If you were to enter a movie theater in any major city and had an opportunity to ask every audience member what he or she does for a living, you'd, no doubt, hear a wide range of professions or occupations. What you might not realize, at first blush, is that everyone is, in reality, in sales. I can hear the push back from the professionals who are reading these words. "What do you mean? I went to law school for 3 years and passed the bar exam I'm an attorney!" "Are you crazy? I gave up my youth to go to medical school and do an internship and a residency. I'm a doctor!" "How dare you? I'm an investment adviser!"
I am not trying to insult anyone, however, if you don't believe me, think of how many clients you'd have, as an attorney, if you didn't put your best foot forward when you meet with potential clients and interact with current clients; consider how many patients you'd have if you were arrogant, dismissive, and rude as a doctor; contemplate how many clients you'd have, as an investment adviser, if you didn't return your clients' phone calls reasonably promptly, if you didn't have their financial goals and tolerance for risk in mind when you bought or sold financial products for them and if your primary concern was to sell products that brought you the biggest commissions or fees.
We are all being judged by our clients, patients, employees, employers, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, children, friends, etc., and, if you think that selling is beneath you, then you might not be living up to your full potential as a professional, employee, employer, husband, wife, and on through the list.
I think that the bad connotation of the word "sales" must have arisen from the unfavorable depiction of used car salespeople on television. These salespeople were portrayed as fast-talking, disingenuous, slick people who were only interested in moving old cars off the lot. They were not depicted as people who had any interest in the welfare of their customers.
These days, since there is a wealth of information on the Internet about all kinds of professionals and since there is a lot of competition for every client and patient, it behooves EVERY professional to be aware of, and to employ, the practices of good salespeople, such as the following: exhibiting good manners; finding out what the clients' needs are and filling those needs instead of telling clients what they need without knowing much about them; behaving like a knowledgeable adviser instead of taking an it's my way or the highway approach; persuading the client or patient to do something that you KNOW will be good for him or her, even though the individual might, initially, balk at the suggestion; behaving with integrity and only promoting those goods or services that would truly benefit the client or patient.
Regarding your relationships with your loved ones, there are numerous examples of the need to employ sales talents. For example, instead of nagging your husband to make an appointment for a physical, don't you think you'd be more effective if you were to describe how having a physical would benefit him? If you believe that a friend is behaving in a self-destructive manner, isn't it better to use examples of others who have gone down the same path, recognized their mistakes, sought professional help, and turned their lives around in a positive way?
Sales is not just about convincing someone to purchase your goods or services: it is also about persuading someone to do something that you think or know will benefit him or her.
Finally, first impressions are important. When you meet a new person, he or she will form an impression of you from the way you dress, your manners and mannerisms, whether you make eye contact, your handshake, whether you're engaged in the conversation and a good listener, whether you're friendly, what you say and the manner in which you say it, etc. Whether you are interested in getting new clients or patients, at that particular moment, is inconsequential. The fact of the matter is that if you try to make a good impression on everyone you meet, you will always come out ahead. I am aware that it is impossible to be charming and affable 24/7. That's where sales ability comes into play.
I am not suggesting, here, that you be phony. I AM suggesting that, as much as is humanly possible, you present the best version of yourself that you are capable of presenting to everyone you meet. Doing this will help you, immensely, in the pursuit of your professional and personal goals.
Do you see what I mean by the statement that everyone is in sales?