If You’re In Business, You’re In Sales – Get Over It – ValueWalk Premium

If You’re In Business, You’re In Sales – Get Over It

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Q1 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

Nothing happens until a sale is made.” Thomas Watson Sr., founder of IBM

What words come to mind when you think of a salesperson: Schmoozer? Shyster? Ripoff artist? Con man? Sleazebag? (Or worse …?) What image do you get? Is it a guy in a cheap suit trying to sell you a car that doesn’t run right? A financial guru who’s out to steal your life savings? (I’ll bet you can picture a few who have made off with people’s money.) A telemarketing huckster who’s offering you the world, plus a set of steak knives (“But wait – there’s MORE!”), if you only “act now!” to buy some gizmo over the phone that he swears is the greatest thing since sliced bread?

Perhaps you are sales-adverse because you don’t want to appear pushy, or – God forbid –manipulative. If that’s the case, let me share with you the very first Merriam-Webster Dictionary entry that comes up:

Definition of MANIPULATE

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner

“Sales” has acquired a negative connotation of deception. Yet, by definition, if you’re doing your job properly, you are handling people in a skillful manner every day. And that’s manipulation?

In his book To Sell is Human, Dan Pink takes this idea to the next level. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that one American worker in nine sells for a living, yet he argues we’re all in sales. Even though Pink, an author, would never be considered a sales guy, he estimates he spends up to 40% of his week “moving others” to take some sort of action. And he contends this “moving others” business (a “positive manipulation,” if you will) is sales. Since everyone is listening to WIIFM radio (“What’s In It For Me?”), it’s incumbent on each of us to influence/persuade/convince people to part with resources (not only money, but also time and effort) so they can be better off with our offering than without.

Yet sales is still considered “the Rodney Dangerfield of professions.” That late, great comedian, whose career took off after age 40 while he held a day job of, what else? A salesman. Rodney's routines often began with, “I'll tell ya, I get no respect.” Then he'd deliver a series of self-deprecating one-liners that would keep his fans rolling with laughter, like, “I was so ugly when I was born, the doctor slapped my mother …” (Still brings a chuckle to me as I write this!)

Why do people who sell for a living get no respect, are treated with disdain and even ridiculed? I suspect it comes from the stereotypes I mentioned as well as the widely circulated yet actually rare stories about individuals who got burned by some scammer – just the stuff that makes front page news. So it’s no wonder others can be turned off if you reveal you’re in sales.

Read the full article here by Jim Rohrbach, Advisor Perspectives

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