Selling Has Nothing to do With Selling
This is the busiest time of year for our sales team. They are working with our advertisers and potential advertisers lining up their advertising schedules for 2015. I am not a sales guy. I know that being in sales is tough, and I admire those who are successful doing it. Just like in business publishing, aviation maintenance operations couldn't be successful if it weren't for successful sales professionals.
I recall an Aviation Distributors and Manufacturers Association (ADMA) annual conference I attended a few years ago. The morning’s opening business session featured a presentation by Rick Farrell with Tangent Knowledge Systems titled “Selling Has Nothing To Do With Selling.”
I thought the speaker had lost it. How can anybody say that selling has nothing to do with selling? It would be like saying that knowing how to safety wire has nothing to do with safety wiring!
But I kept an open mind as I listened to his presentation.
Farrell said that effective sales people aren’t the ones who spend their time trying to sell their products or services. Instead, they focus on learning about the problems the potential customer has and then communicating how their products or services can solve that problem.
One attendee (let’s call him Dan) asked Farrell, “I am a good sales person, but often have difficulty closing the sale. What can I do?” Farrell said that the point is not to focus on talking (telling them how great your product or service is), but instead to spend more time listening.
It is sales 101, right?
But Dan just didn’t get it. At lunch, you could hear him proudly proclaiming to others at his table, “I think some of my customers enjoy me pummeling them with my aggressive sales technique. I think they really like it.”
Dan is probably the best sales person his competitors could ask for.
I am fortunate to have met many great people in our industry. Successful aviation maintenance professionals have many common traits. They are passionate about their company, not arrogant. They are knowledgeable about their products or services, not ignorant about them. They act with integrity and character, not lies and deception. They communicate the strengths of their company, not the weaknesses of their competitors.
The bottom line is that if you act with character and integrity, take the time to understand and listen to your customers’ needs, and help them overcome their challenges and problems, everything else will work itself out.
I guess Farrell is right – selling had nothing to do with selling.
Thanks for reading!