Why You Can’t Be In Sales
If you tell people that you’re in sales, they instantly distrust you.
So say that you’re an analyst, researcher, marketing manager, operations manager– ANYTHING but sales.
Even the words “business development” or “account executive” smack of sales. They imply that you’re a hunter and they’re the target.
- It means that they treat you like a vendor
- It means that your communication is treated with suspicion
- It means that your phone calls are not returned
The “prospect” (victim) understands the age-old song and dance of being courted by a salesperson.
What if I told you that intentionally not being sales-ish, would drive you a ton more business?
Or that you’ll never need to cold call again– people will seek you out, demanding to buy your product or service? Or how about that you’ll never need to advertise again?
When you go to the doctor and he or she recommends a treatment, what they’re really doing is selling you from a white lab coat.
When you pay another professional for their services– a lawyer, accountant, or even a tithe at church– you’re being sold.
But the cosmetic dentist calls it “treatment acceptance”. The lawyer didn’t chase the ambulance– you came to him with your problem. The other professionals stand behind their trade, and we accept.
The concept of “inbound marketing” has turned the concept of sales upside-down. When you produce amazing content, sharing expertise freely, people come to you.
When people come to you, the balance of power is different.
Now you’re the expert:
- They pay for a “consultation”, as opposed to enduring a “sales call”
- They invite others to the meeting to learn from you, as opposed to making you play the gatekeeper game with the secretary
- They are engaged with what you’re saying, as opposed to zoning out
- They ask you for recommendations and prices, as opposed to you convincing them they need your product
Make this shift now.
That means you must upgrade your knowledge so that you be consultative and truly informative, well beyond pure product knowledge.
You must blog, speak, and publicly share your expertise— to the point that you are a respected authority in your field. Unsure of your authority? Then network with those who are, so you can interview them to produce this content, riding on their authority.
Implement a marketing automation system, since you need to systematically publish your expertise, collect emails, and convert those who raise their hands.
Now you’re responding to those who reach out to you:
- Your marketing is no longer about brochures, but legitimately helpful white papers.
- Your sales team (even if you are the only sales person) is now a sought-after expert interviewed in the media.
- Your cost per lead is zero, since you don’t advertise, buy lists, or pay commissions.
- Your reputation is enhanced, as well as your pricing, since you’re not trying to sell on price. If anything, you pride yourself on being more expensive and tell prospective clients that you’re not the cheapest game in town.
This system takes time to implement, but will yield long-term benefits, just like a garden you plant.
So if your job title has “sales” in it, did I convince you to change it?
Go fix your LinkedIn profile right now! Then, let me know what you think below or on Twitter.