Why did they stop putting “salesperson” on a business card?
When I went from a Director of a medium-sized company to a Director of Business Development for a much larger company, I thought I was being given the responsibility of being the visionary for the future of the company. I did not realize that “business development” was really just a fancy way to say that I was their salesperson.
Had I read closely, I would have seen that my job description was to increase numbers, sales, and clients, all for the purpose of increasing the company’s bottom line. There was no mention of visions or making the world a better place… just numbers. Which is probably why I did not last long in corporate America.
Why didn’t they call it like it was? Why have we stopped referring to people as being “in sales?” Perhaps it’s because nothing shuts down a conversation quicker than hearing “I’m in sales” or feeling like your conversation just took a turn into a used car lot. We don’t like it when we think someone is selling to us, especially if their efforts are clearly inauthentic.
I had someone leave me a voicemail earlier this week that said,
“Hi, I was just calling to congratulate you on your new baby. I don’t think I saw on Facebook if it was a boy or a girl. Oh, by the way, if you know of anyone who is interested in my services, please give me a call.”
Firstly, anyone who spends even five seconds on my Facebook page sees an overwhelming number of my daughter’s photos and references to her gender. Second, you totally just used my 3-month old as an excuse to call and try to sell me.
I have also experienced times where I have posted online or announced at a social group that my senior dog is struggling, and, rather than sympathetic comments, people reply with things like,
“Oh, my product would take care of that.”
Again, really? I am not sharing in hopes I’ll be sold a miracle product, and comments like that are damaging to our relationship. Do you care more about me or your “sales?”
Do you want to know the secret? The REAL truth? Wait for it…
SALES IS DEAD. NO ONE HAS EVER SOLD ANYTHING… EVER!
You are not capable of selling a product or service. You can only have individuals choose to buy from you.
What you are capable of is building a relationship.
When your client, prospect, friend, family member, or church member realizes that they are experiencing the pain points your product or service solves, your relationship with them means YOU are the first person that comes to mind. They choose YOU. That is how you end up with money, through someone BUYING, not through you SELLING.
So, your job is to perfect that relationship with your current clients, prospects, and referral sources.
Do not expect to have exclusive relationships with your referral sources or your clients. Never make that assumption; it can cause you to become lazy in your relationship efforts. Expect to be competing when given a referral, no matter who it comes from. The better you handle that relationship and referral, the more likely you will have less competition the next time they refer you.
Sales is beyond dead. Buying is the only truth.
Buying only occurs when we know, like and trust others. For that to happen, a relationship must be formed. Remember that relationships are earned, not given, so do not expect to have clients handed to you. Work for their trust and relationship to build loyalty. There are always other individuals peddling similar products, but YOU are your best differentiator. What do you bring to the transaction that no one else can? That’s right, your relationship.
Now, stop focusing on those sales projections, close out of those spreadsheets, forget that advertising opportunity, and go out there and form some relationships.