Sales is . . . an adventure?


Sales is usually one of the most loaded and often loathed terms in business. We’ve all been cold called, dealt with sharks, more sophisticated, subtle and even slimier salesmen. Or perhaps we’ve been on the other side, where we were selling products we hated, didn’t believe in, or were simply just trying to make money and not caring how we made it.

Cold Calling and Warm Pizza

I remember being in college in Seattle and needed a job. I had some friends working at some telemarketing company during the summer. They hated it but it was a job. I decided to try it out as I was desperate. It involved cold calling people on a list about subscribing to hunting and fishing magazines, which I didn’t even know that much about. I lasted about 2 days, and the whole time I remember thinking, “I hate when these telemarketers call me and now I’m becoming one of them!” The free pizza and incentives couldn’t keep me.

What if selling is an expression of your passion?

Fast forward to today, now I coach businesses and one of the most challenging areas for owners is around sales. Some owners and executives love sales, and have a hard time delegating this task to other employees, but the more common dynamic is owners and executives who hate selling. The usual outcome, not surprisingly, is poor sales, as these owners tend to avoid this activity.

I always ask a business owner what their relationship to sales is. This is the million dollar question as you can see the downstream effects of how this relationship then shows up in their business. Good coaching brings perspective shifts, and the most important are often around sales and money.

I was having this conversation with a client and asked her, “What is sales to you?” And without missing a beat, she laughed and said in a calm and confident tone, “An adventure.” That’s all that I needed to know. How she held sales said everything. And her business does well. We were still able to make improvements and systemize her sales process, coach her on how to train other staff, take advantage of the lowest hanging fruit in her business = current and former clients, but she had the winning ingredient already, “sales is an adventure.”

By this she meant that it is fun. She gets to bring her curiosity about the prospect and listen for what they really need and want, and why. She loves learning about people and sees her role as a salesperson as an opportunity to express this. Her answer was disarming and I had no doubt that it is in her ability to enjoy and truly inhabit her passion that her prospects feel and give her excellent results.

So how do you relate to sales? Is it exciting? Dreadful? Are you disconnected or going through the motions? This will say a lot about your business, and hopefully give you the motivation for your own perspective shift, if it’s not an adventure.

It is these kinds of perspective shifts and refinements that can make all the difference in a business. For those hungry and ready for one, I’m leading a Business Leadership Workshop where we’ll be exploring this exact theme and look at the perspective shifts and real applications to help grow your business to the next level. I look forward to learning about your adventures.