There are so many misconceptions about selling. Justifiably so…
Most of us quickly conjure up an image of a used car salesman in plaid pants, pushing more vehicle than we can afford, as we wonder if he is pitching us a lemon.
We may also be reminded of the persistent telemarketer who gets us on the phone and will not take NO for an answer.
We have all been on the receiving end of these painful “selling” experiences. Many of us then come to the conclusion that we would NEVER “do” sales.
But, it just does not have to be this way.
You see, selling, when done right, is the highest paid profession (skill-set) on the planet. Selling simply connects a person’s need and/or want with a solution (product, service or idea).
Our 2 middle boys (Aaron and Ethan) are right in the thick of it 🙂
As previously mentioned, these guys are professionals in the personal training space. While their roles are based on effective “delivery” of personal training services, they are also commissioned to sell gym memberships and personal training contracts.
They were both working at the same gym in northern Mass – a GREAT market for these services. However, there simply wasn’t enough room for both of them at this particular gym 🙂
So, Ethan went to another gym, also in northern Mass.
They now both “pretty much” have free-reign at the respective gyms they operate from.
Ethan recently came home, excited as ever, to report that on the first day of the most recent 2-week sales period, he had achieved 92% of his sales quota. And, he has 13 days to bring in the remainder. All of which is only 50% of his personal goal. That is, he has set a goal to achieve TWICE what his actual sales quota is for the period 🙂
He mentioned that, upon first joining this new gym he thought it was too sales-focused. He has since realized that: It isn’t selling: It’s helping people!
You see, when people go to the gym, they do so to look and feel good – even great. Whether they are a visitor just trying out the facility for the first time (a candidate for membership) and/or are looking to take things to the next level (a potential personal training client) he has “services” that can help them achieve their goals. All he has to do is make conversation with them, learn their goals and present options and programs that are available to help them get there.
Did you hear that cha-ching? Another deal just closed 🙂
To augment his skill-set he completed a couple of marketing and advertising-related courses, over this summer. Hopefully, this will continue towards a 2nd degree in Marketing.
Then, there is Aaron.
In addition to his selling and personal training activities, he has had the opportunity to develop a number of marketing programs at his gym. This includes: designing a logo and t-shirts that are now sold at the gym (generates revenue and, more importantly, walking billboards). He also put together a 30-second commercial complete with video capturing highlights of a group training session, sweeps of the gym, with music and a professional voice-over. This commercial is now airing in local movie theaters, just prior to the feature presentation. And finally, he writes a blog promoting health and fitness. Bottom-line: The gym has seen new traffic from these and other marketing efforts he has spearheaded.
Separately, he placed his profile on a modeling agency’s website. This past weekend, he had his first “gig.” It involved pitching a new cologne for men, at a high-end retailer. By the end of the day this retailer had moved several hundred dollars worth of this brand new product!
In summary, they both are successfully building upon their foundational skills and education, to take things to the next level which is ONLY achievable via “selling.”
Why am I writing about this? Just to brag about my boys? Well, only partially 🙂
We all have foundational skills and capabilities – necessary to perform our assigned role. The question becomes: Are we limiting ourselves, in any way, by simply performing a narrowly focused job, when we could take things to the next level by truly embracing “sales”?
The result of taking things to the next level includes:
- Feeling the inner satisfaction of helping someone achieve an important goal (personal, professional or otherwise).
- Significantly increasing the amount of compensation (salary) we receive.
Embracing “sales” does not necessarily mean that we must become a salesperson (by title). It suggests that we develop and leverage the skill-set of selling: successfully connecting a person’s needs or wants with a solution (idea, product or service) that they adopt.
I recall many years ago, when I was VP of a large Customer Care organization…The SVP of Operations passed out the book: “Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”, to all of his direct reports. Many thought the topic didn’t apply, as NONE of us were commissioned sales people.
However, we ALL were (like you are now) responsible for:
- Working successfully with other people (peers, subordinates, superiors, customers and/or vendors).
- Negotiating with others in such a way that we achieve go-forward agreement, with everyone feeling good about the outcome.
- Over-coming objections, even misunderstandings in the process…
As such, all of the above really applies to EVERYONE. And these “sales” skills have a place in both our professional and personal life.
You see, we are “selling” when we are:
- Trying to convince our children to do the right thing.
- Recommending a new rock group, book, movie or great vacation spot to a friend.
- Providing guidance to a peer or subordinate on how best to address a business challenge.
- Suggesting to a client that they try a new service, or feature of an existing product, to better solve their “problem.”
However, we will NOT achieve the desired outcome of the other party accepting our “input” unless we have the finesse to “pitch” it to them in a desirable manner. Doing so is certainly not rocket science. Nor is this something that people are simply endowed with at birth. These are skills that we each can learn and hone throughout our lives.
Doing so enables us to realize that, quite literally, the sky is the limit!
Alternatively, we can live with an aversion to “sales” thus creating a glass ceiling for our career and related compensation.
In closing, impose no limits. And, change your attitude: It isn’t selling. It is helping people!
And, consider the recommended reading below, available at Amazon by clicking its image.
All the best!
GO – Aaron & Ethan!!