Tuesday, February 28, 2012

¿Are you an entrepreneur and don’t like selling?

¿An entrepreneur and don't like selling?
What do you think of a "sales person"? What is for you a "seller"? I bring this subject up today because I’ve been surprised to meet with entrepreneurs and business owners who appear to have some kind of "strange feeling" in regards to the selling issue, to convince others about their projects or ideas, and they even come to say things like "I am not a sales guy "as if "selling" was something inherently wrong.

While I was documenting myself before writing this article, I found on the web (this infinite space we call "collective knowledge") a lot of definitions about the word "sale", all of them referring to the process of transferring a product or service from the hands of those who manufacture it, to the hands of the final user or consumer, in exchange for something, usually money.

Somewhere along the way, the concept of "selling" was restricted to a specific area of ​​knowledge, perhaps marketing, advertising maybe, who knows? Perhaps at that same point, and thanks to the wrong-doings of many people throughout centuries of history, the concept began to be closely related to terms such as "cheater", "deception", "snake charmers" and, well you know where the story goes.

And I’m not to disagree with you if you have this perception, or simply do not identify completely with the subject. I also felt the same way when, as a teenager, I faced my first job as a salesman, but then, afterwards, during my college education in advertising and marketing, and throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to name everything by its proper name.

Selling is a intention-driven communication process.

If you were to ask me to define the word "selling” I would necessarily have to refer to a way of communicating an idea convincingly to another person. I have an idea, which I think is valuable, important or really good, and I want to convince you about my point of view, and want you to share it.

As you can see, it’s not simply to communicate, but to convince, to persuade you that my idea is valid, important and worth being taken by you  into consideration.

The key element here is "the need to convince", to "persuade" the other person, your partner. That is why it’s an intentional communication, one that has a specific purpose that distinguishes it from the communication we use simply to share something without an intention.

It’s such an old thing that we sometimes forget its true meaning.

From the day that the snake convinced Eve to bite the apple, from that moment on the art of selling was born, in this case selling an idea. And an idea that was so properly sold that not only Eve took a bite, but she invited Adam who also bit and the rest is very well known by the rest of us.

And thereafter, history is full of anecdotal events that refer to ideas that were properly sold, such as that the Earth was flat, or that aliens had invaded our world.

After all, ideas that were born in the mind of someone who was so deeply convinced that his idea was so good that he necessarily had to convince, persuade his peers to think the same, and then managed to do so.

Is selling an inherently bad thing to do?

As long as the intentions are genuinely good, the act of selling is good, because it’s about a person who conveys to someone else an idea that will be for the benefit of the later. If I manage to convince you to quit smoking, for example, I'm doing something good for you.

If we refer to a product or service it continues to be the same: This is something that ultimately is going to be for the benefit of the final user, or the consumer.

Now, the art of selling began to lose it’s real meaning when intentions started to lean towards the wrong side, when you wanted to convince someone that something was really good, when it wasn’t so, by resorting to manipulating information, hiding things or simply lying

Hence the bad taste associated with the subject of "selling" or "sales guy". Because we have the feeling that everyone who wants to sell us something, will cheat on us, will make us sign papers without knowing what the tiny print says, or will end up tricking us.

It isn’t the same to sell, than to sell your soul to Evil.

Sometime ago I read this sentence and it got deep in my heart. The art of selling in itself is a good one, necessary for your company so that you can succeed, that you can communicate your ideas convincingly to your employees, partners, friends and clients, provided that you haven’t sold your soul to Evil.

As long as your intentions are genuine, authentic and you can communicate them in a transparent and honest way to your partner, or audience, then there’s no problem.

If, at any time, you realize you’re starting to resort to using odd tactics to convince others about what you say, whether it’s to sell an idea, product or service, you may be confusing the concept and starting to turn into one of those characters that have done such a strong damage to an activity that is so special for business and life itself, as the art of selling.

Related post: It's not a golden rule, but works great: Honesty and transparency.

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