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November 14, 2018 | Coach’s Corner | Greg Martinelli

Selling is Work

The more you work, the more you sell

Over a long sales career, you will hear the full range of comments about selling. From “Oh, I could never be in sales” to “Must be nice to be in sales.”

Now, I understand most people are joking when they make these comments, but rooted in all humor is a little bit of truth. Let’s dissect the range of these comments.

Frequently, in discussions with accounting or operations staff, they make the comment, “I could never be in sales.” When I dig deeper, they explain that they think selling is some natural talent that people are born with. Like you have some gene that makes you a salesperson. We’ll talk on this myth in a moment.

Or they tell me, “I couldn’t be in sales because I don’t have the gift for gab.” Again, with the genetic myth. They continue, “Also, I would hate forcing someone to buy something they don’t want.”

These comments sound extreme, but I’ve heard them all from people with many years in the ag industry. It’s clear that these well-meaning folks had no idea what selling is about.

Now let’s deal with the other end of the spectrum: selling is the easy life. After several weeks of travelling and some long days, I decided I needed a break. So, on a Thursday afternoon, I loaded up my little fishing boat and planned to set out for the afternoon. As I hooked the boat trailer up, my neighbor made the comment, “Must be nice to be in sales.”

I jokingly replied, “We’re always hiring good salespeople. Grab your keys and join us!” It highlighted the fact that selling looks either extremely easy or like a genetic trait that only a few possess. Neither is true!

After many years of selling and managing salespeople, I’ve come to the conclusion that sales is work.  It’s true that some people come by it easier than others. However, if you can teach a person to sing, play an instrument or learn a language, then they can certainly learn how to sell. They just have to put in the work.

  1. Preparing: It’s so much easier to just skip this step and go into your next sales call with the plan to “wing it.” Who wants to spend time pre-call planning, doing homework on your prospect’s business, learning more than you are taught on the technical aspects of your products, creating an agenda for your sales calls, or having a purpose for your sales calls?
  2. Spending time learning about the customer: It’s so much easier to just go into the sales call, make some small talk and then start presenting on the product you came out to sell your customer. Who wants to spend time thinking up high value questions or spend time talking about anything but your products?
  3. Figuring out how to overcome objections: It’s so much easier to call in and get a price exception or complain that your customers are price buyers. Who wants to spend time digging into objections and understanding how to handle them? The marketing material shows the ROI on our products. Why can’t the customer see it for themselves?
  4. Following up: It’s so much easier to come up with an excuse not to make that second, third or 10th call on a prospect. After all, you explained the value of the product to them already. Won’t they call when they’re ready to buy?

These four areas are critical for growing your sales. In my experience, top performing salespeople don’t use any of the excuses I outlined above. They hustle!

Yes, it sometimes looks easy for them, but don’t be mistaken. There are months and years of work behind their success. In any one of the areas above, the more work you put into them, the more likely your selling success.

The trap that many salespeople fall into is that there is no guarantee. They mistakenly reason that, “I could do all that work and still not make a sale. So, why even try? Why not save myself all the time and effort, since I’ll probably get the same results? After all, I have made sales before without preparing.”

Again, this is a trap you need to resist as it’s faulty reasoning. You did get lucky at times and make a sale without putting in the work. However, how many more sales would you have made if you had put in the work?

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