How often do you openly share that you’re in sales? The fact is, no one wants to be sold, so sometimes, sharing you’re in “sales” is not positively received by others.
But popular or not, selling skills are critical to growing a business, increasing profitability, and ultimately thriving! However, it is apparently so shunned as a discipline that it isn’t even taught where we get much of our initial business training – at universities. Some schools offer a class or two in sales, but the real true selling skills are expected to be inherent or discovered on your own. It is no wonder job positions that require sales have incredibly high turnover. It is also no wonder many small businesses fail. If the sales don’t come quick enough, failure is inevitable.
Sales will long be the ugly discipline until business leaders support it and universities recognize the need. Sales is not about convincing others to do things they want, but sharing benefits of products and services with those who have a need and inspiring them to take action.
Harvard Business Review ran an article sharing some statistics about sales education (“Teaching Sales,” by Suzanne Fogel, David Hoffmeister, Richard Rocco, and Daniel P. Strunk). The article noted that most MBA programs offer no sales-related courses at all, and those that do offer only a single course in sales management. The article also shared that there are progressive schools like DePaul University that opened a Center for Sales Leadership (where the article’s authors work). The program is thankfully becoming more popular with 700 students enrolling each quarter into the Center’s sales education courses.
For those of us long out of college, when was the last time you took a sales course, read a book on sales, or seriously focused on the acquisition of new clients using improved methods? Maybe it’s time we lead the way and request education from our acclaimed educational institutions!