I resisted selling. So, the first training I chose, that wasn’t required, was about acquisition. Back in 2003. I know now it wasn’t my way of doing sales at all, but as a professional, who had nothing to do with actual sales, I was somehow interested in the topic.
When I founded procdm, the first program I invested in was about marketing and sales. This program, and the things it taught and provided resonated with me much more. But it still kept feeling like I needed to sell myself. Which, as I am writing this here, it makes me laugh now. I’m not even interested in buying me myself! So, this feeling is kind of ackward. Yet, until today I hear professionals struggling with this ‘sales’ thing too.
And even though you might not have a sales profession, as a professional in whatever service organization you operate, you do need to sell; to achieve the results you believe in. You do need to sell your ideas, plans and results to your colleagues, your principals and the people affected by your work. To get the resources and signatures you need to progress your work. And yes, at birthday parties, being able to ‘sell’ what you believe in also makes your answer to the question ‘What do you do?’ a lot easier and interesting.
What stood in my way to appreciate selling? And what could be standing in your way too?
The fact that I didn’t realize that, while being in service, it’s not about me, neither about the actual things I do. That’s not what people want or look for. It’s about the opportunities they could get, the opening, the new perspective and the advanced horizon for my conversation partners. In fact, what I do need to sell are my ideas. And selling my ideas, plans and results, that’s not that difficult. I can do that. In fact, I love to do that!
I didn’t see the biggest problem I had with sales was that I had gotten in my own way to open, sell and close a deal. The fear of not being good enough or what people might think. Completely off road, because that’s not what sales is about at all. It’s not about you. So, learn to get out of your own way (fast).
And last but not least, although I collected a load of marketing & sales knowledge over the years, I didn’t have a role model I’ve truly resonated with.
Since, I love selling. Because selling for me is ‘seeing’ people, listening to people beyond myself, and do the logical next action step accordingly. In the order I wrote it here. Just like that.
3 tips for professionals to sell their ideas, plans and results:
TIP #1: ‘See’ people. See what they are struggling with. See they show up. See what they want. See they give their best.
TIP #2: Listen to people. Listen beyond yourself. No assumptions, no hidden (sales) agenda. Listen beyond yourself until you understand.
TIP #3: Make them an offer or not. Just what suits the situation best now you understand. In any case, do help them to decide what they can get done today for the results they want to achieve.
I believe professionals can learn to sell ideas, plans and results to realize what they believe in. And I do believe this is a skill you really need to master to get the space to realize what you believe in. Whether this space is called support, capacity, money, approval, connections, time or... Even from behind your desk, you can sell your ideas, documents and data to advance yourself, the organization, your projects and the people you do it for.
And… if I just sold you my idea of ‘professionals need to master sales skills’, you can help me to see with a like or other action.
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