19–20 May 2020, University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Austria

Joy of Sales

“SEX sells” is a common saying in advertising. However, the question remains

“Is selling sexy as well”?

In 2014, the Harvard Business Manager magazine featured an article by Phil Kreindler and Gopal Rajguru titled “The Crisis of Sellers.”

We interviewed 300 buyers who bought products or services worth at least $ 75,000 a year and asked them to rate the sellers ‘performance, and nearly half of the customers (45%) were dissatisfied with the sellers’ performance in B2B.” In a previous survey in 2004, only one in five customers (18 percent) was dissatisfied.

As sales manager, this finding should make you think. In particular since over the last years, an increasing investment on supporting sales functions with trainings and digitalization (i-pad, smartphone) occurred.

But what has changed?

Buyers have become more professional. Information is easier and faster to access. Most companies have a sophisticated purchasing process. Buying centers examine potential suppliers very carefully. Above all, the EXPECTATIONS of buyers on their business partners has increased immensely.

A social issue comes along with it – sellers have a rather low status among the population (in contrast to firefighters or doctors), as evidenced by a global GfK study from 2016.

Young people want to have a cool, sustainable and meaningful job. The work-life balance must be right – all signs that selling is not sexy, right?

Not quite!

Today, an increasing number of acquisitions take place on the internet. The unpleasant “cold calling” over the phone or in person does not work anymore.

Consequently, there is more focus on a professional appearance on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, …) – a digital twin (avatar) represents the extension of my person. Networking and a digital understanding lead to more success than many calls each day.

The following attributes are crucial for a good seller today, like

  • Knowledge,
  • Curiosity,
  • Empathy,
  • Understanding
  • Connected thinking.

Selling today is an honest consulting at eye level. The prejudice that selling is all about quantity and hard selling belongs to the past.

It is all about interpersonal contact!

And isn’t it more fulfilling to be interested in other people and their business challenges and being able to help?

That’s exactly when humans find somebody “sexy” – to find someone who has an interest in oneself, emphatically reacts and supports me in my concerns and help.

Not for nothing do many people find firefighters “sexy”. Precisely because, they offer support and help, and we trust them.

Be a problem solver, be proud to help people – and become a “selling firefighter”!

(@Eigner A., 2019)