People have many fears. Obviously, there are natural fears which have helped us to survive as a species but let’s leave them to scientists. This time, I would like to review the work-related one: the fear of change.
There is a theory saying that the more intelligent person you are the more fears you probably have. It is the matter of imagination and anticipation abilities. Our imagination helps us and is a serious roadblock at the same time. It helps us to be creative but shows us all possible misfortunes as well. That is why people usually are afraid of changes. They are afraid to intentionally change their job, their profession, their company, or the country. On the other hand, they are not happy when it happens without their approval. That is why employees often stick to one job even if it is not well paid and frustrating. They do it to avoid a higher risk. The problem is that the change is the only constant part of the business. It will happen anyway.
I get bored easily. I need new challenges every three to four years. Perhaps, this is why I love changes – even if they hurt in the beginning. Changing my professional path many times during last 20 years was an exciting experience and I am very happy I decided to do every single change. The hidden truth is that I had felt confused, stressed, afraid, disappointed and overwhelmed many times. Every change comes with difficulties, ups and downs, second thoughts, and obstacles before you succeed. The bigger the change you do, the more serious problems usually emerge. Such situations have made me realize that there is just one skill that can help me survive all these real and imagined disasters. I am talking about selling. High selling skills give me a sense of comfort. I am sure that I will always manage.
Selling is a blessing for one group of people and a nightmare for another one. Some people think that working for the HR, Finance, Operations, and IT departments means they do not have to sell. Highly skilled professionals like lawyers, doctors, engineers, financial advisors or architects embrace an opinion: “Nobody told me I would have to sell – this is not for me!”
The very inconvenient truth is that eventually everybody has to sell. It doesn’t matter what profession you practice. Your success depends on your selling skills. Your company’s success depends on your selling skills as well.
Let’s start with the HR and the recruitment process. You may feel that you are a buyer here and the candidate is the only person who is supposed to sell herself/himself. Are you sure? What about the candidates who are so difficult to hire because of their skills or the market demand for them? Are you sure that selling skills can’t help you to convince these people to work for your company?
The change management process, which happens sooner or later in each department or company, is our next example. It should be smooth, especially if the changes are reasonable. And yet what is the common reaction? “Again?” “We don’t need it!” “I will wait and they will probably give up.” “I’m too busy to change.” “What a stupid idea!” “I will wait until my colleagues do it.”
Don’t you think that it would be much easier to succeed in three steps?
1. Build the trust.
2. Sell the idea.
3. Take control of the whole process from the very beginning.
Let’s get back to non-selling professionals. Do you really like the never-ending-decision-making-process practiced by your clients? And what about all these “beauty contests” they do among you and your competitors? Are you happy when they expect a full project specification or a free advice before they commit? I bet you hate these situations. They waste your time and energy.
If we agree that everybody sells from time to time, why is being a salesperson perceived as a not-so-much-respected profession? Is it not serious enough? People might think about salespeople as pushy, untrustworthy, or annoying. Who wanted to become a salesperson as a child? Every kid wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, an actor, a dancer or a superhero.
Let’s be honest. There are thousands of poorly qualified salespeople all over the world. But there are great ones as well. What makes the difference? Let’s imagine that you have magically upgraded your professional skills and suddenly you can:
- Understand people’s needs
- Deal with objections successfully
- Make things happen faster
- Detect lies and misleading statements
- Prevent your client’s, boss,’ colleague’s, spouse’s, child’s change of mind
- Protect your interests
- Win the negotiation game
- Present your ideas brightly
- Deal with people’s resistance
- Stop wasting your precious time
How do you feel about these magical skills?
The best sales professionals can do all of these things. They practice every day and they succeed. Perhaps it is the time to embrace these skills? Magic won’t be necessary.