Everyone sells for a living, in whatever profession they have. A journalist has to sell their ideas to an editor. A waiter sells ideas for the best main course. A taxi driver sells alternative routes to a customer when roadworks prevent the driver from taking the best possible route. We all have some kind of sales at the heart of what we do for a living.
And so the traditional role of the salesperson has changed. The sales process today involves education, marketing, training, guiding, and innovating. It’s not a distinct function any longer – if it ever was.
This audio interview with author Dan Pink describes how the sales process has changed. Pink used to write speeches for Al Gore and he wrote a very successful book about the birth of freelancing in the US – free agent nation. His new book is called To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.
Pink believes that the days of transactional selling are over, the days of solution selling are coming to an end as today’s sales skill is one of problem finding – correctly identifying and solving problems people didn’t even realise they had.
Are companies accepting that everyone at every level needs to be involved in sales for their organisation? It’s a process and we are on that road, but there are still plenty of companies with formal policies on ‘who can speak on behalf of the brand’ – we are not quite at a place where everyone is running sales just yet.
Photo by Maria Technosux licensed under Creative Commons