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Salespeople Are Becoming More Valuable

Today, Andy points us to this idea.

And my inbox today contains an email that says, “I am one of four salesmen in an organization that hates the thought that we might come close to coming across as ‘salesy.’ As a result of these good intentions, we neutered the sales-team to a passive, customer-service oriented team that has seen no revenue growth in two years.”

No one wants to sell. No one wants to be a salesman. Or a saleswoman. Everyone is frightened to death of being perceived as “salesy.” (The word “salesy” isn’t even a real word. I checked.) No one wants to ask anyone for anything, least of all a commitment to buy.

Neutered. Passive. Conflict averse. Order-takers. Flat lines.

What Selling Is Not

I might know three salespeople with the knowledge, experience, and chops to successfully pull off a hard sell. And there is a reason why this skill set is now so rare: it is unnecessary and it hasn’t been effective for decades.

Selling doesn’t require that you manipulate others. It doesn’t require that you ask anybody to buy anything that doesn’t benefit them. Selling doesn’t require pressure tactics or closing techniques. It does requires influence, but only the influence that comes from being known and being known as someone who can be counted on to create value.

What Selling Is

Selling is helping someone achieve an outcome that they cannot easily obtain without you.

Selling is helping someone come to the decision to buy by helping them with your experience, your ideas, and your recommendations.

Selling is helping someone through their decision-making process.

All of these ideas represent one part of selling, the collaborative part. But selling also comes with conflict.

Selling is asking people to make a series of commitments that help both of you to come to a good decision. People that you can—and should help—sometimes resist making these commitments.

Selling is asking people to make certain investments. Many of the people you can help will resist making the necessary investments, and some will make no decision because they are afraid.

You don’t have to make people uncomfortable or trick them into making commitments. But you do have to gain those commitments. And you may have to make them uncomfortable with the status quo. You don’t have to “separate people from their wallets.” In fact, doing so will only make you something less than a salesperson. But you do have to help them spend enough money to get what they really need.

Your intentions matter most of all. If you are self-oriented, you will make selling more difficult than it has to be, and you won’t be as successful as you might be otherwise.

But if you are willing to be a salesperson, if you are willing to call yourself a salesperson, if you are willing to embrace and wear that mantle, if you are willing to acquire the chops necessary to help other people get an outcome they can’t get without you, and if your intentions are good, you are becoming more valuable by the day.

Your skill set is growing more rare. But your willingness to be what you are is becoming something so rare as to be considered precious.


Why do some people resist the idea of selling?

Why do some people have trouble calling themselves a salesperson?

What do salespeople really do?

Why do your intentions matter?

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  • Larry Edwards

    If sales people are becoming more valuable today, then why don’t customers answer their phone when a sales person calls them and why don’t they return voice messages or emails?
    This in my opinion is the most difficult thing about sales these days.
    I sold for Nationwide Papers for 19 years. We listed the top 10 things customers valued most and we conducted customer surveys to see how they ranked in order of importance to our customers. The first year we conducted this survey, sales people were ranked as number 1 and customer service was ranked number 5. Five years later we conducted the same survey and discovered customer service people were ranked number 1 and sales people were ranked number 5.
    The kids who have been sitting in front of computers since age 3 are now entering the work force. This generation does not like sales people. All they want is to find out information fast about a company and the products they sell and they in most cases they buy from who is the cheapest. This generation prefers to communicate by text messages or emails. They don’t even call each other very often. All they want is to get their information quickly and be on their way. They are no longer interested in developing business relationships by meeting with sales people or talking to them on the phone.
    I am not trying to be negative. This is the reality of doing business today whether you like it or not.