I never liked sales when I was young. I had this notion that you’re just forced to sell things (that sometimes you don’t believe in) to people. Also, I felt a loss of dignity every time I “sell” things to people because I’m using my genuine self just to..sell. URGH. But now that I’m wiser, I understand (and give importance) to why sales is important (I still don’t full like it, but I understand how it works in the world). It’s not about learning the latest lingo in order to sell hard goods. Sales is much deeper than that. It is also not about just the promotion of goods and services. I’ll tell you what I mean. Mind you I’m coming from a product / development background.
You’re Constantly Selling…Ideas
Yes it’s true. You may not be selling used cars but every damn day, you’re selling. It’s called Ideas. When you were a kid you were selling the idea that you are worthy and you will make good use of the allowance your parents will give you. When you were a teen, you were selling the idea to your potential partner that you are reliable and stable individual and that you guys should be together. Even up until now you’re asking for buy-ins for ideas at work; some proposals, events, promotions or convincing your employer to let you work remotely.
Here’s a random, funny, and entertaining example of selling a personality, a performance, and a specific delivery, in order to get the results you want from the audience 🙂
You see, sales at its core is about having a rapport with someone and influencing them to “buy-in” to your idea. It could be an idea (e.g.: politicians convincing people to vote for them) or an action (e.g.: buy this thing), or even simply selling an idea/philosophy/mindset (e.g.: think Mal in the movie Inception).
It actually amazes me because it’s so different from coding where basically everything just “does everything as you say”. In sales there is a relationship. You are dealing with people. Each person is different and so you have to understand them (which is the next part), have creative ideas on how to approach, introduce, and talk about an idea. In a way it’s like coding: instead of coding for the computer to do something, it’s “doing” things in order for humans to do something.
With my experience, it’s like when I convince work that a certain approach is better than another when it comes to solving a problem. It can be as simple as selling the idea to your friend that a road trip to Montréal would be fun and worth it! Also, when you’re networking or simply just meeting people; you constantly sell the idea that you’re fun to be with, worth their while to just have a talk, or if it’s work-related, you’re the person they’re looking for.
You Have to Understand People (In Order to Sell)
As I mentioned, you have to know the person/group you’re dealing with, your situation, their situation, their wants and needs, what makes them tick, and ultimately the common ground that will lead to your desired result. Unlike coding, you can’t just type away and “do this!”. Humans can either say Yes or No. What makes it even more difficult, sometimes they can say “Uhhh, maybe?”. It’s never clear cut. You don’t just read a documentation online and then “alright, I know how to get the result we want”. It’s a good thing though. That’s what free will and sentience bring you.
One example I have is when I was still working at Second Cup (a café in Canada). As a barista, my awesome boss actually taught me how to be better at selling. Instead of just randomly pushing an item randomly to someone, you’d want to converse and ask around first (in conversation) their situation:
- did they just finish an activity (maybe they’re hungry, suggest a sandwich)
- are they celebrating something (suggest a cake)
- are they on a date (suggest a delectable drink or to share a dessert)
So by understanding them, everybody wins: you get to cater to their needs and offer a better experience and provide better value, and you get to accomplish your goal (which is to sell an item efficiently in this scenario).
You Learn How to Convey Yourself and/or Your Message Better
Another important concept is that it matters how you package yourself and/or your message.
In terms of “packaging yourself”, there’s a reason why lawyers, world leaders, or doctors (to name a few) are always in suits. It sounds judgemental but that’s the reality. Think of it this way, if you’re requiring important medical procedures or legal representation, if there were two equally-skilled individuals in front of you, would you pick the guy in shorts or the guy(or girl) in a suit? It’s just human nature. When faced with important situations, you usually don’t have the luxury of time to assess each and every aspect and that you need to make quick decisions. It’s not just about fashion too, it can be about hygiene, posture or even personality.
When it comes to your message, you always hear the saying:
“It’s not about what you said. It’s how you said it.”-someone in a relationship, lel
It’s true. If someone’s underperforming at work, you don’t just say: “Fuck man, fix your shit *then throw paper at their face*. You get to unload but you will get not the result you want (not to mention it’s unprofessional). Instead you can be creative, supportive, and motivating by saying “Listen, you can improve this by doing this and this and this”. Again selling is not just about work and the workplace. People apply these in real life. That is why “influencers” curate their image and message to see you an idea/lifestyle/product.
This is why the Trudeau family easily connects with everyone, par exemple. Having tact helps. It shows your intelligence and upbringing. In that example, Pierre and Justin are good at it; look at them, it’s easy for them to sell any idea and to get everyone/Canada’s buy-in.
(I’m just talking about their public-speaking skills. Chill, keyboard warriors)
Sorry, my good personal example is…personal lol. But you get my point yea?
So with those points I hope you see how and why sales is important. I think this is common knowledge for people around my age but if you still haven’t realized it yet, it’s beneficial to know as early as possible so you can learn and leverage this skill asap as well. This way you can go farther with your goals and interpersonal relationships!