Of Course Sales Is About Relationships!
I am fuming at one of the most amazingly naive posts about “the Death Of Sales.” Ironically it’s written by a sales leader at one of the leading Marketing and Sales Automation company. Even more ironically, the call to action at the end of his post is to recruit partners to sell his company’s products. And his products are focused on helping sales people become more effective! WTF!!!!
He starts his article with the sentence, “Sales people are not necessary….” He claiming that it’s easy to claim that “relationships are the cornerstone of every sale,” and “there is no replacement for human interaction,” then saying none of that is true. He goes on to build a confusing discussion about leveraging technology to let customers navigate the buying process themselves, leveraging sales people only when necessary.
Of course sales is about relationships, human life is about relationships! Business is about relationships! Look at every function within and organization, it’s largely about how effectively people work with other people.
We need to get off the hype bandwagon for a moment and think about things. Human beings interact with other human beings, that’s why we are on earth!
The number of human beings that exist without any interaction, at some level, with other human beings is probably extraordinarily small.
Companies develop new products by having engineers, product managers, customers and others interacting with each other.
Products are manufactured by people interacting with each other to create factories, manage logistics, assure quality products are made, working together to solve problems and improve.
Great companies are built by people interacting with each other.
All of these human interactions are about human relationships–of various kinds.
Of course selling is about relationships, it’s inane to think of it otherwise.
But what does that really mean?
Relationships, how we interact and engage with people are not stagnant. They shift and evolve.
In ancient times, relationships were primarily with people interacting with people immediately around them. Possibly, that close community was oblivious to other communities miles away. Writing, art, music, drums, smoke signals, the occasional traveler started shifting the awareness and how people interacted with each other.
Fast forward through history and thousands of innovations have changed and enhanced the way we communicate, interact, engage and “relate” to one another.
Technology, even the most advanced AI technologies, don’t displace the need human beings have for relationships and interaction. Possibly they change what we talk about, how we talk, how we engage. Well done, they complement and enhance the quality of our relationships and improve the abilities we have to work together, grow, and achieve.
It’s obvious that selling has changed. It’s always been changing since Eve persuaded Adam to take a bite out of the apple. What we do, how we engage, how we create value for customers today is different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. And in 5 years, it will change again.
We’re not alone. Of course, engineering has changed, manufacturing has changed, customer service has changed, operations, finance, HR, …….
What has driven those changes is people, interacting with each other, developing and leveraging relationships. It’s through collaboration, learning, teaming, arguing, inventing and creating, that we progress as humans.
Sales people can be the center of this, sales people have the power—perhaps more than many others–to Change The World.
I have to admit that I tire easily of the guru’s, experts, peddlers of marketing/sales automation tools, and consultants continually pointing out the obvious. Many focusing on yesterday’s reality, rather than today’s and how we move forward.
Sales is about relationships. It is about helping people grow, learn, change their businesses, achieve their dreams and goals. It’s about helping our customers and our own companies. What we do, how we interact/relate, has constantly changed and always will.
Let’s stop declaring selling is dead! Let’s stop reveling in the past as a way to sell what we have now. Let’s look at the work of selling, what we do, how we do it, how we build relationships that create value and meaning in people’s/organizations’ lives. Let’s look at the new work of selling and what that means to each of us who proudly call ourselves sales professionals.
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