Whatever word you put on it, sales is the lifeblood and the oxygen of any business, I don’t care how big or how small. So, how do I define sales?

In the most basic sense, bringing a product or service into the marketplace that provides value worth paying for equates to sales. Then there is also the more complicated consultative sale, which is probably where the most dollars are.

But regardless of what you’re selling or how you approach sales, typically the economics yielded are based on the size of the problem your product or service solves. Simply stated, the bigger the problem you solve, the higher the economics tied to that will be.

Everyone is always selling

You’re always selling something, or you’re in some kind of negotiation daily. You’re either selling a product or service, or you’re selling, your boss, your team, yourself, even your family – whatever or whomever it is, everyone is always selling.

Of course, it’s easier to be a proponent of sales because I’ve always been naturally good at it, but it’s important for everyone to have some affinity or understanding of the concept and the psychology of sales. Not only because I believe that it’ll develop you more as an individual as well as a professional, but because sales make the world go around.

The sales process doesn’t have to be complicated

Sales doesn’t need to be too complicated. Here are three points I’ve found to be highly effective in any kind of sales process.

Point number one: Listen, digest and respond. The best salespeople are also the best listeners. Don’t get caught up preparing how you want to respond and miss something critical, but really listen to what the person is saying. Then take the time you need to digest and respond accordingly.

Point number two: Commit to authenticity. You’ve got to be genuine and authentic about what it is that you’re doing. Believe in it, know that it’s real and provides value. But be genuine and authentic as a person, too. This always matters, but particularly when you’re trying to persuade someone to invest in a high-ticket item or service, they’ll be quick to call the bullshit factor into play if they get even the smallest inkling that you’re not being real with them.

The third point is probably the toughest: Be willing to take on conflict. I can’t really imagine a time where anything significant hasn’t run into some form of pressure or conflict. The ability to understand that it’s imminent and being able to challenge and disagree – we call it healthy disagreement – is critical to sales. Now, you don’t have to take my word alone on this, my father-in-law, professional consultant John Chisholm can speak to it with authority.

I would also argue, it’s critical to your ability to grow as a professional and an individual.

In short, those best at sales understand conflict management and are not averse to conflict. At Una, we use the term ‘difficult conversations,’ and the thing about difficult conversations, is that they take place fairly routinely throughout the week and throughout life, whether you want to recognize them or not. And they’re called difficult conversations for a reason – they’re always going to be difficult.

Sales in a nutshell

So, in a nutshell, sales proficiency comes down to this:

  • You’ve got to be a good listener.
  • It’s crucial that you’re genuine and authentic about who you are and what you’re doing.
  • You must be willing to challenge and take on conflict, and just remember, the customer is not always right.

Sales may not be always be fun and easy, but since we’re always selling on some level anyway, you may as well jump in with both feet and give it your best.