Many people who work as sales professionals love what they do. They get up in the morning ready to take on the day and build their company’s bottom line through their interactions with customers. Talk to a few sales pros and they’ll tell you that they thrive on the pace, the challenge, the excitement of the process, and the thrill of the close, watching with satisfaction as the customer signs his or her name in ink on the contract.
On the other hand, there are those who cringe at even the mention of selling. In some cases, they’re introverts, more comfortable with accomplishing tasks than initiating conversations with customers and clients. Maybe they can write code, design logos or build the most beautiful cabinets you’ve ever seen, but the thought of having to sell is unappealing.
But here’s the thing: many executives, entrepreneurs, company founders, and others in top leadership positions say that most successful people are selling in some form or other each day. The creative director or designer is selling concepts. The accountant in the cubicle across the hall is selling advice to his boss. The engineer who puts together schematics for a project has to sell her recommendations regarding why this plan works for the project.
When you think about it, selling is mostly just persuasive communication.
Everyone communicates all the time. It’s a skill that can be learned, developed, refined, and leveraged for business success. And make no mistake, it is a skill one needs to be successful.
George Scorsis, executive chairman at WeedMD, a medically focused, federally licensed company in Toronto that produces and provides cannabis to insured patients with coverage under their benefit, has enjoyed many years of success as a leader, first in the energy drink sector, then in the medical cannabis industries.
He credits part of his success as a business leader to his ability to sell, whether it’s ideas to investors, deals to fellow executives, marketing plans to managers, and other initiatives in which he’s involved on a daily basis. His sales savvy has been instrumental in building solid track records in his industries.
“The fact is, you don’t have a business if there’s nothing to sell. Especially in this age of hypercompetition, new entrepreneurs need to learn how to be tenacious sales people so that they can stand out from their counterparts,” explains George Scorsis.
Learning the art of the sale has further benefits, according to Scorsis.
“Sales makes you a networking guru. The more people you can interact with and build relationships with, the more of an advantage you will have.”
It’s a fact of business life.
To be successful, you must develop excellent sales skills. According to Max Altschuler of SalesHacker.com, sales skills are “the single most necessary element for success. To understand why, he says, “you need to know that sales is about much more than winning over customers. It’s about engaging with people to learn about their goals and aspirations, and show them how what you’re offering can help. Sales is in everything you do, and every decision you make.”
“Selling is an essential skill every entrepreneur must master,” writes Carla Young at americanexpress.com. “Think about it: Starting from day one in your business, you’re selling. Whether it’s pitching your idea to potential investors or showcasing your latest innovation to prospects, the success of your business depends on your ability to sell.”
So, what sales skills should you learn?
Young believes that basic human psychology comes into play here.
“First and foremost,” she writes, “learn what motivates people. Take as an example the ambitious manager trying to work his way up the corporate ladder; he wants to appear smart and capable to his boss. Help him do that and you have a customer for life.”
A good first step in developing your sales skills is developing confidence. You’re starting or running a company. This implies that you know your business inside and out, including whom your customers are and what it will take to make money. That knowledge alone provides you with the confidence of being able to convey to others who you are, what your business does and what makes it distinctive.
But what if you tend to be a quiet or shy person? “Entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out, can get nervous,” writes marketing professional Mike Monroe. “But nervousness is different from fear, and no successful businessperson is fearful. Even with sweaty palms and shaky knees, you still need to hold a solid smile, make eye contact, and project confidence during your sales.”
In other words, realize that the ability to sell is going to be one of your strongest and most powerful personal assets as your start and grow your business. As George Scorsis says, it’s a necessary skill to have. Take the time to develop your sales skills, then use them as part of your tool kit to build a great company.