To sell is to be human
Early on in the COVID Era (you know, back in the 15 days to slow the spread period), one of my connections on LinkedIn — someone who works in "new business development"— posted something to the effect of:
"For the next 30 days, just stop trying to sell on this platform, and just be human."
You know, we were in the middle of a pandemic, and so we should all stop what we're doing and commiserate with one another. Stop selling, because sales is somehow less than human.
When I brought this up on my podcast to guest Mark Hunter, author of A Mind for Sales, his reply hit the mark (no pun intended):
"If you have the ability to help someone, it's your responsibility to reach out to them."
Mark's point goes to my gut reaction to the first statement about "just be human."
To sell is to be human.
If you see sales as something separate from being human, then by all means stop doing whatever you're doing that you confuse with sales.
Sales is about having conversations; conversations about how you can help someone.
Often, we have to proactively reach out to other people to have those conversations. How you reach out makes the difference between an effective salesperson and a not-to-so-effective salesperson.
And often, how that latter salesperson reaches out leads people to believe that "sales" is a dirty word; that sales is something less than human.
As we teach my clients, a business is in existence to make a positive impact on people.
The people who receive that positive impact give you money in return.
You help them; they help you.
It's a cooperative, not a coercive, relationship.
And it's 100% human.
As we've learned during the past year, the pandemic didn't suddenly mean people didn't need or want your products or services. And the businesses that focused on what their clients wanted, adapted to perhaps provide those products/services in new ways, and continued to help people are the ones which have made it through this era ready to thrive.