“Most salespeople think selling is about ‘closing’. It isn’t. It’s about ‘opening’.”
– Michael Gerber
One of the biggest challenges I face in my career as an adviser is sales (and I think a lot of business people do, and that’s why they’ve started calling it Business Development instead) and it’s now magnified to the intensity of the sun, since I started my own business with no customers.
As an introvert, I prefer written communication or face to face meetings rather than the phone. I hated the thought of it. I loathed it. It was the worst part of my day/job. I’d find any matter of “things that have to be done”, so I didn’t have to do it.
Not that I have anything against salespeople. It’s just not a career I’ve ever wanted for myself. It’s a hard job, a relentless job and good salespeople are worth their weight in gold and should be the highest paid employees in your business. It just wasn’t me.
But I’m not a salesperson!
I’d tell myself I didn’t do my bachelor degree to be a salesperson. I didn’t study every night and every weekend for years to get my Chartered Accountant qualification. I certainly didn’t drop the better part of $50,000 and 2 years of my life doing an MBA to be a salesperson.
But then my sales mentor at the time, said something to me one day that I had been too closed minded to realise myself.
‘Your job isn’t to “sell” anything. All you have to do is present the opportunity. The rest is up to them’.
A Dropping Penny
That has stuck with me ever since. I remember feeling the penny drop, it felt like it weighed a ton. It was instant relief to an introvert like me. I never had to sell ever again. Presenting opportunities is something that does come naturally to me. Maybe its my competitive nature, or complete arrogance on my behalf, but I am always looking for ways things can be done better, and usually they can.
I’ve realised since that penny fell, that me doing a crap job of sales, sorry, Business Development, is depriving people of better outcomes, a better financial position, (a better life!?) I can help them achieve.
So, yes I script my calls and hone my pitch, but’s in an effort to ensure the opportunity is presented well with all the relevant information so they can make the right choice for them.
So if you’re struggling with the thought of selling. You’re not alone. But if you’re not presenting opportunities to better your customers, who is?