Does sales leave a bad taste in your mouth? Overly aggressive salesmen, cheap as-seen-on-tv infomercials, and secretive multi-level-marketing companies have given sales an undeserved image as gimmicky, dishonest and pushy. The reality is that sales is the greatest tool producers have to share their products or services with the customers that want those products or services. As the saying goes, nothing in business matters until a sale is made.
What is Sales?
Sales is the connecting of goods and services with the people that want them. Business owners all too often think of sales as a one-way street. The reality, however, is that sales is a tool for the benefit of sellers and buyers. Good salespeople learn how to convey the value of a product that the potential buyer had never even considered.
Why Do Sales Matter?
Sales is the lifeblood of a company. Every department in an organization functions to either drive sales or increase the profitability of sales. This means that when sales stop coming in, the rest of the organization will eventually be forced to shut down. Doubtful? Consider Blockbuster, the 20th century dinosaur of video rental. When sales slumped due to technological shifts in the mid-2000’s, Blockbuster quickly skidded to a stop, filing for bankruptcy in 2010. It did not matter how fantastic was Blockbuster’s logo, its accounting department, or how many great titles it shelved, because no one was buying. Small and medium sized companies that put an emphasis on sales will see the results of this effort in every aspect of the company.
The Dark Side of Sales
Sales bad rap is in part deserved. Too many salespeople push for hard sales, leading their customers to solutions they do not even want. Once a sale has been made, many salespeople are quick to disappear, building a wall of gatekeepers between them and the customer. This is the dark side of sales, and it is not a good long-term strategy.
Do Sales Right
There are two ways a company can avoid the negative stereotype attached to sales. First, a company can avoid selling at all costs. The company can rely 100% on referrals from past and current customers. This option may look appealing, but it is likely to stem the progress of a growing company and suffocate the life out of a stable one.
Second, a company can implement good sales practices. These include sales training for the staff (particularly any customer interacting employee), setting consistent messaging and details about company products or services, and ensuring adequate post-purchase follow-up.
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