Date Added: February 2011
Note: This article appeared in the February 2, 2011 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
In today’s competitive environment, all employees should be salespeople. This doesn’t mean everyone speaks with customers, closes deals or conducts presentations; although all employees can sell.
Selling is a scary subject for many. How do Human Resources, Accounting or IT sell? This isn’t their skill and they may be afraid to sell (see my Nov. 9 column to address fear). Many salespeople don’t even sell as well as they should. http://www.unique-solutionsinc.com/knowledge/article_20101027_213.html
Most people view sales as asking someone to purchase and closing the deal. It is this simple and we can add a step that customers choose to say yes or no. All employees can be trained to sell because it is this easy and requires certain non-sales skills.
Selling requires six skills: organization, confidence, interpersonal skills, knowledge, believability and trust. Few salespeople successfully deliver all six; yet employees offer several. The HR person may offer interpersonal skills, knowledge and trust. The Accounting person may offer organization, confidence and believability. The IT person may offer organization, knowledge and believability. Everyone has skills to offer.
The best salespeople are experts in most of these. While most non-salespeople are afraid to ask someone to purchase or close a deal, they probably can help with an introduction, interact with a person – especially someone they already know, be knowledgeable about the organization’s products, and speak the organization’s elevator story or share their own personal story.
Everyone can sell, although few know they’re actually selling. Oftentimes, salespeople are too focused on products instead of customers (they don’t listen) or they are too scripted with the sales pitch (poor rapport building). While non-salespeople may be unable to ask or close, many times they know the customer well and are more familiar with products. Making an introduction and building rapport, combined with the salesperson’s skills, offer a great team sales approach.
Sales is about networking and forming good relationships with others (interpersonal skills, trust); being able to communicate well (confidence, knowledge, believability), and being able to ask (no fear). The worst that can occur is a customer says no. Allow customers to choose instead of making decisions for them by never asking.