Tuesday 18 August 2020

The S-word

The S-word

I’ve been raised with the notion that you do not say the “S-word”. It’s a dirty word that is not in line with social etiquette. Yet somehow, the S-word has become a phenomenon in the business world. I’ve never heard so many industry leaders mention it as in my recent interactions with them.


“The S-word”, I hear you think?

Let me give you some context. Just the other day, a participant in one of our commercial training sessions mentioned it as well. We were having a discussion about Motion5’s motto: “A Sales State of Mind”. Yes, THAT S-word: Sales. He, and with him many others, meant the negative association that people have with Sales and how avoiding the word has become daily practice. In that spirit, sales reps are no longer called sales reps, but now carry titles like account manager, key account manager, commercial consultant, manager happy customers, business developer, or any other creative title that avoids the S-word.


So, has this solved the problem?

It won’t be a surprise that it hasn’t. The problem is not the word, but the association. We’ve all been on the receiving end of many sales pitches, whether it’s through door-to-door sales, telemarketing and other form of intrusive sales behavior. This has shaped our perception of what Sales means. However, these experiences have created an image of Sales that couldn’t be farther from the truth. True Sales is not about intrusive product-pushing. Sales is a complex process which involves a multitude of functions working together to bring value to a customer.

Look around in your own organization. How many people regularly face customers? And how many of those are part of your formal sales team? I would bet that more than half your people who interact with customers don’t have any mention of “sales”, or other euphemisms on their business cards. But would you also agree that these people carry an important commercial responsibility? Responsibility to follow through on the offered proposition, responsibility to develop customized solutions, responsibility to create added value and responsibility to identify and communicate customer needs and challenges.


A Sales State of Mind

This is not an argument to burden everyone with sales targets. It is, however, a cry-out to organizations that they can be much more successful when everyone acknowledges their commercial role and responsibility in the sales process. This is not something you can just fix with a sales training; I believe that organizations should spend the necessary energy on breaking current convictions regarding the S-word and gather their entire teams around common commercial objectives.

Open your eyes and see that “Sales” is not equivalent to that second-hand car salesman that you struggle to trust, or that street vendor that plays into your conscience to convince you to sign there and then. Help your teams to see that Sales is something positive; a team effort to solve problems for your customers and reach goals together. Only then can you unlock the full potential of your organization.

Need help achieving this? Let’s discuss how A Sales State of Mind can work for you.