My team and I have been studying sales teams, salespeople, sales operating systems, sales strategies, sales processes and sales cultures across a wide variety of industries in the public and private sectors, N4P and government since 1995.
It is safe to say we have seen and learnt a lot of things.
1. Selling is everybody’s business and everybody lives by selling something.
2. Selling starts with opportunity and purposeful optimism.
3. Selling is the vehicle that allows opportunity to flourish and people to prosper. Nothing happens until something gets sold.
4. Selling at its best is when humans solve problems, realise opportunities and exchange something of value, together. It’s about mutual prosperity.
5. Selling is a necessary life craft and system that can be mastered if you know how.
6. Selling is ubiquitous in our daily lives yet it is poorly understood and usually left to chance thus leaving businesses, sales teams and people vulnerable to failure and loss.
7. Selling is more than results and motivational rah-rah sessions. Its’ underpinned by strategy, process, people and culture.
8. Selling, as a profession, is full of platitudes, silver bullets, myths and negative stereotypes that keep people from earning what they’re worth and doing good things.
9. Selling exists on a spectrum of intention: from the devious looking for victims to exploit, to the ignorant and irritated who condemn anything or anyone to do with sales, to the commercially savvy, collaborative, customer-centric professionals who deliver real value and look to create a win-win fair exchange of value that leads to long-lasting productive relationships.
10. Selling, for the last 30-40 years, has been hijacked by hyper-aggressive, ‘win at all costs’ business gurus and leaders who see everything as win or lose. This diminishes us all and perpetuates ‘race to the bottom’ outcomes that destroy businesses, people and long-term value.
11. Selling is best realised when it’s human-centred, ethical, team-oriented, strategically aligned, systems-oriented, disciplined, accountable and focused on win-win.
12. Selling is a complex variable system that requires focused, dedicated and continuous attention by leaders who are capable of thinking and acting strategically, managing a range of variables, coaching tactically, and coordinating their business’ value chain to be proactive, client facing, sales led, market relevant and profitable.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.