Sales has gotten a really bad rap in recent decades, and rightfully so, thanks to sleazy, lying car dealers and door-to-door vacuum salesmen. As a result, most employees break into a cold sweat any time they think about selling. They panic at the thought of making a cold call, of the pressure to convince somebody to do something.
But here’s the thing. Your team members only think they hate selling. The truth is, they simply don’t understand it.
Why People Think They Hate Sales
I am one of those rare people who likes sales quotas. In fact, I love them. When I worked in sales, I was always 230+ percent ahead of quota. I would kill it! But I’m a weird duck that way. The majority of the world’s population would hate having to meet a sales quota as part of their job.
It’s because sales quotas are at least a little bit about competition. It’s that feeling of pressure I mentioned earlier. Millennials especially have a distaste for competition – they prefer group work and group think. And with millennials poised to become the majority of the workforce next year, it’s no wonder it feels like your entire freaking team hates selling. But they don’t hate sales – they hate the competition of sales quotas.
What Selling Actually Means
Selling, in general, isn’t about competition and meeting deadlines. Selling, to me, is about nothing more than influence. And most people love influencing other people. This means your team loves selling (they just don’t know it yet).
Ask the super socially awkward introverted engineer who’s sitting down the row from you right now. He’ll tell you he hates to sell. He’ll probably tell you he would never be caught going door-to-door selling something.
But ask that same introverted engineer – or better yet disagree with him – about a piece of technology he uses for work. Like it or not, he’s about to become a door-to-door salesman. He will try everything he can to convince you he is right or that you should view this piece of technology from his point of view. He is trying to influence you to believe what he believes.
That is selling, and people do it every day.
What is sales? Trying to convince an Android developer to invest in an iPhone.
Flipping the Sales Switch
The reality is, if your team understands what selling is at its core, and if they understand how people buy, they won’t hate sales any more. Because if selling is about influence, the pressure shouldn’t ever be on the salesperson. It’s on the customer.
It all comes down to asking questions and then actively listening. As long as you are the one asking questions, you have the power. When you ask a question, the pressure is then put on the person who needs to provide an answer.
If you want to teach your employees about the kind of selling that doesn’t cause cold sweats, start encouraging your team members to use the best influencing tool they have: questions. Teach them to ask your customers about their current situation and their problems and their pains. Because there’s no pressure in simply asking a question, listening to the customer’s motivation, and showing them how you can help solve their problem.
Give it a try. Flip the sales switch. Turn off the competition and brighten the room with influence.
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