Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Learning to sell

I will admit that it's taken me a long time to get comfortable with selling.  For many years I told myself a story that said I could be good at selling but it would take a lot of effort and a lot of transition between tasks. After all, my selling hat was different than my talking to friends hat or my working with clients hat. That was so obvious, it took a long time before I realized it did not have to be true.

It is true that interacting with clients and colleagues sometimes requires an energized focus and/or willpower. When it does, it takes me a little time and intention to recharge. Somewhat to the surprise of people who know me through my speaking and training, I usually test as an introvert. I love people and sometimes I also love quiet.  Selling requires energy because it is one of the interactions that requires I be very present to what someone else wants.

But my selling hat is no longer a separate hat. I have come to recognize two things: the first is that I am excellent at selling when I want to be. The second is that if I don't sell, I am letting people down. My courses are excellent: I do great work and provide great value. People make change and like it. If I don't make the effort to sell them my courses, they spend money somewhere else. And frequently, those courses don't provide the same great value. Frequently they are the training equivalent of grabbing some fries and a Coke and calling them lunch.

Pushing in sales is all about pushing myself to uncover what someone needs and match them up with it. Most often, if I am talking to them, I have what they need so my work is to listen and add energy and hope until I have given them enough motivation or inspiration to move forward.  If that sounds exactly like coaching, it's because it is exactly like coaching.

There are only so many ways to be human. There are only so many ways to promote well-being and satisfaction and excellence. So all along, it turns out that I have been learning to sell. I've been teaching it too.


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