meh… [sales]

December 19, 2012

[Sales] is my least favorite part of marketing.

Calling it “least favorite” is seriously understated. I used to think of marketing as a 4-letter word, but marketing and I have worked out our disagreements over time, through open communication and curiosity. I now appreciate marketing as analogous to good communication in any relationship – it takes a lot of work, I really wish it didn’t, and it’s really hard to do sometimes. But it’s worth it.

When I’m communicating well with people who need my services and products (my clients and prospects), I’m helping them learn about solving problems and overcoming challenges they face. They need that. Communication (marketing) is the only way I can do that.

But my previous resistance to marketing is nothing – nothing – compared to my aversion to [sales]. I mean, I’m even putting the word in a [box] to try to contain it!

That’s because the model of [sales] I know, through my experience as the target, and I mean that in every sense of the word, is to aggressively pursue someone and coerce them to buy something through a tactic related to shame. The messages have included:

“You should want this one because it’s what most people want, and it’s the way to fit in.”

“The smart people are buying now. The losers will wish they had bought, too.”

“Don’t be embarrassed about being too poor to afford it. We offer credit!”

and, sadly (because I’m kind of compassionate and feel ashamed about not helping)

“I just need 3 more sales to reach my target and get my bonus, so it will really help me.”

Has your experience as a [sales]person’s target been similar? I think most of us have similar kinds of experiences that taught us [sales] is gross.

But I know that [sales] is only gross when it’s done in a gross way. [Sales] is the step in marketing when a person needs information through a conversation with a live person to understand something better, to finalize a decision, or even to complete the purchasing process. When it’s used with respect, considering what the prospect wants and needs and helping him or her decide what’s the best choice, it’s a helpful, kind thing.

I’ve heard this as a description of ethical [sales] with integrity. This definition makes sense in my head, but my heart is still skeptical. I want to believe it. I want to bring [sales] out of the protective box, but I have to make sure it’s not going to run loose and push people around first.

So I committed to a program that requires me to learn about [sales] and try out different steps. The instructor is someone I respect and admire, so my brain is sure this is a good idea.

My heart? It’s going to take some convincing. So far, I’ve been able to soften the container just a little – (sales). See!

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. And you can let me know about your experiences with (sales) by leaving a comment below.


2 Responses to “meh… [sales]”

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