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The technician who could not sell

By Mark Berger – Mark Berger Training:

Years ago, we bought an expensive photo copy machine for our business. The ‘Sales Rep’ got us to sign the contract, made their commission and went on to find the next customer. We never saw them again. However, at least once every 3 months, a ‘technician’ would come to our offices to service the machine. As he was a ‘technical person’, he never asked us any ‘sales’ questions. He never asked if we needed paper (we were not even aware that their company sold paper). He never asked us if we would like additional functionality, such as scanning or faxing (we never knew the machine could do that). He never offered to upgrade us to a newer, more suitable machine (we thought ours was doing just fine!).

The company never thought to give the technician some basic sales skills, such as creative questioning techniques, to enable them to at least uncover upselling or cross-selling possibilities. Obviously, the company missed many opportunities to serve their customer better and also to make more money. (This is the ultimate win/win in sales – to serve our customer, make a bigger difference and make more money.)

I have a favourite saying on my sales training courses – ‘Life is a pitch and then you buy!’ What this means is that, in some way or another, every one of us is involved in sales of some sort – even if sales is not our job title.

I hear this a lot: ‘I am not a sales person’. Or ‘I can’t sell.’ Or ‘I don’t have the gift of the gab.’ And so on …

Yet lately I have found more and more ‘non-sales’ people attending my Sales Training Courses. This year alone I have already trained engineers, IT specialists, operations people, managers, technicians, financial specialists and receptionists. There is a very good reason for this – my clients are realising that every person in their organisation can in some way impact the sales process.

It all boils down to what you believe selling is all about. If you believe that sales is about being pushy, manipulative, brash, arrogant, irritating and sometimes dishonest then yes – I agree you are not a sales person. Also, if you think that we can only sell a product or service for money, then yes – not all of us are in sales.

However, if we give it some thought, we can realise that the following are also examples of selling:

– Getting someone to ‘buy’ our application for a bank loan
– Getting someone to ‘buy’ our idea or business plan
– Getting someone to ‘buy’ us, when we go for a job interview
– Getting someone to ‘buy’ into a new way of looking at themselves or their job
– Getting our kids to ‘buy’ into a healthy, active, balanced lifestyle
– Getting our partner to ‘buy’ into marrying us Getting someone to ‘buy’ our excuse for being late for work
– Getting someone to ‘buy’ into the fact that all of us sell something in one form or another.
– We may sell a product, service or brand. We may sell an idea, business plan, suggestion or innovation.
– We may sell a vision or a mission or a concept. But all of us, in some way, sell something to somebody.

I’m sure if you think about it for a minute, you’ll identify people in your organization who are not working directly in the sales department, but do interact and influence your clients in a significant way. I would seriously consider giving them some training in the art and science of selling.

Because life is a pitch … and then you buy!

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