What you should know about sales.


It does not matter if you are a developer, accountant or stay-at-home dad. Sales is part of your job.

Every day you try to convince people: a manager that approach A is better than B, your partner to try a new restaurant, or the airline agent not to charge you excess baggage fees. In other words, you want to sell others on your ideas. 

There are a few things that you should know that will make your part-time sales job a lot more enjoyable:

Being an introvert nerd can be a huge advantage. Sales is traditionally associated with “slick” talker types. This is only one of the reasons you probably don’t have a lot of positive associations when you read “sales”. 

The word “holidays” brings back memories of fun times, sales of experiences of someone trying to push a product we do not want or need. This is also the reason many technical people do not want anything to do with sales. Moreover, even in the unlikely event that they consider getting involved in sales, they think they can never be good at it. And that is completely wrong!

Who is the sales person you would like to speak with when you are trying to solve a complex problem? I bet it is an expert and not the type that first comes to mind when you hear the word “sales”.

“So, you are looking for a rocket propulsion system?”

When you have deep expertise in a subject you are the ideal person to help others diagnose and solve related problems. I am not implying that you should look for a full-time sales job, but having this background is an advantage in the sales related parts of your job. 

Also, if you are an introvert, then probably people who work in the same area are as well. And we all like speaking with people who are similar to us.

Get the facts. When you are in a sales situation ask questions. The aim is to gain an understanding of the environment your customer is operating in and what constraints they are facing. The better your questions, the more you will learn about your interlocutor and their needs. 

Empathy. Facts are important, but most human behavior is driven by emotions. Try to get an understanding of the other person their fears and worries. In a B2B context the main question customers are trying to answer is: “What will I tell my manager if I buy this?.”

Learn. You would not go to the tennis court without any training, hit your first balls in the net and conclude “tennis is not for me, it is too difficult”. Sales is the same, there are frameworks you can learn that will make things a lot easier. I highly recommend checking out SPIN Selling.  

Working to get better at sales might not sound like the most interesting prospect (no pun intended), but it is well worth the time you invest. It will enable you to get a better outcome in many situations and that will positively impact your life.

About the author

Ivo Oltmans
By Ivo Oltmans


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