second commercial. As much as you might have disliked the process, you needed a sales person to explain the features and benefits of the vehicle. You wanted to look at the engine and check out the interior. Of course, you also had to find out how much it would cost. Today, you see a car on the road, and at the stoplight, you pull out your smart phone and google it. If it looks cool you stop at Starbucks, get on Wifi and 20 minutes later, you know more than the guy on the lot. Not only the specs but, you have taken a 360-degree virtual tour of the interior, you are aware of every available option and color and you even know what a fair price is in your area. Now, you just dread the thought of having to listen to that guy at the dealership prattle on.
If it looks, cool you stop at Starbucks, get on Wifi and 20 minutes later, you know more than the guy on the lot.
We need a new word for "Sales", and it needs to be accompanied by a different mindset. Today's "Sales" professionals don't sell. Their roles are far more complex. They're matchmakers and farmers; creatives and strategists. They are evangelists and champions. They serve as matchmakers connecting the customer's needs and wants with the best available solution. As farmers, they are cultivating deep and mutually beneficial relationships. They are creatives, searching for a better and more impactful way to tell their story. They need to think strategically, working to solve complex challenges. They are evangelists, touting their company, brand and products, and they are champions, advocating with passion for their customers.
Their roles are far more complex. They're matchmakers and farmers; creatives and strategists. They are evangelists and champions.
Calling these professionals "Sales" people misrepresents the function that they perform, and allowing them to think of themselves as such, diminishes the impact they can have on their organization. These are people skilled in the art of human communication. Their job is not to push and persuade. Their job is to create awareness, to listen, and to lead their customer to a win-win solution.
These are people skilled in the art of human communication. Their job is not to push and persuade.
Let's come up with a new word for "Sales" One that does justice to what it means to be in this new complex role, and while we are at it, let's do away with old view of sales. Wouldn't it be nice to buy a car, just like you order something from Amazon. How about never having dinner interrupted by a telemarketer again. Doesn't that sound nice? As for that religious zealot; here is what I will do, if I find myself in search of a new spiritual home, I will Google some options and then seek them out if it looks like a good fit. That will save everyone some time.
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I serve as a thinking partner, providing clients with the clarity, focus, and tools they need to make good people and product decisions. The process takes time and requires commitment, and that only allows me to work with a few clients. But, those clients build lasting relationships with their customers, develop leaders who make others feel heard, cared for, valued and respected, and most importantly grow. -- Elliot Begoun
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