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Sales – Still a Dirty Word

Sales – Still a Dirty Word

I attended a seminar yesterday, where the very professional and competent presenter, opened the session with the question:

“When I say sales, what do you think of – in one word”?  There were a few sales people in the audience, who gave answers such as professional, driven and ambitious.  However, the non-sales members of the audience gave answers such as; manipulative, sleazy and lazy to name but a few, but you get the idea.

As a card carrying member of the sales profession – yes, word profession chosen carefully – I was staggered at the responses.  I’ve been in sales for over 22 years and been surrounded by hard working, professional smart and educated people.  Yes, there have been guys and girls that I wouldn’t want near my mother in law, but these people are definitely in the minority. Even these people, would have to be described as being technically competent of the product or service, that we were providing to the business community.

So why is it that in 2013 sales has such a bad name?  Other parts of the business world are viewed reverently, but no business function is as important as sales. Sales makes the difference between making target and not. Sales – Production = Waste.

Is that sales, in all its guises; new business, account management and inside sales does not “sell” itself well to the wider world. Or is that there are still too many salespeople, who are acting unprofessionally. I was surrounded by many professional and educated people yesterday, so the fact that many of them gave the unflattering descriptions must mean it is true.

What can be done to rectify the situation; professional bodies have existed for many years, most people are too busy to report poor behaviour to management, because they are just so happy to have removed the poor performer from the office.  Ultimately poor behaviour will result in no new business and lost clients, as nobody will deal with people, who make them, feel uncomfortable.  What I’d also ask you to do, if you are in a situation, where the sales doctor is prescribing medicine, before (s) he has diagnosed any symptoms – politely point out their poor sales behaviour. Lose that British reservation and tell them, where they are going wrong.


Failing that – point them in my direction.  At Langdon Hamblin we are passionate about improving the standards of sales.  Unlocking the potential of sales teams, to drive higher performance.