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How to be skillful at sales


Sales is the best-paying job in the world. If you can do sales, you'll never be out of a job. And if your first thought is of a used-car salesman with white shoes and a matching belt, it's time to take another look at sales. Because it's everywhere.

Being skillful at sales is like singing, some people are just naturally good at it, but most people have to learn it, and practice it. If you're in the first category, congratulations, you're rich, and you can have anything you want. If you're in the second category, don't despair. Unfortunately, like singing, a lot of people think they're better than they really are.

If you think that you could learn a bit, that's a good start. And if you're thinking that you need to write down "7 Secrets to Salesmanship", then all you're gonna do is get ripped off. There are a lot of people out there who are more than happy to take your money and give you nothing in return for "shortcuts" to being skillful in sales. You may have already done that, and got burned. It's none of my business. There are a lot of bad people out there.

No, I don't want your credit card number. You don't have to sign on the dotted line anywhere, but I'd really like you to be better at sales. Or else shut up. Because people who are awful at sales are as annoying to listen to as people who are awful at singing. So please make a choice 1) shut up or 2) get better at sales.

And if you're wondering if you're doing sales, or attempting it, yes, you are. You may not be trying to sell me a used car, but you're trying to convince me that a particular band is worth listening to, or that your candidate for office is worth my vote, or that organic almonds will make me healthy. I hear it all of the time, and when I can I interrupt and redirect. Because it hurts my ears.

But actually I do want to hear from you. I do want to know why you think something is worthwhile. And that's what being skillful at sales is. It's all about communication, overcoming objections, answering questions. Skillful salespeople are a pleasure to listen to. They know when there's no chance of the sale, and they move on to another prospect. They know to stop talking after they've made the sale. They explain patiently, they don't beat people up.

So let's start with something easy. Try to convince someone to accept a compliment today. When you give someone a compliment, you're putting them in a position to accept it, or reject it. And that's what sales is all about. Telling someone "you look nice today" and getting back "What would YOU know?" is a great way to get the feel of being rejected. Because you will be rejected. And at that point you have to decide whether to continue with the "sales pitch" or not.

So what did you think of my sales pitch here? If you like it, please let me know by clicking the G+1 button below. If not, I'll understand.