Celebrating 58 years in Sales

And 7 years of running a sales training service

I know I don’t look old enough to have been in sales for 58 years, but I am.  Soon, I will turn 58.  And I have been in sales my whole life.  So have you.  And so has everyone you meet.

The reason for this topic is that every single person on the planet spends the majority of their life trying to convince other people to do something for them.  That means in your personal life and your work life.  I know you might not have the title of salesperson.  So, you probably don’t think selling pertains to you.  Nor do you want to be in sales, talking to customers all day, or “cold calling” for a living. 

If that is how you feel, please keep reading, and let’s discover how you truly are in sales, both personally and professionally.

Your early sales career:  Let’s examine how you got into sales.

  • You were born and you cried to get food, new diapers, and be held.
  • You became a toddler and vied for your parent’s attention by saying or doing anything that got them to focus on you.
  • You got a little older and then sold them on buying you a cell phone, allowing a sleep over, or getting you anything that helped you fit in with your friends.
  • Then, you went to school and start selling outside of your parents.  You made tremendous efforts to sell yourself as one of the crowd.  You dressed, talked, and acted like the cool kids to sell them on accepting you.
  • Then you got into your teen years and started selling (convincing) a girlfriend or boyfriend to go out with you.
  • Next came the biggest and most important sale you would ever make.  Convincing someone to marry you. 

You get the point. We are all selling something. 

Your Professional Sales Career:  Now, let’s talk about your professional selling experience.

  • Venturing into the work world, you are now in full sales mode as you develop your resume.  Like a sales brochure, it sells prospective employers on you and your impressive features/benefits.
  • Once that sale is made, it’s a career of sell, sell, sell.  You sell to get a raise, a promotion, gain access to resources to do your job better, etc. 
  • As you move up into the ranks of management, you continue to sell up the chain of command, but now have to sell those that report to you.  Sure, you can bark out orders since you are the boss.  But that’s not a good strategy for retaining people or engaging them in their employment.

Now, the real selling begins.  Selling the marketplace.  Selling to customers.

I can still hear you saying, “Greg, I’m not in sales.  I am in accounting, production, logistics…..”

I hear you and want you to know that you are the most important salesperson in your company.  Just about everything you or your department does, has an impact on helping or hurting sales. 

See if any of these situations sound familiar

  • Marketing is trying to sell the sales team on sending more social media posts, pictures, and videos.
  • The Production and Distribution Manager is selling everyone on getting their orders in sooner.  You are selling them on getting trucks loaded earlier and delivered faster.  So, naturally, they would love a policy of 48-hour notice on all orders.  They are selling the idea that same-day orders are killing productivity for everyone.
  • Customer Service is also selling hard these days.  They too want 48-hour notice so they can schedule deliveries easier.  Then they sell customers on taking delivery of their order when they can actually get a truck out to the customer.
  • “Yeah Greg, but I’m in engineering and you know we don’t sell.  We are laser-focused on precision, accuracy, and data.”  Not so fast.  You spend a lot of time interpreting construction codes, facility design, or equipment installation.  Aren’t you the person that has to convince the city to accept your blueprint designs?  Aren’t you then, going back to your company and selling them on altering the design based on what you can get approved when you sold the city engineering department?
  • Accounting, you are not exempt from selling either.  I know you may never even see a customer, but you are closest to one of the most important customer value factors: money.  More specifically, their money.  You are selling customers or the sales team on trying to collect it faster.  At the last management meeting, you spent time selling everyone on why you need to shorten the credit terms.  Maybe the company controller sent out a message that said, “… with interest rates going up, we need to collect accounts receivables faster and pay accounts payable slower….”  Now, you are left to sell the local sales team on how to execute this process. 

If you still don’t believe you are in sales, then just send out an email that says,

  • “Dear valued customers, we have changed our route truck days.  Tuesday deliveries are moved to Thursday.  Thursday’s delivery is now on Monday and we have discontinued our Friday truck.”
  • “Dear valued customer, starting next week, our terms are going from “Net 45 days” to “2% cash discount, net due in 30 days.  And we have added the option to pay by credit card (3% service charge added to credit card payments).” 

Again, just send those out without selling anyone on them ahead of time.  My guess is that you will create an internal explosion with salespeople and an even bigger explosion with customers.  Then, you have some tough selling to do.  You might even have to send amended emails with long explanations of why the changes are needed.  You might even have to repeal the decision and go back to the old way of doing business. 

Either way, you will be selling!

So, join me in celebrating my 58 years, as well as your ___?____ years in selling! 

Reach out if you would like some sales training or development for your sales team, or any of the other departments that are selling every day within your company.

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