Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sales- A respected profession ?

The Times July 4th 2011 came out with a supplement yesterday on Sales Performance some 15 pages with articles, advertorials ( labelled commercial feature) and advertisements.

It is good to see the newspaper supports the Selling Profession.

Beth Rogers from Portsmouth University’s Business School in her piece for the supplement stated 7% of UK working Population is in sales related work. She describes the still lingering stigma of the ‘S’ word.

Beth pinpoints that much of bad selling is because conscientious people are caught in a web of

• Out of date training
• Poorly designed reward systems
• Aggressive peer competition
• Hire-and-fire-management
UK salespeople are woefully under qualified despite the NVQs of the nineties, launch of National Occupational Standards since 2005. Both academic and vocational and distant learning qualifications are available.
Many reputable companies have launched their own academies to develop the skills of their salespeople.

( left -An example of a Company's International Academy in different languages.)
Indeed Beth Rogers heads a MA in Sales Management ( see link for course at end of this post)

She wished in her article to dispel three common myths about selling

Selling Myths:

1. "Sales people are born not made" yet the diversity of people who fall into selling would seem to contradict this. Certainly from the huge variety of folk come on my courses they come form all sorts of disciplines etc. e.g. sciences, engineering, health and law to name a few..

2. "Salespeople only work for money" All of us are more productive when we have some intrinsic motivation- the personal satisfaction in a job well done. Research suggests that sales people are no exception in that regard.

( left TACK's Sales barometer Study concurs that Money is not the only motivator.)

3. "Close the deal or your children starve".

This 'medieval approach to motivation' as Beth expresses it, can drive promising candidates away from sales as a long-term career choice.

Beth quotes a saying “ the quality of everything depends on the thinking behind it”
Both vocational and academic courses can provide a full cycle of learning to provoke creative, analytical and reflective thinking can be applied to real commercial challenges.

( CIM's centrefold in Raconteur On -Inaugural Sales Investment Index in Raconteur On.More than 60% of companies are optimistic about economic prospects over the next year.)

Research into sales performance provides convincing evidence that teaching questioning approaches, listening skills, respectful challenge and ethical negotiation can lead to better results for them and their teams.

The essence of customer focus is high levels of competence in the sales department who are qualified and respected in "a respectable profession !" as Beth puts it.

Link to MA in Sales Management at Portsmouth University

CIM's Sales Investment Index

Link on recruitment and careers in Sales

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