Sales might be the most important skill you will ever learn. You might not have any intention to become a salesperson, though the point still stands. It’s a shame that some of the brightest people refuse to learn it and the education system often outright discourages students from learning it.
Sure, the sales profession has gained its fair share of negative portrayals. The usual suspects are the sleazy used car salesman or the Wolf of Wall Street types. Though, knowing how to sell is not about manipulating people or convincing them to buy stuff that they don’t need. It’s so much more than that.
Why should you learn to be good at sales?
Well let me start off by saying that to some extent, you already are a salesperson. It might not be your title and you may not get paid for it, but nonetheless you probably sell all the time without even knowing it. The problem is, unless you’ve actually taken the time to learn sales, you are probably bad at it.
In a job interview you are selling yourself to the employer. In a group project you might want to convince your team to take your side on a topic, that’s sales. Have you ever had to convince your energy company to waive those annoying fees? Ever worked as a cashier at a fast food joint? It’s all sales!
Sales is not about manipulation or deceit, it’s about communicating effectively with people and presenting a solution to their problems. Whether or not you like it, to be successful you’ll almost certainly need to learn sales.
No matter what industry you are in, sales skills will help you to…
- Get the job you want
- Get promotions
- Make friends easier
- Negotiate salaries, bills, etc…
- Earn the respect of people around you
The list goes on and on, but generally speaking, being good at sales means you can be more in charge of your life and do things the way you want. Effectively learning to sell will open up possibilities you never knew existed.
It’s astounding how few people take the time to learn some simple sales skills and will often times blatantly refuse to learn sales in fear of becoming like the stereotypes they see on TV.
When I ask people if they have ever learned or done sales I often hear things like “I could never do sales because I’m too nice,” or because “I’m just not good at sales.”
When I ask them if they know what selling means, or if they have ever actually tried to learn sales the answer is usually a resounding “no.”
Well, the reality is that you don’t have to change your personality to be good at sales. There are a few sleazy salesmen out there, but they are by far a minority.
To address the second objection, well if you’ve never taken a strategic approach to learn sales, then of course you’re not going to be good at it. I mean, how many times in your life were you great at anything the first time you did it?
Sales is something that takes practice. It’s not something you become good at on your own.
We all are salespeople to some extent. Some are just better than others and the ones who take the time to learn sales skills often enjoy much more fulfilling careers and personal lives.