Business people in the UK have devalued selling for far too long and some managers have convinced themselves that they would do better if they did not employ salespeople - after all good products sell themselves, don't they?
As a consequence, until very recently, salespeople have done everything possible to avoid calling themselves "A Salesman or a Saleswoman." They have developed a series of euphemisms such as: "Sales Engineer," "Account Executive", "Technical Sales Consultant" etc. But nowadays we accept that we all sell everyday - doctors, lawyers, estate agents, architects, and politicians.
The fact remains that anyone who is in business has to sell themselves and their products - and the so called "Captains of Industry" - Branson, Roddick, Marshall, Hanson, Gates, Dell and Co. are thought the best salespeople in the world.
It therefore follows that the quality and success of our salespeople will ultimately determine the success of our companies. Certainly the world has become more competitive and in order to survive and stay in business we need to continually expand and develop the skill sets of our sales team.
Sir John Harvey-Jones said "Most companies fail not in their attempts to be innovative or creative. In this country most of them fail because they undervalue the importance of professional selling"
Unfortunately, the task of selling never becomes any easier and as competition continues to intensify, sales people will face issues that can be extremely difficult to deal with e.g. decreased product uniqueness, increased competition within 'safe' markets, longer sales cycles, and shorter product life spans.
Every organisation that intends to survive in the re-engineered environment, which arrived with the new millennium, must, in my view, respond to those realities and recognise that there is not one critical sales related challenge, which must be addressed but five and I will discuss these in a follow up post.
Our commercial functions, particularly the sales team, represent our forward line, if they are not scoring regularly we cannot possibly achieve our overall commercial objectives - i.e. nothing happens until somebody sells something and all of that investment in costly accounting software, new office equipment, expensive IT systems etc. will count for nothing.
We can therefore say with complete confidence, that selling really is the key factor in the total marketing process
Today's News: I had quite a lengthy conversation with Robin Frey Carey of The Customer Collective - have you been over to there yet? - and we were discussing, amongst other things, webinars and tele-seminars. My view is that like all things in life, there are good ones and erm, less than good ones. For example, the Business Experts Webinars initiative is superb and I think Lee has a really big success on his hands - if you want to check the itinerary for May, just click on the box in the left hand column. (Due to the pressure of other commitments, I will not be appearing until September)
Thanks to a superb suggestion from my good friend Keith Rosen last week, we are working on something very unique and I promise to share it with you very shortly.
Talking of upcoming tele-seminars, have you really booked your place for my conversation with the remarkable Kevin Eikenberry yet? Just click on the banner below - please.
Tomorrow: We are putting the final touches to the re-worked Top Sales Experts site and preparing to give Top 10 a makeover - plenty to keep me going. Wherever you are, have a great w/e and enjoy the sunshine
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