A new business magazine that is launching out of NYC wrote to me a few months ago and asked if I could write an article titled, “Sales is Sexy!” I started laughing and said, “I would love to!” I loved the title because it’s so contrary to what everyone believes about sales.
For today’s Weekly Sales Memo, I thought I would get back to the topic of basic sales. What is it? Why do people love or hate it so much? Why is the word itself is so polarizing? And what really happens both short and long term when an organization embraces a true sales culture?
What is it? My definition of sales is helping people get what they want. It’s that simple. Whether you’re helping an adult child make a decision on the best community for his or her father, a referral source get a patient successfully admitted to your skilled nursing center or a couple leaving a deposit to secure a prized villa you are selling, you’re engaging in sales.
Why do people love sales? Let me start first with why they hate it. Hang tight.
Why do people hate sales? They don’t know how to do it properly. There is nothing worse than being sold something by someone who has no idea how to sell and who is uncomfortable with selling. The result is prospects that are downright offended, angry and in many cases rude. Who wants to do a job that forces them to be confronted with regular rejection? It’s only natural that people would do anything possible to avoid this type of pain.
Why do people love sales? They get it. Somewhere in their life they learned how to sell. I got my start at the age of eight. I would make tissue boxes, Christmas wreaths, and sell them door-to-door. When I had no product to sell I would ask people if I could clean their house, wash their windows or babysit their kids. Ok, no one let me watch their kids at the age of eight but I did get my first baby-sitting gig when I was 13! I once cleaned every window in a two-story house and the owner gave me a whopping 50 cents for a job well done (learned a little about agreeing on price up front that day, ha!).
People who love to sell either learned as I did, trial by error, or they read books, attended seminars or had great mentors who taught them the trade. Anyone can learn how to sell, if they want to. The key word here is want. It’s impossible to teach something to an individual who doesn’t want to learn. However, once a person understands how to draw out a prospect’s wants and needs and then shows how they can deliver on them sales will be addicting! There is no better feeling than helping people get what they want!
So why is the word sales so polarizing? People, who hate sales, literally hate it! They want nothing to do with sales, don’t understand it and have been on the receiving side of a bad sales presentation. The last thing they want to do is be “that” person. What’s worse is when the leader of an organization, whether it is the CEO or Executive Director, hates sales. It’s impossible to lead a division of an organization that you don’t understand, even if you have a middle man. True sales people can see through that. The best way to change this type of mindset is to begin to study the art of sales, experience an amazing sales presentation or to recall a time when someone helped you get something you wanted which changed your life and made you incredibly happy!
What happens when an organization embraces sales? This is a game changer. Sales is the engine that drives the company’s revenue. Ever see a car run without an engine? Same goes with sales. While the company may run, it will always be struggling to pay its bills, have poor cash flow and lack the ability to grow. In most cases people feel incredible pressure from the top down. On the flip side, when happens when an organization embraces sales? There is a feeling of incredible excitement, energy and success that flows through the entire organization. People hit their goals, are rewarded, testimonials flow in from very satisfied customers and investors throw cash at you, begging you to expand and grow.
While this is a very basic sales memo, what I have found in owning a training company for over twenty years is that people don’t know the basics. In fact, many people fail to admit that they lack the basic skills required to sell: Asking great open-ended questions and listening to the answers. Two skills that can immediately impact sales. Yet this seems so “easy” that people tend to ignore these two important things in exchange for some fancy sales concept that is impossible to duplicate properly but seems designed for someone “more intelligent.”
Look, if you are in sales, you have the opportunity to make unlimited income. Imagine maxing out every bonus opportunity, getting promoted to a regional sales manager, VP of Sales and beyond. I remember training the amazing Shamim Wu, EVP of Sales for Holiday Retirement, a billion dollar company. I literally coached her myself close to a decade ago. I can still remember to this day standing in the hallway at a hotel in California interviewing her about my sales presentation and how she felt about it. Watching her career, from sales to Regional and everything in between up to where she is today, head of sales for Holiday is what makes me jump out of bed every morning excited to be alive and to have the privilege to do what I do. Shamim mastered sales (along with many other skill sets), used it to transform her career and the company she works for. If Shamim did it, you can too!
If you’re a CEO with five properties and you embrace sales. Hmmm. Imagine, in less than five years you could have fifty. The financial impact that stands between 92% and 98% occupancy pretty much goes straight to the bottom line. If you set the expectation at 98%, train your people, coach them to success, continue to invest in their development, as well has hold them accountable and reward them for results you can make this happen. It’s not a pipe dream, it’s real. You just have to decide you want to do it. So my friend, embrace sales. While you may not exactly find it sexy, it is transforming.
If you want to learn more about the art of selling but aren’t sure where to start, reach out to our CEO here at Bild & Company, Seth Garber Sgarber@tracibild.com. You can also visit our website at www.BildandCo.com.