Overcoming the Sales Stigma
Consultants and providers of professional services face a dilemma. On the one hand, business development is essential for personal advancement. On the other hand, we loathe the idea of selling. In order to overcome the sales stigma, we must first understand it.
In Why We Hate Salespeople, Tom McMakin notes:
There’s a strong, long held cultural value system among the professional services that selling ourselves is unseemly. Promoting ourselves is too crass. Too commercial. Too huckterish. Many, if not most, of us in professional services have felt this way at some point.
The aversion to sales—and salespeople—is not unusual. It’s almost universal as reflected in the consistently low ratings Americans give to advertising executives and car salesmen in an annual poll conducted by Gallup. We don’t trust salespeople.
Tom recommends facing that truth head-on. Cultivate relationships over time. Add value prior to the sale. Demonstrate trustworthiness. Don’t sell. Instead, empathize with your prospective client’s buying journey and be there for them when they need you.