An attorney says to his colleague, “When I was in law school, nobody told me I’d have to do business development.” A financial planner laments, “What I really want to do is advise people on how to get the most out of their money… what I have to do first is sell my services.” An arborist often chooses her field because she’d rather spend her time with trees than with people negotiating business.
I’ve been on a bit of a rant about how people look at salespeople. (You can see more about that from our previous tip.) I recently heard one of my favorite commentators insult a political figure by calling him a salesperson. Now, I’ll not make excuses for all salespeople, but the ones I work with are awesome and true specialists in their fields, whether that be advising clients on their financial futures, the future of their businesses, or the state of their landscapes.
As you might know, I coach Enneagram interns as they make their way to professional certification. Many are very talented, yet only a few have the sales skills necessary to succeed in developing a coaching practice.
I feel a sense from many professionals that they believe if you market enough you’ll get business. I’m 100% behind the value of marketing, but I’m also aware that all the marketing in the world won’t actually close a deal no matter how great your marketing is.
In almost every type of service firm, highly skilled professionals must actually close business in order to perform the services they love to deliver. All too often, the greatest challenge is helping these professionals to not only see themselves as salespeople but also to be proud about selling as one aspect of their profession. Failure to recognize this dilemma and help these professionals overcome it will significantly impact business growth and individual success.
We believe that being passionate about what you do and making money are not mutually exclusive. Professionals can indeed be hugely successful in sales—all the while maintaining the respect of loyal clients, avoiding 80-hour weeks, and continuing to do the job they love.
If this sounds all too familiar and you’d like to change your relationship with selling, give us a call. We’re here to help.
Mary Anne Wampler
PRINCIPAL, TRANSFORM, INC.