Sales & marketing

Do you hate sales? 8 top tips for loving sales and selling more

Love hate relationship

I recently watched an online video from a thought leader in his field talking about sales. As a self-made multi-millionaire, he shoots from the hip and is always forthcoming and to the point with his opinions. It was his comments on sales people which have led to me writing this article.

He feels that in order to sell, you have to love sales because it’s full of rejections and without the love, you will not be strong enough to survive. So that’s fair enough if you have chosen a career path in sales, you could find yourself having a high performance, and a highly rewarded position in a successful company like I did in my former life. But where does that leave you as a start-up or micro business when you have a limited budget to employ a sales person?

So with the words of the 1980’s Pretenders classic song in my ears, “There is a thin line between love and hate”, I’ve started exploring if you can change your mindset from hating to loving sales.

Hate is a strong word, but you have no idea how often I hear it used in relation to sales. It’s usually accompanied by another standard phrase, “because I’m really bad at it, I’m not a sales person”. The sad news is in business, everyone has to be a sales person.

So, is it possible to move from hating to loving? I’m not a scientist or psychologist, but in my opinion it is possible to change.

My glamorous golfing career

At age 11, I was introduced to golf. Mainly because my Mum and Dad were members of Clydebank and District Golf Club. My parents both really enjoyed it and it was not unusual for them to play 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more in the summer months. Being too young to be left home alone, I was frequently promoted to “caddy” on our outings to the golf club. But this quickly wore thin when the stash of crisps and fizzy pop ran out.

So after many tantrums and false threats of “running away to join the circus” It became apparent that in order to make my pre-teens bearable, things had to change, so I opted for the “if you can’t beat them join them” motto.

My parents were chuffed I had come round to their way of thinking, so with a tatty old bag and a mismatch of clubs (second hand would be an understatement, maybe 10th or 11th hand would be more accurate) I decided to take up golf. Hey, how hard could it be, I’d seen people play and “caddied” often enough surely I would be a natural at it.

That couldn’t have been further from the truth!! I HATED it, I’m surprised there was a golf course left for the other players the way I would hack up the fairway, not to mention the numerous fresh air shots, and cries from my Mum of “your lifting your head”.

Grrrrrrr so what were my options? I was still too young to be “Home alone”, who knew I may have become the Clydebank version of Macaulay Culkin. Whinging and moaning was falling on deaf ears, it was up to me to move across the line from hate to love. So to do that I had to move from bad at golf to good. To do this I decided to remove myself from the course, which I’m sure the other golfers were relieved about as it meant their balls weren’t landing in my moon crater-sized indentations.

After a serious of intense professional lessons I learned the core skills I needed to play, an interlock grip, a good open stance and fluid swing. I decided to set up camp on the practice fairway, here it didn’t matter how good you were, there were no impatient players to hold up. I became like a boomerang, hit the balls, fetch the balls, repeat. Hour after hour just doing the same thing, with my driver, 5 iron and pitching wedge. Then, as if by magic a great thing happened. The fresh air shots and massive hacks of grass, became less and less, something was changing I was getting better and I actually started to quite like golf!!

Over the years my abilities grew and my handicap reduced, by the age of 16, I was playing with a handicap of 12 (for those who know nothing about golf, the maximum handicap for ladies was 36 at the beginner level and 0 at the professional level). I had been taken under the wing of Jock, an ex-professional player who gave his time to coach and mentor me, analysing my grip and swing until I had perfected my own methods. I even had the honour of being chosen for the club, county and West of Scotland teams. I actually LOVED golf and spent as many hours as possible playing, sometimes doing 2 rounds in one day.

So how can you take my golf analogy and apply it so sales?

1. You have to want to, because if you don’t want to you never will. You have a choice to whine and moan or do something about it.

2. Take specialist advice at the start of your journey, get professional help to teach you, otherwise you will start with self-taught bad habits, and will never reach your peak.

3. Learn sales methodology and techniques. I genuinely believe when it’s delivered correctly sales and customer service are EXACTLY the same thing. I teach my 4 key pillar areas of sales, behaviours, sales process, sales strategy and confidence. This gives a firm structure and teaches you the rules of sales.

4. Practice, practice, practice and practice again!! Human nature teaches us we love things we are good at, and the only way to get good is doing things over and over again. You don’t become a professional at anything without practising every day.

5. Embrace the rejections, don’t fear them. In the words of my buddy Will King the CEO of King of Shaves, “a no is not a no, it’s a no at this time”. Sales is a numbers game and for every no, you are one closer to a yes.

6. Mindset, if you don’t believe you can sell you won’t be able to sell. Have confidence in your products and services, if you don’t your customers won’t buy. If you need to make improvements to what you do, go and do it, then come back with gusto ready to hit the market.

7. Don’t ignore the problem, hating it will not make it go away. Sales are the lifeblood of any business. If you don’t sell you don’t have a business. Poor sales and cash flow are the main reasons businesses fail. Take action before it’s too late.

8. Always look for new ways. Marketing is evolving every day, use social media and marketing to raise your brand awareness to help generate enquiries from people who are aware of your company, this makes converting them to customers easier.

Embrace it, enjoy it, closing a sale is an adrenaline rush and everyone one needs that in their life.

Happy selling!

Originally posted 2022-07-04 11:12:38.

Alison Edgar MBE
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Alison Edgar MBE

Alison's mission statement "When it's delivered correctly, sales and customer service are exactly the same thing", does not come from a textbook, but a combination of my passion and experience of international hotel management and sales for some of the world's top blue-chip companies. Based on her work with entrepreneurs, Alison is now fortunate enough to work with multi-national conglomerates such as Sky, The Discovery Channel, Yell, and The European Commission, to teach their teams to think intrapreneurially which encourages growth mindsets, outside of the box thinking, and ultimately leads to an increase in both company-wide innovation and results.

Do you hate sales? 8 top tips for loving sales and selling more

by Alison Edgar MBE Time to read: 4 min