Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
After I wrote Why financial skills are a valuable asset for everyone I decided to write an additional part about sales skills. I never had to sell any products or services. All the companies I worked for had their own sales department which was responsible for that. These companies had a good reputation, a solid customer base and a lot of employees. It is different if you start your own business. People don’t even know that you exist. They don’t care about you and your business idea.
In the past, I connected sales skills very much with manipulating people. This is one of the reasons why selling something is hard for me. Why do I feel so uncomfortable? I guess another reason is just lack of experience in this field. Besides that rejection plays a big role in this game. And who wants to get rejected? Adam Raman came to class and convinced me (with his amazing sales skills) why these skills are so relevant for everyone. If you think about it: we sell every day. We sell ourselves every time we open our mouth and talk. We sell our stories. Believes. Opinions. Every single word is about selling. Why? No one needs to listen to us, so by selling our stories, we convince people to listen. Now, this made completely sense to me. It is about creating trust. As O’Neill (2013)
explains: “Give people the basis to trust you, but even more important provide evidence that you are trustworthy.”
So these are my three personal takeaways
No. 1 Features don’t sell. It is the benefits which sell because you explain to the customer how this product or services makes his life easier.
No. 2 Selling means solving a problem. Focus on the right aspect of it. You are not solving your own problem, you are solving the problem of your customer.
No. 3 If something is too expensive for your customer it means you don’t sell enough value.
These takeaways do not only count for products or services, but also for job interviews. Explain the company you apply to the benefits for them, solve their problems not yours and create enough value for them. Sell yourself like you would sell a product or a service. We practiced our sales skills a lot during the whole semester: We talked to potential customers, we went to Trade Fairs and we pitched at Dragon’s Den. I realised I can sell, but I can just sell when I am 100% convinced about what I am selling. I cannot fake it. These findings are valuable for any kind of situation in life. No matter if you run your own business or if you want to hunt down a great job, sales skills are indispensable.
Cardone (2012) wrote the book “Sell or be sold“ and explains: “I believe and have validated in my life that if you give enough in life, life will give back to you. It’s the same in sales as it is in life. I don’t mean giving the lowest price, or giving products and services away for free, but giving the most attention, the most energy, the best attitude, and the highest level of service.”
Remember, we are selling ourselves every time we speak. Sales skills are universal in their use, that’s what makes them so valuable. Selling is a crucial skill to survive in any career.
PS: If you’ve had sex, you know how to sell.
Cardone, G. (2012) Sell or be sold: How to get your way in business and in life. Greenleaf Book Group Press.