You Don’t Have to Sell Refrigerators for Sales to be Cool

May 4, 2015

sales-cool

Last weekend, I came across one of my favorite shows on Netflix, “Gilmore Girls.” In one episode, the high school students were taking career aptitude tests to discover what field of work would be their best fit.  As one of the students anxiously opened her results, she was quickly disappointed with the suggested occupation-- Sales. “Why me…why can’t I do something cool?” she groans. Her friend optimistically replies, “You could sell refrigerators.”

But why is sales such a dreaded, undesirable occupation? My guess is because the word “sales” is inherently equated with a cold calling, door-to-door knocking, infomercial-style approach. However, I believe (and Harvard Business Review agrees with me1) that these practices are on the way out, and I want to be a part of the movement that seeks to elevate the sales profession and transform the traditional sales approach with social selling.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network – 340 million+ profiles and ever-growing with more than 2 new members joining per second. Therefore, the need to pick up the phone blindly or knock on a stranger’s door is long gone. With just a few clicks, you can easily search and find potential prospects on LinkedIn. By viewing their profile you’re able to see their professional and educational background as well as any content they are sharing, their interests, and mutual connections.  Having access to these insights can turn an otherwise awkward, cold conversation into one about college football, travel, or “How do you know Uncle Bob?!”

Just today, I was contacted by somebody who was interested in learning about what Sales Solutions has to offer, and within 10 seconds I was able to find out that he used to work with my sister. That is information I never would have had without LinkedIn, and it undoubtedly changed the tone of the conversation.

It’s time to redefine how the world perceives salespeople. Sales isn't just about numbers, it’s about relationships. When we approach a customer call with a genuine interest in understanding their problems and seeking to provide solutions, we create a more positive experience for everyone involved.   The more we can make sales about relating to people, the closer we are to elevating the sales profession. Maybe then, more kids will want to be Account Executives when they grow up.

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1Harvard Business Review 2012 – Tweet Me, Friend Me, Make Me Buy. Decision makers are C-level

 

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