In the early stages of my career, I used to get offended when people told me that I was a good salesman! I used to think of Vinny working customers at his used car lot and didn’t really want to associate myself with that particular persona. Maybe these compliments were backhanded at times, and at other times, maybe I mistook even genuine compliments to be backhanded. But as my career progressed and as I moved towards leadership roles, I really discovered how valuable my sales skills were. These skills weren’t always exercised in the context of selling products directly (though that was a large part of it); often it was selling investors, advisors, mentors, and even family members on my vision. Once I realized how essential sales was to being an effective leader, I fully embraced this attribute and doubled down to become an even better salesman.
In the very first all-hands meeting for 2015, I announced to my team at 9Lenses that I will be honing my inner salesman every day, and so should every single employee at the company. I explained that from Product, to Customer Success, to Marketing, to Engineering, every member needs a healthy dose of salesmanship in his or her role.
When you really think about the statement, “every professional is a salesperson or needs to be a salesperson,” you’ll realize that it is truer in today’s business world than it ever has been. You might not even be in the sales or business development department of your company, but you can still be a skilled salesperson, and everyone of us actually has to be great at sales. Think about the explosion of content marketing or the way business deals are closed at never-before speeds. How do you really cut through the noise both as an individual and as a business? How do you stand out from the crowd and really close the deal – be it getting a blog post noticed, getting the job you always wanted, getting your CEO to believe in the blueprint you have developed for a new product feature, or signing on the dotted lines of a million dollar contract?
The Five Characters of Great Salespersons
- Fire in their bellies that makes them go after what they want! They are tenacious.
- True passion for what they do
- Know their value proposition really well. Know their elevator pitch and probably the elevator pitch for their elevator pitch!
- Are extremely perceptive of what other people feel
- Emanate an energy that is infectious
If you closely observe these sales people, they do not fall into the category of conventional “salesmen” who have a large network of connections or a bunch of textbook gimmicks up their sleeve to sell an offering. These are the people from whom we learn that to sustain success in sales, you need to be genuine and have infectious energy that makes people notice and interact with you.
Your business can have 20,000 employees or just 10 – the numbers don’t really matter. What matters is that your workforce needs to understand that each and every one of the employees is a brand ambassador for your business. And it is even more crucial for you as a business leader or entrepreneur to understand this, too. From the intern who spends summer break gaining work experience at your business to your C-Suite executives, every single member of your business is selling for you both directly and indirectly.
Tighten your company’s messaging; let every employee know your company’s elevator pitch, and most of all create a culture that keeps your employees engaged and happy! While it is true that you cannot keep every employee happy, show them that you are trying hard to make the workplace better for them. It is not just your sales department, but your entire workforce that is your biggest asset for selling your company’s brand and offerings.
We have all been in positions where we really need to sell! Attending job interviews, vying for a promotion, selling your Op-Ed to a publisher, or even trying to sell a bowl of salad to your child who is a picky eater – we sell every day. It’s time for every individual to get good at selling; and even more so in a professional environment where the landscape is changing rapidly. Yes, we still do have mammoth conglomerates, but we also have a never before number of startups, freelancers, and contractors..
As consultants, product engineers, designers, authors, or UX designers, you need to sell through your passion for your work. Show leadership and ownership at every step of the way. By embracing the five characteristics of a good salesperson, you will succeed at being your own boss and keep your phone ringing off the hook.
The only real way to get better at selling is to sell every day and be very conscious of the fact that you are indeed a salesperson! Just like I vowed to hone my inner salesman, I urge you all to do so as well in order to succeed in the extremely competitive marketplace. In conclusion, I would like to add that all the world’s a marketplace, and we are but salesmen and saleswomen! Go get it!
Edwin has authored 9Lenses Insight to Action:A Social Approach to Business Optimization and Snapshot9 What’s Your Picture?:Accelerate Your Business Performance. Click here to download the first chapter of 9Lenses Insight to Action for free!