I believe most of us have the ability to sell.
When we go to school,
we find ways for our friends to play with us,
for teachers to give high marks.
At home, we try to convince our parents to let us go out at night,
drive a car, or buy a new stereo.
We are always trying to convince people,
which is a necessary ability of a salesperson.
We have unconsciously used many aspects of selling:
the power of persuasion,
the art of negotiation and the ultimate youth tactic
Never accept the answer “NO”.
When we graduated,
we learned how to choose the posture to get w
hat we want,
how to promote and present ourselves to employers.
Then gradually, we forget how to say hello.
I question my own selling abilities.
Suddenly, the techniques we use throughout our lives become alien
and mysterious, as if we had to relearn the techniques.
However, the art of selling is the conscious practice of
what we already know
and may have done it
for most of our lives.
The point is that when we enter the real world of business,
a new element emerges.
For the first time our powers of persuasion
and selling ability are measured.
It can make us lose confidence,
and so we react by telling ourselves we can’t sell,
we don’t know how to sell,
or we don’t want to sell.
We then use these mental obstacles to justify the fact
that we are incompetent to sell.
But the real problems of selling have nothing to do with competence
but with how we perceive the selling process.
Some people find selling low,
others feel it is rude,
and most of us fear rejection.
Sales don’t matter
One of the biggest problems people have is that selling seems
less important today than it was 20 years ago.
In the past, the fastest way to get ahead was through sales.
Today, selling is considered one of the secondary business talents.
People often think
that only being a manager can help you advance quickly.
This view is partly true,
but it is a dangerous fallacy to suggest
that management talent doesn’t need sales skills.
I have never met a president or senior director of a large company
who is not proud of his powers of persuasion,
or in other words, of his salesmanship.
They don’t teach sales at Harvard Business School.
Business schools admit that their primary purpose is to produce managers,
thus underestimating the fact that without sales there is nothing to manage.
This has not been properly perceived by the majority of MBAs.
They aspire to be in charge of a company and will find deals,
relationship development skills,
or the art of selling, to be unworthy of them.
There have been many MBA holders working in our company
and I find the biggest limitation in their business knowledge
is their ability to sell.
Fortunately, most of them have learned sales skills through practical experience.
But I have seen many MBAs in other companies refuse to learn
and believe that sales knowledge is not a necessary quality for managers.
This is sometimes called “lack of reality”
but I think it is more appropriate to call it “ignorance”.
Recently, an article in the New York Times about Morgan Stanley,
an aristocratic investment bank
that accepts only the best MBA graduates,
made me feel very happy.
Morgan Stanley beat out 12 other companies
to manage the Truckers Union’s $4.7 billion Retirement Fund.
Here is the article in the newspaper:
At a meeting of the Trucking Representative Council,
part of the meeting was spent looking at the background of Morgan employees,
especially they were very interested in those from low backgrounds.
A senior official said that thanks to the scholarship he graduated from university.
Another official said he joined the Marines shortly
after graduating from high school.
The third officer told the representatives sitting across from him
that he lived in a modest house,
the son of a railroad engineer.
who did not want to be named, said:
“This seems to be: ‘I know we have Morgan’s portrait on the wall,
but we’re really just normal guys.”
Anyone who could convince the truckers
that J. P. Morgan was a union employee knew the importance of selling.
Sales is intervention
Humans hate imposition, causing turbulence.
Have you ever found yourself nodding in agreement
to something with which you completely disagree?
Have you ever thought about returning your plate of overcooked beef,
and then changed your mind?
The idea of selling as intervention is not a problem
but a valuable asset.
All Sales Professionals
Every head has a sixth sense about this.
From the tone of the customer’s voice or from the atmosphere
at the place of transaction,
they can tell whether the situation or time is favorable or not.
They don’t want to impose
and they know that it’s not in their favor to do so.
They won’t go to great lengths
to get the deal without having a good relationship with the customer.
In practice, these methods don’t really work,
but 50 years ago, they were probably necessary
when the salesperson didn’t have a chance to see
or talk to the customer for six months.
Today, with modern communication,
the best option in sales is to choose the best time to go back and make a sale.
Effective selling goes hand in hand with timing, patience, perseverance
and sensitivity to the circumstances and people you’re dealing with.
The ability to perceive
when you are imposing a customer is a salesperson’s most important ability.
Trusting in your product also brings many benefits to you.
When I feel that the product I am selling is really useful to the customer,
I never feel that I am imposing.
Fear is a salesperson’s biggest problem:
fear of rejection, fear of failure.
Perhaps you have failed a lot in the sales process.
However, as the saying goes,
it is very normal to be rejected in a sale.
Rejection in a sale is not a personal matter,
but knowing this, we still feel uncomfortable when we are rejected.
I’ve always found that I would have acted better
if I hadn’t acted “in the know” about it.
Learning to accept rejection does not mean explaining it.
Take note of your true feelings and if they are frustrating,
confused or angry, review
and change them instead of pretending they don’t exist.
I have been rejected hundreds of times.
However, if I try and my product is valuable and still get rejected,
I will still be frustrated and angry.
Realizing that rejection isn’t personal doesn’t mean you’ll never get frustrated.
In fact, if you’re not upset,
it means you haven’t really tried.
Fear of failure is another aspect of sales.
Sales results are easy to see and no one can avoid it.
However, fear of failure always has hidden benefits
that almost no one realizes,
fear of failure is the biggest,
most positive motivator in business.
If you’re not afraid of failure,
it means you don’t really care about success.
Bjorn Borg is known to be cold on the court.
But he once told me that when it comes to decisive moments,
he always feels extremely stressed and afraid.
He often has to muster up his courage to be able to start a match.
The same was true of Arnold Palmer,
and it was this that made him even more famous.
His fear of failure was great because his desire to succeed was very high.