I admire salespeople! I admire them in part because I believe that salespeople hold the power to restore American economic growth! Yep, that’s what I said. America’s team of professional salespeople bear the responsibility at a grass-roots level for lifting our country above the flat GDP of recent years and for restoring the confidence and commitment to moving the nation forward. At the same time as professionals we need to reject the assignment of blame, reject the attitude of the politicians and pundits who seem focused on seeking scapegoats for our economic realities rather than seeking solutions for them. Maybe there was mismanagement at a few bad firms, and maybe the consequences of those bad decisions did temporarily overwhelm the really great management of many, many small and mid-sized companies. But it just doesn’t matter anymore; it is time to press on.
So, if you are reading this on the Sales Evolution blog, when I say sales professional I’m pointing at you! America’s business developers hold the power to restore GDP, full employment, and begin mending the budget and trade deficits. Our capabilities in concert go far beyond the meager powers of the President or Congress or Wall Street. And judging by the robust market for sales training and self-help materials, our nation of sales and business developers are well prepared and eager for the task. After all, salespeople are trained in getting things done, managing time, creating solutions, driving decisions and controlling priorities. And most importantly, about delivering results – that’s “job one” for salespeople and what clearly distinguishes them from everyone else in the organization; even beyond the C-suite!
But how do we do it? Well, it’s not going to be easy, but it all starts with us having the kind of realty testing conversations that strike at the heart of the fears and uncertainties that are causing our prospects and clients to choose inaction over moving forward with new business initiatives including buying our stuff. This conversation is not about trying to sell them on your stuff and you are not trying to persuade them that they need to change the way they are thinking. It is about having open unbiased talk with them so that you can learn about the deep uncertainties they are having about dealing with the issues and aspirations that are critical to the growth and well-being of their businesses; as related to our products and services. This talk might bleed into areas that are not directly related to your business, that’s okay. The important thing is that you create as many of these conversational opportunities, with as many prospects and clients as possible. Just remember: STOP SELLING and start having MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS concerning THEIR UNCERTAINTIES. Keep it focused, but that’s all you do; nothing else. Then stand back and watch the magic. Especially in challenging times they will respect that a salesperson is willing to carve out a “sales-free-zone” for them to talk about all of the business fears they’ve been carrying around in their heads. And they will be grateful that you created the opportunity to allow the conversation to be about them. Every trained sales professional has the capability to empower these important “Certainty Creating Conversations” with their prospects and customers and if they do we are going to dramatically change the American business landscape for the better.
So, there’s little doubt in my mind that the “United States Sales Force” has the intelligence, the skills, the energy and the tenacity to tackle the duties of selling America back to vitality at the street by street level. And I’ll even go one better - mobilizing America’s sales talent has the potential to lift us beyond our previous levels of economic achievement; enabling us to tackle even larger challenges that we as a nation are eager to confront but sadly have been lacking the leadership to meet, beat and defeat.
So now it’s up to us. Either we adopt a larger role in our success, our customer’s success, our community’s success - and in our nation; or we fall back and accept the role of victim that is frankly getting to be too tedious for many American’s to tolerate. Either we envision ourselves as the engines of change, of improvement, of the future or we don’t. But each of us had better make up our minds because in this battle our country is counting on its sales force to take the offensive. And if it is not we salespeople who take on economic mediocrity who will do it? If not now, when will it happen?