If you’re a parent and you have ever convinced your children to do what you wanted without force or threats then you sold. An educator that makes learning more palatable for their students by adjusting their style and approach is using sales skills. A manager or employer that gets staff buy in and acceptance of new policies is selling their ideas to the team. A Plant or Quality Manager who convinces Upper Management to invest in new equipment, preventative maintenance or staff training uses sales skills to persuade them to approve the expenditure now, for future financial returns. A doctor who successfully convinces a patient to make changes in their lifestyle to improve the quality and length of life is selling short-term pain for long term gain.

It’s been said that if you polled the human population, only four percent of adults would say they liked selling. When speaking to a general audience I will usually ask the crowd, “Who in this group is in sales?” After a show of hands I announce that I believe that everyone is in sales. Truth is everyone sells, some do it well and many do it poorly. Your job title may not be Sales Representative, Account Manager or Technical Sales Specialist, but you are in sales. It is my belief that anyone who is in a position either personally or professionally that requires them to convince others to accept their ideas, perspectives or viewpoints without the use of force, is in sales. Even parents using diplomacy and tact to get their children to do what they want are using the same skills that an effective sales professional would use.

People who believe that a sale is simply manipulation, will never admit to being involved in any form of selling. Maneuvering is something that most of us learn at a very early age. There was something that you desperately wanted as a child. Maybe it was a baseball glove, a pair of skates, a bigger piece of pie or the dish that had more ice cream in it. You figured out how to say all the right things in the right order to maneuver yourself into a favorable position and secure the prize. Some of us got really good at it and enjoyed the challenge, others never quite figured out how the game worked. Words like maneuvering and persuasion often have a negative connotation associated with them. That’s because at some point in our lifetime, most of us have been the victim of someone who used these tactics to win, at our expense. However, any individual who masterfully uses the skill of persuasion to maneuver themselves into a position that is favorable for all parties concerned truly understands the concept of professional consultative selling.

Anyone who doesn’t understand or accept this often finds it difficult and frustrating to work with others. They wonder why they can’t just “tell it like it is” and have immediate acceptance of their perspective from everyone. They may take a “do as I say” approach which is often considered bullying. If they have been hired based on their expertise to fill a specific role they feel confused when they have to provide proof and justify their case before management or staff will act on their recommendations. They find it bothersome that they have to provide detailed explanations that make sense before they are given approvals and acceptance. Although we may not like or accept it, information or ideas must be presented in a manner that allow people to be in control of their decisions.

“There is only one degree of difference between hot water and steam.”

Author's Bio: 

Since founding Elite Training Systems in 2001, I have partnered with dozens of sales organizations in varying capacities to elevate individual and team performance and increase overall revenue generation and profitability. Through the delivery of public workshops and customized on-site training, I have educated thousands of consultative sales professionals using personally developed training programs. In addition, I have authored three books on the disciplines of professional selling which are available in retail stores across Canada. My company has been contracted by several organizations to develop and build customized sales training programs for internal client usage. I have worked in a one-on-one coaching capacity with hundreds of individuals to sharpen mindset, elevate sales skills, broaden business knowledge, enhance managerial abilities and implement proven strategies and processes for personal and professional success.