I used this title from D. Robinson’s book. I thought it summed up my thoughts so well! I have Sales in my job title, however I work selling in an industry that has the military and government as its end customer. We also work with many wonderful industry partners in this process, but ultimately we are working to sell a product to enable the capability where satellites are needed to communicate on the battlefield and for intelligence. It’s not flashy and it’s not to be taken lightly. It is very interesting work, yes, but it is serious work that could end with disastrous consequences if it doesn’t work. Therefore, if I am selling my product or service, it is only because I know it is an appropriate and effective solution for that situation.
People in general don’t like to be sold to. Sales is most often viewed as a tactic and process to persuade you to spend money. But everyone sells. I am reminded that no matter what you’re up to in life, you have to SELL something, whether or not it’s selling an employer to hire you, selling your direct reports on your ideas, or selling your spouse on where to go on vacation. Presidents have to sell the country on why more defense spending is crucial (hello US Space Force!). Congress has to sell their constituents on why they voted to pass a budget, and military officers have to sell their leadership on why they need more resources.
There is a feeling by some that they are ‘above selling’. I have met people, whether or not they come out and say it, that feel selling is not why they went to college, is not what they were trained to do, and is not something they are comfortable practicing. But there may be no single skill you could possibly learn that correlates more with your life and professional success than learning sales. Am I biased? Heck yes. I have been in sales and marketing as my background my whole adult life. I do understand that most people have not spent a career in sales, but I do think that the value of it is misunderstood and often overlooked.
While some forms of sales may have a reputation of those trying to sell you what you don’t need, or to just try and ‘make it work’, that’s not the way it is when sales is done right. As a professional in the satellite communications industry, the importance of proper communications is not lost on me! As a sales professional, most of my time is spent working to understand my customers’ needs, especially as I understand everything that is at stake if those needs are not met. Do this, and become a trusted advisor. Do this, and you will start to prove to others that SELL is not a four letter word.