Well… unless you’re imaging a sleazy used car salesman. And I do apologize to all the professionals that sell cars, but clichés become clichés for a reason.

Sales is not a dirty word.

Rather, if you are selling some product or service that saves money, makes money, increases peace of mind, or makes the consumer happy; whatever you’re selling is doing the buyer a favor.

You are not imposing on the buyer, you are helping the buyer.

Why then, are we afraid to ask for the business? Ask to talk to the decision maker? Ask to take a prospect to lunch? Ask for a referral? Ask what else is going on with your client’s business? Ask for a business card?

Legitimate Answers: Fear of rejection and not enough time.

Even More Legitimate Answer: Business Development not perceived as important as doing great work.

The old mind set – “If I do great work it speaks for itself. I don’t need to strategize or spend time developing new business.”

The current and future mind set – It’s a whole new world out there. Competition is everywhere and even venerable organizations must reframe their cultures.

Lerch Bates, a 65-year highly respected global elevator consulting firm, faces this challenge today. Their employee-owned company is comprised of the top experts in the field. They’ve had a good ride; but they know that going forward they can’t rest on their laurels.

Thank you to Bart Stephan, President and CEO and Jeff Marsh, VP – Business Development and Marketing for asking me to keynote at your Consultants Forum Meeting in Tampa this week on how to Speak For Yourself to Grow Business. You’ve asked me to address this very issue of creating buy-in for experts – who HATE the word “sales” – to become comfortable with selling!

You are the inspiration for this blog.

Bart, Jeff, Tim Murk, Joe Gibson, Eric Rupe, Tim Isbell, and Joe Bledsoe, all proud professionals at Lerch Bates, have spent much time talking to me about how to make “sales” a great word.

Here’s how: Think of “sales” as a step-by-step process of creating relationships. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. But before your prospect can trust, he has to know you and like you. AND THAT’S WHAT ‘SALES’ IS ALL ABOUT. It’s about the incremental steps to get current clients, past clients, and prospects to refer you, get to know you, like you, and finally — become his trusted advisor.

If organizations stick to the old mindset — beware. The competition will bite you in the butt and you may end up having to sell your car, which at this point is a used car. Just saying…

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