By Maribeth Kuzmeski
How often do you admit that you’re in sales? In the beginning of my career, I cringed at the thought that I could be in sales. The fact is that no one wants to be sold, therefore, it is not all that popular to be in “sales.”
Today I recognize that most everyone is in some form of sales – including, of course, me!
Popular or not, selling skills are critical to growing a business, increasing profitability, and ultimately thriving. However, sales skills are only beginning to be 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 still 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 don’t make it because when sales don’t come quick enough, failure is inevitable.
Extensive education, practicing of the craft, and research would help improve sales skills. Students can receive a Masters or PhD in all sorts of obscure disciplines (like a PhD in Area Studies??), but a skill that every business owner and professional needs at some level in order to survive and thrive in business is hard to find.
More and more universities are beginning to offer sales courses, and this is a trend for the positive, but we have a long way to go. Many MBA programs still offer no sales-related courses, and those that do offer only a single course in sales management.
Sales will long be the ugly discipline until business leaders support it and universities recognize the need. Sales is not about convincing others to simply do things you want, but it is about presenting a compelling case for a product or service that others may need or want.
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? I personally am reading Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Manifesto right now and am continuing to learn more about this incredible craft.
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