I just posted an article for New Year’s focus points for sales on LinkedIn (http://lnkd.in/bYSaeBJ) and it sparked today’s blog. I was going to open by saying that “I haven’t always been in sales”, which is ironic considering my point is that we are all in sales. The point is that I have always been in sales. It just hasn’t always been my primary role. I started my technology career 30 years ago in 1984 as a software developer with Electronic Data Systems where we “in-sourced”, becoming the IT department for our client companies. As contract technologist, living every day with the client, it was obvious that our job was on the line. So, we were always on the customer retention team. It was healthy and I’m reminded that we should always be aware of our “sales role”.
It’s easy to go to work thinking that we are working for our income, or our company, or a boss and that our job is to put in our time, or perform some task. But obviously we wouldn’t have jobs if we were not adding value to someone else’s life.
Interestingly, when we are evaluating someone else’s product in a sales transaction or consuming someone else’s product, we are also representing ourselves and often our company in a “passive sales role”. The impression we make during that process positions us for success next time we’re “selling” whatever we’ve been tasked to deliver.
Next time you’re evaluating a product that someone is representing, keep in mind that you (or your sales team) might be representing your product to their decision makers some day. This is especially hard for me when the sales person’s timing is bad and I’d rather not give him the time of day.
Now, of course, much of my job is selling so you might devalue my position. But think about it. Have you seen careers go south or companies’ reputations tarnished because those who are not directly involved in sales forget that they are part of the sales team? Have you taken this position?
The golden rule applies… treat others the way you’d like them to treat your sales team.