I was going through the normal qualification process while talking to one of the applicants for the mentorship program at Krishna World Wide. This is something we do in the beginning with each applicant. For our coaches, it's important to know if the candidate is really serious and ready to learn.
This gentleman happened to be a sharp IT professional aspiring to be an entrepreneur. I was very impressed with his ability to communicate, command on language and best of all, his ambitious attitude.
However, his negative attitude towards sales and marketing was a huge obstacle between him and his potential as an entrepreneur. He was willing to work hard, do whatever it took to design a great software (Probably because IT is his domain), but he said,"The reason I want to start IT business because I don't like sales type of businesses". What happened to him is not the objective of this discussion, but the point this discussion brought is certainly worth thinking about.
Many people think of 'sales' as a process that involves manipulatiing, pressuring, convincing others etc… The word 'selling' brings a negative feeling for so many people. Some think that they could be successful in any business if only there were no products or services to sell. No wonder their dream businesses never get off the ground.
Here are a couple of interesting facts though:
- Most people are selling their services as an employee, but they don't think they sell anything.
- Same people keep hunting for jobs from one interview to another, from one employer to another selling why they are a good fit for the company. But they don't consider it as selling.
The funny part is, many of them work so hard convince their prospective employers that they claim to be expert in the areas they don't know anything about.
In an article on Inc.com Jeff Haden writes he interviewed about 20 business owners and CEOs. They all anonymously felt that sales skill was the one single skill key to their success. "Without solid sales skills they all felt success is almost impossible—in any field", says Jeff Haden.
He is absolutely right. Sales skill is a basic skill of survival. Everyone needs it — business owner or not. Whenever you need to get the other person on your side on anything, you need to sell – you need to sell your ideas to our teachers, employers, customers, business partners, friends and family. Sales skilll is just a natural ingredient of leadership.
He who is not willing to learn sales skills, can ever be successful in anything. On the other hand, gaining sales skills will help you win in every area, in career, in business, in relationships – everywhere! Understanding the sales process is absolutely important regardless of the industry or career you choose.
Why is that Sales Skill is the most valuable skill for Success?
It is not just an accident that top business leaders think that way. There is a reason they found this skill so valuable. Let's explore some of the benefits of learning good 'Sales' skills:
The skill of avoiding arguments, putting the point across to convince other person without hurting ego, handling objections with a smile on the face – are very valuable leadership skills you learn and get multiple opportunities to practice when you pursue sales process. This skill can develop you as a person and empower you to win in every relationship; at home, in office, with customers, with business associates – everywhere.
Shyness or low self-image is one of the top enemies of success. People shy away from facing crowd, meeting unknown people, talking to strangers etc and miss opportunities many times. Working in sales is the perfect cure for shyness and a optimal dose of vitamin for higher self-image. You’ll learn to step forward with confidence, face strangers with ease, develop public speaking skills.
If you want to lead people, you must have courage to do things out of your comfort zone. Sales requires you to close (ask for an order or a contract). Closing a sale is getting others to agree with you. Sales training helps you overcome the fear of rejection, fear of what other people think of you and forces you to learn to Ask! This is one of the most valuable personal assets to develop.
This is one area most people lack in their life and spend their day running around accomplishing nothing much. Good salespeople understand the importance of having self-discipline. Without discipline, no sale. One of the blessings of salesmanship is to learn to develop a personal discipline and practice that on a daily basis.
Perseverance is an important key ingredients to success in any significant professional or business success. There is no successful business leader or sports icon who didn't have to persever when going got tough. This powerful skill development happens naturally in salespeople. Sales requires persistence when faced with a "NO". Persistence pays big dividents to those who masterd this skill.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with no sales experience, you probably need to work in sales field for a year or two. If you’re a struggling entrepreneur, take a part-time sales job. Most probably you’re struggling because of your poor sales skills.
From what I have seen and learnt, investing your time and money on this skill development and putting efforts to master this one skill is the best investment you will ever make.