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What Is Selling?


AuthorTiming is a funny thing or maybe my sensitivity to certain topics is elevated at times just because certain recent experiences stand out in my mind – hence, timing is everything.

Kevin Kirbey is a funny guy and routinely says certain things that make me laugh and make me think. “Have you sold anything today?” “You need to sell more”, and “You motherless thing” are three that I heard a few times last week as we traveled together.

In all seriousness, we have had many a discussion about what is selling, how everyone is in sales, what the differences are in B2B sales, reseller sales, direct sales, and relationship selling. A point we keep coming back to is when you, as the sales person, reach a point where you are recognized as an “Advisor”. This is not easy – no formula is perfect. There is not a Cliffs Notes guaranteed to work, nor is there an App for that. But about 2.5 billion in “sales” within the U.S. on an annual basis help people achieve the coveted role of Advisor or Confidant – call it what you would like if a different word works for you.  

AuthorSo last week, we talked with two very smart industry buds and each shared with us unsolicited thoughts on what they would like and expect from our Sales team – specifically their Account Coordinator and Account Executive or, watered down, their in-house sales person and their sales person who comes and visits. At a simplistic level, both were 100% correct but if sitting together, they would have disagreed with each other.

I found both conversations very rewarding and saw opportunities where we could make some adjustments and what I believe will satisfy each of these companies on their terms. We are gonna give it a whirl and see what happens. Trying new approaches can be very beneficial and possibly reinforce the benefit of the new – or the benefit of the old causing us to tweak towards what was the prior position.

AuthorFor thought provocation purposes, I do not think the details matter other than to the 4-5 of us involved, but conceptually, I find it interesting that after 20+ years of asking the question “what is selling?” – it is the same as it was the first day I started working at Advanced Designs and Bob Schaffer asked it to me.

Sales means helping people make decisions that will benefit them and in turn you. Selling is evil when you convince someone to make a decision that only benefits you and is actually bad for them. Treat a situation / person as you would a neighbor and you will provide valuable sales advice vs. acting like Herb Tarlek with the massive white belt and white shoes. Nobody wanted Herb to come back (other than to be the butt of a joke). Don’t be THAT sales person. Oh, by the way, if you are a driver who tends to cut others off or make silly decisions, Kevin is gonna utter the phrase, “You motherless thing… my grandma used to say that when she would get mad!”

About the Author

Dave Brown is the Vice President of Sales at Optima™.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

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