You are in sales even if you aren’t a salesperson

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You are a leader. But are you a salesperson too? Indeed, even if your job description doesn’t include a direct reference to sales, part of your job is to sell something to others in your organization. Most of you might balk at that and decry the fact that you haven’t been trained in sales techniques, but think a minute: you are always selling something.

Consider these selling scenarios as examples:

  • You have realized you need to make a change to a major process in your organization
  • You want to hire a top-notch individual who has several offers to choose from
  • You deeply desire a promotion, so you need to convince your manager that you are deserving
  • You need to show your brand new manager what you are made of
  • You want the cooperation of a difficult peer to be successful in a high-profile initiative
  • You will be advocating for salary increases for your employees

These are only a few of the almost daily situations that require you to sell something to one or many people.

The point is that the process to get to the sale is very similar to what you need to be able to do every day as a leader. You need to create strong, trusting and ongoing relationships to “sell” to others. There is scientific evidence that the best salespeople embrace that principle. You should too.

Notice that this is about “ongoing relationships”. This means that you need to get to know those people who will help you and your organization over time. Stop avoiding those individuals that you find annoying or devious, and open up to them before you actually need them. Get to know them as human beings as well as employees, taking the time to ask them questions that will help you to learn about them. Open up and let them get to know you too.

Getting to know people so they will help you requires you to pitch in and help them when they need it. When it comes to your manager, that’s a given. But what about your employees, peers, contractors or clients? Have you thought about what they might need from you? Start now, and find a way to collaborate or compromise to give it to them. Because if you don’t, when it’s your turn to ask to sell them something chances are that they won’t be as willing.

You are always selling something. Take the time now to build strong healthy relationships with those around you. When the time comes for you to use your influence to “sell” them something, they’ll be much more likely to be willing to buy into it.

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.