If you could look through the entire history of time, you would see that people who are considered successful actively engaged in one fundamental process:
Yes, a fundamental skill that breaks down barriers to consistent forward movement is the ability to move others toward your idea. In other words, you need to sell other people on your idea, product, or service.
Being successful involves moving others, regardless of your role:
- A teacher who wants to get out of the classroom and into administration needs to convince school leadership that he or she deserves the promotion.
- An entrepreneur who has worked with a development team on the creation of a new product must convince investors that the product is worth financing.
- A sales manager must motivate his or her team of account executives that this is the month to make hay.
- A doctor who is fully engaged must convince his or her patients that to live longer, happier lives they need to eat better and stop smoking.
- A freelance marketing strategist must prove to clients that he or she is worth a rate increase the next month.
You may be thinking that, yes, the key to success is being able to sell. I agree, but I would like to take that concept a step further. When we are out there trying to move others, a natural thing happens: We get objections. This is where the rubber meets the road. Objections are the reason that, next to public speaking, sales is the most dreaded activity.
I would like to suggest a different way to look at objections and, thus, the sales process. If there were no questions to be answered, objections to overcome, or roadblocks to be conquered, you would be cleaning toilets for a living. Our great universe provides rewards in proportion to difficulty. Diamond cutters are paid more than meat cutters. An admiral is paid more than a petty officer. An astronaut is paid more than an airline pilot. The CEO of a multinational, publicly traded company is paid more than a janitor. Why? The degree of difficulty of what they do.
Very seldom do people sell themselves. Doing so just is not human nature. But would you like a job in which you never faced tough, challenging questions or objections? Are you sure?
On the ladder of success, the jobs at the bottom of the ladder involve no objections and require very little skill. The jobs at the top of the ladder, though, require great skill, confidence, knowledge, patience, and kindness. These professionals deal with objections at every turn.
Where would you prefer to be on the ladder of success?
The answer to this question will tell you whether you need to improve at sales.
Those who become good at sales guarantee their job security.
Chris Spurvey is a Vice President with KPMG. His previous roles include a term as Chairman of the Board of NATI and as a Vice President with Plato Consulting. Mr. Spurvey currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Shallowly, a non-profit youth organization, and is the author of “It’s Time to Sell: Cultivating the Sales Mind-set”. Follow Chris on LinkedIn and on Twitter.