Jeff Haden wrote a piece in Inc. com about the most important skill for success. After interviewing 20 business owners and CEOs – every one of them indicated that sales skills were paramount – in any field.
To many people, “selling” harkens back to the tragic figure in Death of a Salesman and the need to manipulate, pressure, or cajole someone into buying what they don’t need. To the contrary, selling is explaining the logic and benefits of a decision. To convince others an idea makes sense, according to Haden – or to show bosses or investors how a project or business will generate a return. Perhaps to help employees understand the benefits of a new process or strategy.
Bottom line – sales are communication skills, which are critical in every field. Honing and using these skills will help you in business, interpersonal communication, employee engagement, and leadership.
Let me unpack a few of the key transferable skills of sales so you understand why they are applicable to you.
Negotiation – every career involves negotiation from customers, suppliers, vendors and employees, for example. An effective salesperson learns how to actively listen, execute variables, identify key drivers, overcome objections, and find ways to reach agreement without burning bridges, according to Haden.
The Close – the ask is difficult for many and the closing is part art and part science. You must get others to agree with you and follow your direction. Great salespeople and great leaders know how to close.
Persistence – no doesn’t mean no, always, it just means no, now. Salespeople hear no all the time but it’s not a rejection, simply a challenge to figure out what to do next.
Self-Discipline – a sales mindset is a great way to connect the mental dots between performance and reward. Think – “If it’s to be – it’s up to me!”
Self-Confidence – a sales mindset is the perfect cure for shyness. You learn to step forward with confidence, especially during stress or in a crisis. Go learn how to sell – this skill is priceless, no matter what field you’re in. It’s an investment in your self-confidence and your success.