Are your sales skills (or lack of) letting you down?

Here’s what’s been on my mind lately: SALES.

We soon learn that there is a small group of “business disciplines” that you need to get your head around.  Not to be an expert (you should outsource the detail on most or all of them), but enough to know if you’re hearing sense or nonsense.

What do I mean?  Financials, for example.  Knowing how your P&L and balance sheet should be feeding into your business decisions.  HR – knowing the general lie of the land, most vitally so you can spot when you need to call in an expert.  Marketing – knowing who your target customer is, what messages they respond to, and how to get those messages to them.

The missing link is sales.  We spend good time and money (how much?  Do you actually know?) on acquiring a prospect and nurturing them to the point where they are ready to discuss buying our product or service.  And then we wing it.  As a sales coach friend of mine says, “If you wing it, you won’t win it.”  We take all that marketing investment, and give it away to some competitor, by fluffing the critical sales conversation.

Stupid, or what?

We all know why, don’t we?  We all have an instant mental image, perhaps an actual memory, of the smooth talk, the manipulative questioning, the unwelcome pressure.  We don’t want to be like that person.  We want to be genuine and not “salesy.”  So, we don’t rehearse or prepare, and we leave many a willing buyer scratching their head as to why we didn’t sign them up.

That manipulation, that talk that makes your skin crawl, that’s not salesmanship.  That’s crap salesmanship.

We can do much, much better if we just learn how.  The sales conversation can be constructive, frank, mutually supportive.  And naturally we’ll waste a lot less of those opportunities.

So, how to learn this?  Interestingly, not one major business school, so far as I know, has a significant teaching or research program in sales.  Months of classes and entire libraries on marketing, but just about zilch on sales.

Over the years I’ve discovered some resources that have helped me feel more confident with sales.  I’ve linked them in the hopes that they provide you with some valuable information.

  •  Kate Hore-Lacy shares short videos on LinkedIn that are full of useful information. You may also like to check out her website.
  • Julia Ewert is a Perth based sales coach known as ‘The Negotiator’.  There is some great content to be found on her blog.
  • The book ‘The Introvert’s Edge’ by Matthew Pollard is a fantastic read on how to sell in a low-pressure way.
  • The Rainmaking Podcast by Scott Love

Do you have any great sales resources you’d like to share? Leave a comment below so that we can check them out.