I am not a salesperson. I do not now nor have I ever considered myself a salesperson. Even though technically I spent half my working life in professions that required me to sell things, I never felt like a salesperson. My belief was that if the customer is coming to you, and you don’t have to work for it, then technically you aren’t a salesperson. You really didn’t have to do anything to get that sale other than just stand behind the counter and wait. This was the case in my jobs as a store clerk.
I also worked in some jobs that provided a service rather than selling anything. For instance, I worked in medical billing offices for several years. Here I wasn’t actually selling anything. I was just helping the doctors recoup their money from the insurance agencies for services provided. In this capacity, I was not selling anything.
So given I have no experience as a “real” salesperson, how do I expect to have a successful business in an industry where sales is my number one goal? Also, is there really logic in my “not a salesperson” philosophy?
The truth is, we’re all salespeople, every moment of our lives. When we’re not trying to sell at our jobs, (and I will explain why all jobs are sales jobs in a moment), we are trying to sell ourselves to the world around us as the kind of person we wish them to see. Likeable, smart, sophisticated, intelligent, savvy, fashionable, reliable, responsible, the list goes on and on.
Every time I go to my closet in the morning to pick out an outfit that fits my personality and style, I’m subconsciously thinking whether or not I’m going to look like the person I’m trying to convey to the world that I am. Everything I eat, my mode of transportation, the very landscaping in my yard, is a way that I’m trying to sell myself to others. Many people will say that they don’t care what others think about them, but if you look at it this way, that’s rarely the case.
Back to why all jobs are sales jobs. Let’s take my medical billing office example. When I’m on the phone with an insurance company, trying to get them to pay my employer’s claims, I am representing my employer, the medical practitioner. I am essentially selling the fact that my employer is owed this claim. Everything I say and the way I perform my job will influence whether or not I manage to get money from them to pay my employer.
And to the sales clerk job. I may not think my actions or attitudes influence the sale because I’m just a means to an ends. The customer doesn’t get the item unless they go through me. But I have to consider that there are other stores like mine in the area, and that what I do, what I say, and how I present myself will influence whether or not that customer continues to shop at my store. Again, the way I perform my job will influence whether or not I manage to get money from them to pay my employer.
In both the above cases, I can either assist my employer in becoming more successful, or even put him/her right out of business.
I once told a business mentor that I felt like sales was the hardest part of my job, and I didn’t think I was very good at it. She laughed and said she’d felt just the opposite. She said I was friendly and outgoing, and that I really believed in myself and what I offered. Then I realized, there’s the key.
You’ve got to believe in what you are selling to be the best salesperson you can be. Whether that is yourself or the grocery store/doctor’s office for which you work. If you like the product or service, then you can generally get past anything else, like initial customer rejections or an all out “no”, (even impossible coworkers). I’m not saying selling is now or will ever be easy. It’s not, selling for the sake of selling gives me panic attacks, but if I think about selling as taking something that makes me happy and being eager to share that happiness with others, then the panic attacks should subside.
I hope this post gave you some new perspective on selling as well.