I was never recruited to sell

If I had a pound for every time this has been said to me in my career, I would truly be a millionaire.  So many people taken on as customer advisers, counter staff, call advisers, shop assistants have had their job description updated and told that they are now salespeople.  Accidental salespeople maybe.

And their reaction is predictable.  Changing the goal posts with someone’s job will create countless barriers and reservations. You can’t blame them. They probably conjure up visions of slick, hasty untrustworthy salespeople and they don’t want to be like that.

Last year we had 8 puppies to find homes for and my wife took on the job as head salesperson.  Claire never got hung up with selling because from day one she had a higher purpose. She told me that it was a pleasure finding good homes for the beautiful puppies and by the measure of the emails she received afterwards from the deliriously happy new owners saying how lovely the new puppy was, my wife did a great job.

Having a deep higher purpose made her sell the puppies successfully.

What about you or your sales team? Do you resent selling, do your team begrudge selling, do you sell under the duty state of mind?  If so, get a higher purpose.  My wife hates selling, I gave her a sales process to follow and she did. Armed with her higher purpose, she succeeded.

Admittedly this was a good higher purpose. Can you think of a higher purpose for your role?

Here’s some examples.

A friend who sells Private Medical Insurance, loves it when his clients say what a difference it made to their lives when they were ill recently and were treated privately.  His higher purpose is helping people get better quicker.

When I sold life assurance I always looked back at the first claim I had to deal with, when a policy I sold paid out to a young widow and her 2 year old child. Her husband had died on the railways coupling trains.  That vision, that higher purpose drove me to sell life assurance to every underinsured family I could.

If you sell house insurance, imagine the impact you’ll have if your customer’s house is flooded and their house and possessions are returned as new. Besides, someone has to sell them a policy, and it might as well be yours, you’re from a decent company aren’t you.

A company I’ve been working with recently coordinated young people into work via apprentiships. Talk about a high purpose, helping young people into work and training. You couldn’t get more a higher purpose than that and once the salespeople I was training saw this, their sales rocketed.

My message. Find a higher purpose, convince your sales staff of it, better still empower them to come up with a higher purpose. Give them a sales process to follow and ask them to be themselves.

The magic formula for sales success.