Some people believe selling is a god given skill.
It’s not, you can develop this skill quite easily. Anyone can get better at selling by changing how they look at the concept of selling.
You may never achieve rainmaker status, the highest level of selling, but you can develop sales skills that will help you immensely in life, and in business, and in finding a mate. And I hope my story helps you.
The greatest benefit to having the ability to sell is it distinguishes you from the majority of the workforce.
It’s an extra arrow in your quiver of arrows making you a more marketable employee. And if you ever dream of owning your own business, selling others on your idea will be helpful.
I find many people are afraid of selling for or one or more of the following reasons:
- Their personal appearance is less than flattering; overweight, bad teeth, out of shape, bald or balding etc.
- Introverted personality, shyness
- Lack of knowledge and/or respect about the importance of the sales process in any business
- Feel their advanced degree and education (doctors and lawyers for example) make them exempt from selling
Here’s some truth. If you send two women, one stunningly beautiful and the other of average beauty (both with equal selling skills) to sell the same product to a man, the beautiful woman will win that sales contest 100% of the time.
Here’s more truth, good looking men can more easily sell to women than other women.
Beautiful people have advantages over everyone else in this world. But looks are a very small part of effective selling. Looks may get you in the door faster, but skill is what closes a sale. Skills that you can develop.
Why? Because ultimately – decision makers value solutions to their problems. And if you can get their attention, listen, uncover their pain, and provide a solution, it won’t matter what you look like.
How an Introvert Can Sell
I personally struggle with being an introvert. I’d rather stay in the comfort of my own home or enjoy the solitude of a golf course than do any anything social.
But social shyness and business shyness are two very different animals.
It’s OK to be socially shy, but when it comes to business, it’s about your survival.
And if eating and supporting a family isn’t motivation enough to break out of your shell – then nobody can help you.
You have to help yourself in this instance. The motivation to survive – and thrive – should trump all shyness in the business jungle.
How do you do it? By assuming a different identity for your social life and business life.
Being shy and awkward at home like Clark Kent is fine, but when you dress for work you must turn into Superman – or Wonder Woman – a fearless version of yourself ready to do battle in a fierce capitalistic world of business.
I find that many professionals like lawyers, doctors, and accountants dismiss the idea they need to sell. Why else did they spend all those years in school studying?
But the most successful and wealthy professionals develop a healthy respect for the selling process.
They must win clients before they can attain partnership status or build their own practice. And they do thy by skillfully selling.
Why Selling is HARD
There are three foundational marketing principles underlying any successful business:
- Continued customer acquisition
- Conversion and Sales Optimization
- Customer Retention and Referrals
The most important, difficult and expensive of the three is customer acquisition.
Because … until someone, somehow, in some way – convinces a business, government, non-profit organization or person to part with their money – absolutely nothing would transpire in the world of business.
And because the selling process takes time, and customers are finicky, there’s endless competition, habits and trends change, leadership changes, governments and laws change.
It takes patience to develop a relationship, to win trust, and deliver a solution. It takes persistence, drive, skill and psychology.
The Indians tried to create rain through rituals and prayer. Man tried to create rain through science. In the business world, rain is made through methodical and strategic sales and marketing efforts.
And for those who can consistently sell at the highest levels, they are the true rainmakers.
The Rainmakers and The Fulfillers
Very generally, there are two kinds of people in this world, rainmakers and fulfillers. Those who can sell, and those who can’t – or don’t want to, for a variety of reasons, I call them the fulfillers.
The vast majority of our planet is on the fulfillment side. They are the specialists, or subject matter experts, or number crunchers, and managers. Their jobs are to fulfill and manage the obligations of the sale.
Fulfillment of a sale is vitally important because it’s what retains and grows clients. But the selling part is much more difficult.
In his book Million Dollar Consulting, author Alan Weiss calls fulfillers – “delivery people”, and makes this point: “If anyone tries to tell you … that delivery is the key to client success, I’d remind them that delivery people are more common than garden weeds, and rainmakers are rarer than Sasquatch.”
The process by which you are compelled to buy a McDonald’s cheeseburger and Coke has evolved from a sophisticated team of sales, marketing and merchandise folks – fulfillers trying to drive traffic into McDonald’s retail locations.
The delivery of the meal is also fulfilled by the franchisor, who pays handsomely for the brand and system that delivers a Coke and cheeseburger to her customers.
The one who developed the idea, licensed it, financed it, and sold it to the masses was Ray Kroc, the rainmaker in this scenario.
The car salesperson – or realtor – who start with nothing – and go on to build successful careers must develop rainmaking skills to succeed.
The finance person at the dealership, or the title agent at the title company, are the fulfillers of their sales. The realtor and car salesperson generated the rain.
While working at a Division One collegiate athletics program I witnessed true rainmaking from their athletics director – Beth. You’d think an A.D. would be consumed with wins and losses, not so much. Her mission was fundraising.
Her focus was on raising money (making rain) to fund scholarships and build state-of-the-art athletics facilities designed to attract recruits and coaching talent. Which in the long term will lead to more wins for the program.
In my next series of posts, I am going to focus on the sales profession and what I believe to be the 10 most important ingredients into becoming an effective salesperson.