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     Hearing sales, I automatically picture a balding and perspiring car salesman with a bright yellow ‘SALE’ sign. This prejudice stems from the sad reality that I encounter a barrage of telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen more than software designers offering the latest processing equipment. “What’s the difference?” would be a question I would’ve asked. Well, here’s why “sales” isn’t such a bad word.

    Picture walking into an interview. In fact, it’s an interview for your current SAP position. You sit down, the interview blurs by, and you find out a week later that you got the job. Congratulations, you just sold yourself! You convinced the company that they need you, and that you’re an asset. In fact, each time you sell a product, you’re selling yourself first.

    Now, this software designer may have some incredible tech to offer. He may even be selling this fantastic software to the largest distributor of bananas worldwide. Knowing that this software will greatly advance their business, both the company and the designer will benefit from this sale. The designer is rewarded for the hard work put into the newest, cutting-edge software and the business is now able to improve their distribution so we can get our daily dose of potassium. Without sales, we would’ve never been blessed with the banana in the first place. Surprised? A massive disease broke out in Panama and spread across the world killing all the Gros Michel bananas, which were the most ubiquitous at the time. Now, had businesses not sold the Cavendish banana, we wouldn’t have that wonderful fruit sitting on our desks today.

    What if this software has the potential to analyze data aggregates from a strand of DNA and instantaneously find a corrupted, cancerous cell. The software designer needs to sell his tech to the hospitals, so that they can start saving lives.

    This is why sales is so integral. Without selling products, and without the competition of sales, there would be no need for innovation and, consequently, progress as a species. We are already constantly selling ourselves, but without the sale of products, the economy would collapse and we would be stuck living a primitive lifestyle. So although there are some unsavory aspects to sales, when that software designer is selling a product like SAP HANA, that will revolutionize businesses and has the potential to save lives, he’s more so on a humanitarian mission.

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  1. Jodi McIntosh

    I really enjoyed reading this article as I have been answering the question “how did you get into sales” for quite some time now.  I started my career as an ERP implementation consultant, evolved into product management and brand development and then morphed into consultative sales … all over the course of 15 years, but what I realize in retrospect and how I answer that question is that I have been in sales my whole career.  As a consultant, I was constantly selling my ideas, design concepts, reasons for companies and users to change etc.  And, as a product owner, I was always selling why we should innovate a solution a certain way or selling to sales people why and how they should position my products.

    I have never looked at myself as a “sales person” rather someone who is out there learning about others’ challenges, needs and goals as well as educating them about how our solutions could potentially help them.  My types of sales is mostly a reiterative and evolutionary process, that is highly interactive and consultative in nature, but there will always be the type of sales that are sheerly more transactional in nature and without much human interaction, but I would contest, that fewer and fewer buyers view it as purely transactional even if all the buyer is doing is interacting with a computer … we all expect a easy experience and great customer service to be built into an online system even (hence, selling is still at play because the website itself is selling, and that website was built by a person who wants to help sell products!)

    Thank you for sharing!!

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