Redefining The Value Of Sales To All Professions
Gregory Scott is the Director of Partnerships for the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University (OU). With the largest selected sales program in the country, Scott’s mission is to help undergraduate students at OU gain a skill set that will make them marketable candidates in the job force. More importantly, he aims to make sales interesting for the next generation and everyday professionals in the modern workforce.
He joined Negotiate Anything to share his best tips on sales and marketing, explain the changing dynamics of sales, and demonstrate why this particular skill-set is fundamental to almost all professions.
Why Everyone Should Care About Sales
Scott is not oblivious to the stigma surrounding the sales industry. When asking students what they think of when they hear the term “sales” he expects to hear words like sleazy, pushy and unethical. That said, he encourages everybody to reframe the profession in terms of what it really comes down to: helping people.
While money is a factor, in almost every sales transaction there is at least one person who is looking for a need (or desire) to be met. In selling a product, service or experience, salespeople are helping to meet that need.
“If you start with the idea that ‘I’m here to help people’ that is where you start to see the light bulb click on,” he shared.
Scott also reminded listeners that as humans, we are always selling – whether we realize it or not. Take, for example, job interviews. These are nothing more than attempts to sell ourselves as a qualified and desirable candidate worthy of the position.
He encourages all professionals to adapt a sales mindset – whether or not it’s officially in their job description.
“Ultimately it’s job security,” Scott explained. “Your humanity and putting skills behind your humanity is the thing that ensures your viability in the professional world.”
To begin applying these skills, he recommends honing the ability to ask great questions – as this will help you get a clearer idea of what the other party really wants or needs.
The Changing Dynamic of Sales
While Scott maintains that some of the more transactional roles of salespeople are going away, he argues that in the broader landscape relationship-based sales approaches continue to prevail.
“What isn’t going away is a consultative seller – somebody who is leading with insight, sees the overall marketplace, becomes an expert in their industry and is able to provide value to their clients in ways that appear more like a trusted advisor,” he explained.
Essentially, the most successful sales professionals are going deeper into the process by identifying additional ways they can provide value to the client (offering a wider range of services and products). Because of this, Scott asserts that there is an increased demand for salespeople who can ask insightful questions and listen for valuable responses.
For this reason, it’s important for professionals (particularly those in sales) to remain sharp with new training and skills.
There are those who may argue against the need for a new approach to sales. Scott shared his thoughts on the importance of remaining open to change in any industry.
“At any given time, you have the opportunity to say – do you want to stay the status quo or make a change?,” he said. “But what we know is that you aren’t really staying the status quo, you are actually declining relative to the people who decided to evolve.”
Society is evolving, and so are most industries. Because of this reality, it’s important to remain open to learning new skills and approaches. Otherwise, you risk losing connection or relevance, something Scott believes clients will pick up on.
“Your customers and clients aren’t dumb,” he shared. “You really aren’t going to get away with saying ‘this is how it always is, so just trust me’”.