Defining Leads for Marketing & Sales
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Digital Deal Rooms - Top Uses
The New B2B Sales Game
Your Story is Your Strategy
The New B2B Sales Game
Prospecting with Video
The New B2B Sales Game
Selling for "Non-Salespeople"
The New B2B Sales Game
How Sales Coaching is Meant to Work
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Getting Your Sales Pitch to Echo
Opportunity Creation (All)
Reviving Stalled Deals [Part 1]
Opportunity Capture (All)
Think "Warm Up" Versus "Call Planning"
Opportunity Creation (All)
The Sales Pipeline Gamechanger
Managing The Pipeline (All)
What is an "Income-Producing" Opportunity?
Managing The Pipeline (All)

Sales is Blue Collar Work Masquerading as a White Collar Job

The CEO of a mid-sized company pointed out today to me that "sales" - or specifically, building a strong sales function - is the one initiative that seems to defeat the best minds, or at least, frustrate you to the point of "aargh". He asked me if there were any answers?

The answers are the same as they always were, even though we've gone digital and virtual and everything is more complex. I said to him that sales is a poor word for what we do. "Sales" is 2 things, depending on whether you look at it from the viewpoint of the business or the buyer.

The BUSINESS role of personal selling is to bring certainty to income production. That means it's essentially a financial function to begin with. It's about guaranteeing that income will arrive on time. So it needs to be measured extraordinarily accurately. If you don't get the "measurement" piece right, nothing else really works. Start there. And "measurement" does not mean making loads of calls. It means following ratios which leads to producing the right outcomes against the clock.

On the BUYER side, Sales is the "quality dialogue" function - the main usefulness of a salesperson to a buyer or prospect is that they bring a quality of dialogue no other channel - so far - can match. And this is the area where sales really falls down, because we confuse "talking" and a whole bunch of personality garbage with quality dialogue. Quality dialogue is not the gift of the gab. It takes thought and effort to master, and it's an unnatural rather than a natural skill. All useful and difficult skills are unnatural, otherwise, they wouldn't be called skills.



"Sales" is blue-collar work, masquerading as a white collar job.

It's been "poshed up" over the years. We talk around the real work. We have been taught to search for "buyer pain", which has the unintended consequence of killing quality conversation. Sellers are being taught to "challenge" when they haven't even mastered the skill of exploring the buyer's current circumstances - a skill Stephan Schiffman at DEI labelled "status quo" 30 years ago. There is a whole industry that obsesses over empathy, authenticity, vulnerability and emotional intelligence. All interesting white collar stuff, but not blue collar enough to deliver timely income nor quality dialogue. Quality dialogue creates useful conversations, which creates an opportunity for the buyer and the seller. It's not "selling" that does the work; it's the conversation. The conversation is the tool, and it's a tool that takes time to master, so that the buyer quickly sees value, even if they never buy from you. This is a high bar to work to. It requires some apprenticeship, learning, failure, retakes and eventually you reach a "yield" level you can live with and make a good income from. Sales is no longer a career you can wander into and admire yourself in the personality mirror.

The Lesson: Hire a sales leader who understands blue collar work and knows what "workers" need to do in order to be successful. Ask them to bring a toolbox and phase tester.

Michael McGowan |  Sales Virtual

michael@salesvirtual.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

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Defining Leads for Marketing & Sales
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Digital Deal Rooms - Top Uses
The New B2B Sales Game
Your Story is Your Strategy
The New B2B Sales Game
Prospecting with Video
The New B2B Sales Game
Selling for "Non-Salespeople"
The New B2B Sales Game
How Sales Coaching is Meant to Work
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Getting Your Sales Pitch to Echo
Opportunity Creation (All)
Reviving Stalled Deals [Part 1]
Opportunity Capture (All)
Think "Warm Up" Versus "Call Planning"
Opportunity Creation (All)
The Sales Pipeline Gamechanger
Managing The Pipeline (All)
What is an "Income-Producing" Opportunity?
Managing The Pipeline (All)

Sales is Blue Collar Work Masquerading as a White Collar Job

The CEO of a mid-sized company pointed out today to me that "sales" - or specifically, building a strong sales function - is the one initiative that seems to defeat the best minds, or at least, frustrate you to the point of "aargh". He asked me if there were any answers?

The answers are the same as they always were, even though we've gone digital and virtual and everything is more complex. I said to him that sales is a poor word for what we do. "Sales" is 2 things, depending on whether you look at it from the viewpoint of the business or the buyer.

The BUSINESS role of personal selling is to bring certainty to income production. That means it's essentially a financial function to begin with. It's about guaranteeing that income will arrive on time. So it needs to be measured extraordinarily accurately. If you don't get the "measurement" piece right, nothing else really works. Start there. And "measurement" does not mean making loads of calls. It means following ratios which leads to producing the right outcomes against the clock.

On the BUYER side, Sales is the "quality dialogue" function - the main usefulness of a salesperson to a buyer or prospect is that they bring a quality of dialogue no other channel - so far - can match. And this is the area where sales really falls down, because we confuse "talking" and a whole bunch of personality garbage with quality dialogue. Quality dialogue is not the gift of the gab. It takes thought and effort to master, and it's an unnatural rather than a natural skill. All useful and difficult skills are unnatural, otherwise, they wouldn't be called skills.



"Sales" is blue-collar work, masquerading as a white collar job.

It's been "poshed up" over the years. We talk around the real work. We have been taught to search for "buyer pain", which has the unintended consequence of killing quality conversation. Sellers are being taught to "challenge" when they haven't even mastered the skill of exploring the buyer's current circumstances - a skill Stephan Schiffman at DEI labelled "status quo" 30 years ago. There is a whole industry that obsesses over empathy, authenticity, vulnerability and emotional intelligence. All interesting white collar stuff, but not blue collar enough to deliver timely income nor quality dialogue. Quality dialogue creates useful conversations, which creates an opportunity for the buyer and the seller. It's not "selling" that does the work; it's the conversation. The conversation is the tool, and it's a tool that takes time to master, so that the buyer quickly sees value, even if they never buy from you. This is a high bar to work to. It requires some apprenticeship, learning, failure, retakes and eventually you reach a "yield" level you can live with and make a good income from. Sales is no longer a career you can wander into and admire yourself in the personality mirror.

The Lesson: Hire a sales leader who understands blue collar work and knows what "workers" need to do in order to be successful. Ask them to bring a toolbox and phase tester.

Michael McGowan |  Sales Virtual

michael@salesvirtual.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

Defining Leads for Marketing & Sales
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Digital Deal Rooms - Top Uses
The New B2B Sales Game
Your Story is Your Strategy
The New B2B Sales Game
Prospecting with Video
The New B2B Sales Game
Selling for "Non-Salespeople"
The New B2B Sales Game
How Sales Coaching is Meant to Work
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Getting Your Sales Pitch to Echo
Opportunity Creation (All)
Reviving Stalled Deals [Part 1]
Opportunity Capture (All)
Think "Warm Up" Versus "Call Planning"
Opportunity Creation (All)
The Sales Pipeline Gamechanger
Managing The Pipeline (All)
What is an "Income-Producing" Opportunity?
Managing The Pipeline (All)

Sales is Blue Collar Work Masquerading as a White Collar Job

The CEO of a mid-sized company pointed out today to me that "sales" - or specifically, building a strong sales function - is the one initiative that seems to defeat the best minds, or at least, frustrate you to the point of "aargh". He asked me if there were any answers?

The answers are the same as they always were, even though we've gone digital and virtual and everything is more complex. I said to him that sales is a poor word for what we do. "Sales" is 2 things, depending on whether you look at it from the viewpoint of the business or the buyer.

The BUSINESS role of personal selling is to bring certainty to income production. That means it's essentially a financial function to begin with. It's about guaranteeing that income will arrive on time. So it needs to be measured extraordinarily accurately. If you don't get the "measurement" piece right, nothing else really works. Start there. And "measurement" does not mean making loads of calls. It means following ratios which leads to producing the right outcomes against the clock.

On the BUYER side, Sales is the "quality dialogue" function - the main usefulness of a salesperson to a buyer or prospect is that they bring a quality of dialogue no other channel - so far - can match. And this is the area where sales really falls down, because we confuse "talking" and a whole bunch of personality garbage with quality dialogue. Quality dialogue is not the gift of the gab. It takes thought and effort to master, and it's an unnatural rather than a natural skill. All useful and difficult skills are unnatural, otherwise, they wouldn't be called skills.



"Sales" is blue-collar work, masquerading as a white collar job.

It's been "poshed up" over the years. We talk around the real work. We have been taught to search for "buyer pain", which has the unintended consequence of killing quality conversation. Sellers are being taught to "challenge" when they haven't even mastered the skill of exploring the buyer's current circumstances - a skill Stephan Schiffman at DEI labelled "status quo" 30 years ago. There is a whole industry that obsesses over empathy, authenticity, vulnerability and emotional intelligence. All interesting white collar stuff, but not blue collar enough to deliver timely income nor quality dialogue. Quality dialogue creates useful conversations, which creates an opportunity for the buyer and the seller. It's not "selling" that does the work; it's the conversation. The conversation is the tool, and it's a tool that takes time to master, so that the buyer quickly sees value, even if they never buy from you. This is a high bar to work to. It requires some apprenticeship, learning, failure, retakes and eventually you reach a "yield" level you can live with and make a good income from. Sales is no longer a career you can wander into and admire yourself in the personality mirror.

The Lesson: Hire a sales leader who understands blue collar work and knows what "workers" need to do in order to be successful. Ask them to bring a toolbox and phase tester.

Michael McGowan |  Sales Virtual

michael@salesvirtual.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

Want To Be Notified When New Content is Released?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.