The days of Willy Loman are gone. Long gone.
Along with, we hope, Ricky Ross and his colleagues from Glengarry Glen Ross.
Yet Arthur Miller and David Mamet’s plays continue to be revived year after year.
Perhaps it’s because today’s sales pro is still a breed apart. These highly skilled practitioners live for meetings, listen with care, present dynamically, overcome objections, excel at negotiations, and drive for the deal. Rightfully so, their contributions to the bottom line can be easily calculated.
Many of us might not immediately accept that selling has become part of our job portfolios. “Not my competency,” we’ll say. Or simply sidestep the issue, knowing that handling rejection and mastering cold calls is integral to success.
Wait. Ever accompany your deal-making counterparts to a prospect or new client meeting? If you have, no doubt you’ve noticed a few similarities:
- Preparation is first and in-depth, well before the initial meeting.
- They ask great questions – and listen hard to the answers.
- Their to-the-point presentations zero in on benefits and value added.
Which is what we do. Or should do.
To aspire to become trusted advisors in marketing, in branding, in design, in communications, we need to think about, first, when we sell – and second, how well we do it. How often have you negotiated for more resources or a longer lead time? When advocating that a new tool be implemented, do you develop a business case to present for leadership buy-in? Are you comfortable with an “ask” of any kind?
Selling is now a science, with rigorous processes to adopt. A few dozen business schools offer courses. More than a handful of companies and coaches specialize in teaching industry-specific skills – to those working in professional services, within healthcare, for high tech. Our consulting friends and colleagues have gone through innumerable strategic selling sessions to better their client skills.
It happens every day, in email, on the phone, with a presentation. Are you ready?
*Otherwise known as Always-Be-Closing.