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Sales Job Titles

In all walks of business, there are sales people. There are some sales-phobic, mathematically challenged folks who believe that the word “sales” is a frightening, four-letter word. So they cleverly avoid using the s-word in job titles. Their sales people have more professional sounding, euphemistic titles like…

Whatever we call them, let’s review the importance of their role.

“Because it’s purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only – two functions, marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs.” – Peter Drucker

So if we can agree with Mr. Drucker that creating a customer is a critical function, are there opportunities to improve our processes with those who sell? Let’s examine the skill element of selling. Are selling skills more like riding a bicycle where once you’ve learned, you never forget? Or are they like playing concert pianist where it is never mastered and requires constant practice and refinement?

Is your approach to your sales and influencing skills more like riding a bike or playing concert piano?

Let’s examine the various roles that sales people play in the process of creating a customer. We’ve heard the saying “nothing happens until a sale is made”. What are the different roles that sales people play? For the sake of brevity and simplicity we’ll look at two: The Order Taker and The Professional Influencer.

 Order Takers

We continue to find that most people who have the word sales on their business cards fit into this category. They’re provided with leads, they connect, pitch, ask for the order. Sometimes they get it. Sometimes they don’t. If they don’t, they follow that shampoo bottle instruction: Repeat if necessary. And sometimes enough lathering and rinsing will get results. But are they selling hard or selling smart?

Professional Influencers

These are more rare than order takers. It is their skill level that makes them more valuable. Their ability to create a customer goes beyond showing up and taking orders. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Their influencing skills are honed to the point where objections rarely occur. Where business is won because of the quality of interaction not despite it. They understand the buying motives and behaviors of their prospects and the emotional aspects of decision making and use this insight to attract more customers, more often. They typically take a process orientated approach to their prospect interactions. They have the ability to help prospects to discover the right course of action with out pitching an unwanted product or service. The result is trust, respect and more new business.

Regardless of the title you have for those in your company on the front lines who are responsible for creating customers, ask yourself…

Buying DecisionAre they more like order takers or professional influencers?

Have you provided your sales people with the opportunity to take a professional concert pianist approach to developing their influencing skills?

If your order takers could embrace the concert pianist’s approach, how many more customers could you create each month?

If you could identify professional influencers in your hiring process, how many more customers could you create?

When you devote resources toward creating more customers, is it considered a cost or an investment?