Regardless of the role you have or the industry in which you work, sales skills are critical for success. This often catches students off guard because they are certain they do not want to work in sales. I was with a group of employers yesterday and the reinforced the critical nature of sales skills for success in business.
Why does a job seeker or a current employee need to be concerned with their sales skills if they are not working in sales?
- During your job search you need to continually sell yourself to perspective employers. You need to demonstrate your passion for the work and the company while demonstrating the value of your knowledge and experience. If you can’t sell yourself effectively you will likely not land that job.
- Your sales tools include your resume, customized cover letters, thank you notes as well as interviews by phone, Skype or in person. Every interaction is an opportunity to sell.
Selling Your Ideas
- Regardless of your role in the organization there will be opportunities where you need to sell your ideas to others – whether it is your manager, senior management, other cross functional teams, etc. Your ability to present a concise business case for your recommendations will be a differentiator in your career.
- Whether you are advocating for a change in process, a new system, additional resources, etc. being able to clearly and effectively present the issues and the proposed solution are critical skills for success.
Influencing and Persuading Others to do what is Needed
- To succeed in today’s complex, fast-paced business environment, you need to be able to work cross functionally. In order to do that effectively, you must be able to influence and persuade others. You will often not have authority over the people who need to provide you the data or the resources but you need to convince them to do what is needed.
- Your ability to persuade and influence others across the organization will be critical to your success in the organization. It is easier to get results if you have authority over all steps in the process but to truly succeed you need to sell the value to others outside your authority.
- Networking is not limited to your job search. It is a critical component of your success within the organization. You need to understand how things are done, who has the information or resources you need, what other projects are competing with yours, etc. Building a strong network within the organization can make you more successful in your current role and help propel your advancement.
Do not shy away from sales skills. These are critical life skills that can positively impact your career.