Everyone is a salesperson. You likely have heard this before. But today I want to limit this to some roles that don’t see themselves as salespeople but are. You are selling. You may not admit it but you are.
“But I’m a Programs Officer (or, do fundraising) with an NGO”. You are selling. “I’m a student doing research.” You are selling. “I’m in charge of programs at a University.” Yup! You too are selling. If you need to go convince a governor about helping him adopt innovative ways to empower his people, you are selling. So too, if you seek well-wishers to fund your social projects. If you will need to convince a panel of Professors to ‘pass’ your thesis you are selling. So too, if the university requires you to enrol students (school going or businessmen, doesn’t matter) you are selling. If you interact with people and have to convince them that what you have is for their benefit, you, my friend, are selling.
Everyone is selling. Even botanists
Once I had a team of botanists in my class. Their business cards read, ‘Consultant’. Their job was to visit flower farms and introduce the owners’ into a very unique kind of organic farming. Their type of organic farming used insects; or, more accurately, as they advised, beneficial insects. These were insects which, by nature, ate pests without tampering with the rose itself! And when they had eaten all the pests, they then proceeded to cannibalize themselves to non-existence! Leaving a squeaky clean rose.
Despite what was obviously a jaw dropping miracle product, it wasn’t moving. It was even more frustrating that it still wasn’t bought even after a demo. And why? The Consultants were presenting, not selling. In fact the word ‘sell’ diminished their status, in their eyes. “We are consultants” they indignantly reminded me. But the buyer (farm manager) despite the demo still needed convincing how his business (farm) would benefit. So, to their consultant vocabulary they added sales terms like increased efficiency, fetch premium price in European market, reduced costs of production, and so on By and by, we got round to them adopting a shift in mind-set and adopting selling techniques. Everyone is salesperson. Even scientist like them, they grudgingly agreed.
Is every job a sales job? Is everyone a salesperson?
To be fair, it is understandable why non-sales people would abhor any association with ‘selling’. Over decades, selling has gained notoriety as something you do to someone not with someone. And many sellers themselves have tarnished the profession, resorting to underhand tactics to get the sale. However, this is something to be understood, not feared. Understanding, let’s the accountant, engineer, consultant, architect, plumber and programs officer, embrace the fact that everyone is a salesperson. Even them.
As such, they adopt selling skills that help them grow their businesses or move their products while retaining their non-sales title. They move from telling (like the consultants in the example above) to showing. Like an auditor, while going through a client’s books of accounts, sees a problem which he has a solution too and shows the client what he can do to alleviate “this recurring cash flow problem.”
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