To succeed, everyone has to sell.
As an entrepreneur and salesperson, I have often laughed when I have heard people who are technically on the “non-sales” side of a business talk about how they aren’t involved in sales or building revenue. This is particularly funny when I hear team members at a small company or start up say it. I have even heard a sales manager say that now that they are in management and don’t sell, that they aren’t the best person to speak with because they aren’t doing day to day sales anymore. Say what?!
The truth is, everyone in an organization is one way or another involved in selling. That’s because everyone in your organization has an impact on your customers or clients. However team members go by such titles as “Business Development Managers” or “Relationship Builders” or a number of other creative titles to help feed the denial that they are indeed in sales. Then there are the people on the team that do research or develop the product itself. No way they are in sales right? Wrong. Everyone is in sales. Sales are what take a product to market. It is what makes a product viable and profitable and pays everyone’s salaries. Sales are the life blood of a company.
So what are sales? Sales doesn’t have to be that negative thing everyone associates with that slick guy in the cheap suit. It really is building strong relationships from multiple channels and working with those relationships to move a business forward. It is that simple.
However, people try to make it hard. So here are some simple tips to help everyone on your team sell.
Network – One of the easiest ways for everyone to make connections and build relationships. It is as simple as showing up to an event and talking with a few people. Ask what those people are looking for and see if you can help them. How many members of your team are regularly going to networking or professional events?
Develop a 60 second elevator pitch – Everyone on your team should have a quick snapshot pitch in their back pocket and be able to tell people what you do and what it can do for them in a flash. This pitch should basically introduce your company and get people immediately thinking about having a longer conversation later.
Break the stereotype – Teach your team that the word sales is not a bad one. Talk regularly about how the new world of sales is less about talking people into something and more about just listening to people talk about their needs. Then providing a product or service that helps them satisfy those needs. Everyone on the team should work to be a good listener.
Have fun with it – Being in a start up or small company can be grueling and take a lot out of you. Make it fun for your team to seek out and have conversations with the right people. Give them fun business cards to hand out or give them unique leave behinds people will love getting. Even a programmer or product engineer will feel more comfortable approaching people when it is fun.
More than anything, embracing the salesperson mentality is a decision everyone on your team needs to make. The sooner the entire company gets that it is everyone’s responsibility to promote and evangelize your product, the sooner you will be on a clear path to success and profitability.
Chris Rohland is the Principle of Rohland Group, a sales and marketing advisory firm. He has over 21 years experience in the sales, marketing and publishing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @crohland.
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