I asked about
twenty business owners and CEOs to name the one skill they feel contributes
the most to their success.
What did every one
of them say?
Sales skills. Each and every
one felt success is almost impossible -- in any field -- without solid
sales skills. Here’s why.
To many people, the word selling implies
manipulating, pressuring, cajoling -- all the used car salesman stereotypes.
But if you think of selling as
explaining the logic and benefits of a decision, theneveryone needs
sales skills: to convince others that an idea makes sense, to show bosses or investors
how a project or business will generate a return, to help employees understand
the benefits of a new process, etc.
In essence, sales
skills are communication skills. Communication skills are critical in any
business or career -- and you’ll learn more about communication by working in sales
than you will anywhere else. Gaining sales skills will help you lead teams,
line up distribution deals, land customers, build important connections... in
every stage of building a career, most of what you do involves sales.
sales process, and how to build long-term customer relationships, is incredibly
important regardless of the industry or career you choose. Spending time in a
direct sales role is an investment that will pay dividends forever.
Here are a few of
You'll learn to negotiate.
Every job involves
negotiating: with customers, with vendors and suppliers, even with employees.
Salespeople learn to listen, evaluate variables, identify key drivers, overcome
objections, and find ways to reach agreement -- without burning bridges.
You'll learn to close.
Asking for what you
want is difficult for a lot of people. Closing a sale is part art, part
science. Getting others to agree with you and follow your direction is also
part art and part science. If you want to lead people, you must be able to close.
Great salespeople know how to close. Great bosses do, too.
You'll learn persistence.
Salespeople hear the word no all
the time. Over time you'll start to see no as a challenge, not
a rejection. And you'll figure out what to do next.
You'll learn self-discipline.
When you work for a
big company, you can sometimes sleepwalk your way through a day and still get
paid. When you work on commission, your credo is, "If it is to be, it's up
to me." Working in sales is a great way to permanently connect the mental
dots between performance and reward.
You'll gain self-confidence.
Working in sales is
the perfect cure for shyness. You’ll learn to step forward with confidence,
especially under duress or in a crisis.
Still not convinced?
Think of it this way: The more intimidating or scary a position in sales
sounds, the more you need to take one. You'll gain confidence and self-assurance,
and the skills you gain will serve you well for the rest of your business--and
personal -- life.
So if you’re a
would-be entrepreneur, set aside your business plan and work in sales for a
year or two. If you’re struggling in your profession, take a part-time sales
job. Part of the reason you’re struggling is probably because of poor sales
Successful people spend
much of their time “selling.”
Go learn how to