Who says that selling is weak? That's just wrong

At a recent round or sales training events staged by the IGD, the speaker announced that justifying yourself was weak, and the more you sell the weaker you look. Sorry. That’s wrong. If you are part of a selling organisation you know with every fibre it’s wrong, and all your successes prove It’s wrong.

Selling is the fundamental skill of an account manager. Selling is presenting your initiative to the buyer in a way that focuses on the benefits to them, making them want it. A concept can be misunderstood because of poor explanation. Then it doesn’t persuade. And bad selling costs suppliers money. You know that your job is not just negotiation, nor is it just selling. You have to combine the two and be expert on how to sell with negotiation in mind.

It’s true that if you are selling to a tactical buyer, you may Indeed be wasting your breath by using logic while they are game-playing. But in these cases you simply need to address the behaviours on display and get them listening.

There have always been aggressive buyers and I have had fun sparring with many Rottweliers over the years. Trade consolidation gave them more power and now there is a batch of consultants stoking them even further — to the point that they give the trade a bad name for bullying suppliers.

What is great about our trade Is the fact that sophistication and intellectual capability Is mixed with aggression and tactics. That combination makes It Impossible for the robotic salesman arid the bargaining urchins alike.

Customer sophistication, however, means that selling does work, and if you learn to neutralise their tactics, rather than just saying the same thing louder, sophistication wins through — at least for a while.

Suppliers have a track record of caving in under pressure — incentivising buyers to revert to prehistoric bullying. Rectifying this may cost money in the short term as you demonstrate resolve — while they punish you in the hope that your old weak behaviours will reappear. It’s a form of re-education. Persevere.

And to anyone who tells you selling is weak, you should be clear. That’s not only an Insult to Intelligence. It’s not even good negotiation.

Sentinel Management Consultants deliver sales, negotiation, planning and finance training courses for our clients worldwide.