Many people believe that people who sell things for a living are lazy, under-worked, over-paid, loud, obnoxious, and quickly replaced by the next wind-up, good-looking, and smooth-talking person. I’m not one of the people who believe that is true.
To me, selling is a noble art, especially when the people who choose to do it for a living commit to continuous improvement in all aspects of the craft.
Unfortunately, many of the sales reps we all deal with work in industries with a low entry barrier in selling. So what you find are people who have little training, and often give selling a bad name.
I won’t name these everyday industries where we all interact because that’s unkind to the professionals in those industries, who choose to be different than the slackers. The superstars exist, but it’s rare - and generally, these winners are wildly successful because the competition is plentiful and weak.
Here’s the money-idea: Selling is a part of Marketing, and when you increase your skills, your confidence grows, and so does your business, practice, or territory. And I’m here to help you learn skills and reach your business objectives!
When you believe at your core that your goal in selling is to solve a customer’s problem and help them with their business, you enter the realm of selling nobility. This site aims to help you build your kingdom.
Even before COVID-19 hit and tilted the world, the winds of change were blowing. Hard and fast.
My twenty-nine years of selling, marketing, and sales and marketing management are all in the field of Ophthalmology. The internet changed our business by giving customers and prospects easy access to information.
It used to be that we controlled information, which gave them a reason to see us in their clinics and surgical facilities. Today, customers and prospects want non-obvious information tailored to their interests, personalities, and business objectives.
I don’t look back on my career and think, “Those were the good-old-days.” No. I look forward and believe the best is yet to come for people willing to try new things, learn, and embrace change with humility and Grace.
Over the years, I’ve developed various Sales Rep comp plans, worked with terrific Sales Reps, terrible Sales Reps, and everything in between. A common trait I notice in those who do well is they treat their territory as their own business. Owners.
Also, a common compensation suggestion from Sales Reps is equity options. I always loved it when they asked for this because I know good Sales Reps want to know that their time, talents, and treasure are working to grow the entire enterprise - not just their patch.
When your thinking shifts to being an Owner, your customers and prospects sense it. You will ask better questions focused on helping them reach their goals, solve their problems, and transition to the hallowed role of Trusted Advisor instead of Peddlar.
Isn’t that what we all want?
Why do we say, when asked, “What do you do?” “I’m in Sales.” It’s a reasonable question, isn’t it?
Why do we talk about ourselves in the past tense when the people best at selling have high activity? I guess it’s an artifact of some kind, or maybe it rolls off the tongue easier than saying what problems you help your customers solve, or something like that.
It doesn’t matter; I’m going to write and teach about selling and marketing to help Sales Reps. I had an associate years ago who said, “Call me what you will, but pay me what you do!”
Once, I got hung up on titles and ruined a good gig. Don’t do that.
After two-and-a-half years as a field sales selling medical devices for Ophthalmology, the company VP of Sales and Marketing came and rode with me for a week. It was one of the most exciting weeks of my career.
During the week, Sam and I spent all our days and evenings together. He asked me many challenging questions about why I did certain things and what I wanted to pursue in my career. He seemed genuinely curious about my answers.
When I dropped him at the airport on Friday afternoon, he turned to me before he got out of the car and said something I didn’t expect. Sam said, “Please pack your backs, Joel, we’re moving you and your family to the corporate office in St. Louis, and you’re going to become a Marketing Product Manager.”
He went on to say that I’d learn about running a business and marketing and take a significant pay cut for a couple of years. I was too young and excited to say anything but, “Yes,” and I’m grateful for him and whatever made me respond the way I did.
When I moved from Sales to Marketing, I was stunned by how Marketing people often spoke derisively of Sales. I knew how, at sales meetings, people criticized Marketing. These attitudes always seemed wrong to me because we both want the same thing - more profitable revenue.
Why? Because more profitable revenue pays commissions for Sales and bonuses for Marketing. Why do we fight and back-stab when we want the same things?
I know that Sales Reps aren’t lazy (Well, some are - but they don’t last), and Marketing teams do a lot more than plan parties and spend money. And the Aberdeen Group showed in a study in 2019 that companies with aligned Sales and Marketing teams grow 28% faster than their peers!
If that’s what we all want, maybe learning to speak each other’s language is a smart place to start? It worked for me, and I know it can do for you, too!
Look, I know how you feel because I’ve walked miles in your shoes. What’s exciting is that together we can explore new ways to use the skills we have and combine them with new marketing skills. I’ll teach you to create a brighter future for yourself in your businesses.
You don’t have to learn anything new. People I work with sometimes say to me, “I don’t want to do all that tech, CRM, and marketing stuff. I want to be in front of the customer.”
When I hear that, it always makes me feel a little sad for the person saying it. He doesn’t understand the back-slapping, hang-around customers’ days vanished a while ago.
Customers want the value that makes them think, “Huh. I hadn’t thought of solving my problem that way. Tell me more.” That’s what selling is today, problem-solving, critical thinking, and solution delivery.
Please don’t get me wrong; being personable and skilled at interacting with people is still an essential selling skill. To win in the 2020s and beyond, you must adapt and learn how to market yourself as a brand. And knowing how to identify and solve your customer’s problems with your products and services is becoming a critical skill to possess.
This site can help you, but only if you have the right attitude and are willing to work. No one can give you a pill to swallow or lotion to rub on to teach you new skills.
Here are a few ways that I’m here to help that are free:
- Bookmark this page and come back often
- Listen to the Make Marketing Easy Podcast
- Join my newsletter (It’s not a lame newsletter - it’s a weekly email with a new idea about selling and marketing and how you might use it in your business or territory.)
- Join the Make Marketing Easy Facebook Group
If you’ve read this far, please know that I am grateful to be your Guide on your transformation into a confident marketer and seller of your products and services. If you’re struggling like so many people right now, you’re in the right place because I’m here to help you.
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