Everyone is in Sales

 

People typically fall into one of two categories: those who enjoy selling and those who hate it.

The people who hate it think sales is pushy, slimy, manipulative, and all about personal gain. However, we make a crucial mistake when we take this view.  When we undervalue the importance of selling, positioning, and persuasion, we don’t invest in our ability to do these things well, and we lose the opportunity to change hearts and minds with our ideas.

In my new book The Lens of Leadership, I challenge readers to reevaluate their perspective because the way we view things really does change how we do things. So today, I want to tackle how we view positioning, persuasion, and sales. Especially if you view “sales” in a negative light, I want to shift your perspective today.

If we have ideas that are valuable, worthy, and good, we must understand the principles of positioning to help our ideas, products, or services have success in the marketplace. In other words, “Selling is inherently persuasive, but it’s not inherently wrong” (The Lens of Leadership).

Many people perceive positioning as shading the truth, but leaders learn to see it as a necessary tool to unlock and unleash the potential of the concepts they need to communicate.

We see the power of positioning every day in effective marketing. A friend told me about two books he noticed at a local bookstore. Both books were on the same topic. One was beautifully written with powerful insights, but the publisher didn’t do much to promote the book. That book, packed with great ideas, only sold a few thousand copies. The other book had nothing new to say about this shared topic, but the publisher poured resources into creative marketing strategies to push the book to the public. While it lacked depth, it was positioned well, and the book sold over 100,000 copies. “The difference in the impact wasn’t the quality of the books; it was the quality of how each one was positioned” (The Lens of Leadership).

The same is true about any product, service, political idea, or strategy—the one positioned well will make a greater impact, even if it’s inferior to others. Being the best on its own is unfortunately not enough. It only matters if you’re able to convince other people that your product, service, or idea is the best. Somebody has to do the hard work of positioning.

The best writers don’t sell the most books. Remember the Twilight saga?

The most talented artists don’t always sell the most work. A piece of trash that a celebrity calls art would probably sell for more than a gorgeous painting created by an unknown artist.

The best singers don’t always draw the biggest crowds. Taylor Swift is a talented artist, but she’s not the best live performer. (I’ll be sure to get some hate mail for that one!)

The restaurants with the best food aren’t always the busiest. But the ones with the right aesthetic, brand, and marketing draw in crowds.

Don’t misunderstand me: Quality is important, especially to retain customers. But without the sizzle, people may never be willing to taste the steak.

The writers, artists, and businesses that find their unique position in the marketplace succeed even beyond the quality of their products or skills. Don’t be afraid to be the salesman if it means introducing the world to a product, service, experience, or idea that could make it a better place.

Stop judging the salesman, and start positioning your work.

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Today, business means more than just mere products and services. Your organization needs to stand for something. Branding is what you tell the world; leadership is how you make it come true.

No one knows this dynamic better than Kevin Paul Scott.

Companies turn to Kevin for advice on how to up the meaning-quotient in their businesses, so that employees and customers alike champion the business as if it were their own.

Let Kevin come and teach your group about how to build a business and communicate corporate values in a way that resonates with consumers.

His speeches include:
• Building a Business with Meaning
• Leading When the Majority is Wrong
• In Changing Times, Hold to Unchanging Principles
• The War for Talent: Recruiting and Retaining Top Tier Talent
• Essential Exchanges: What You Have to Give Up to Go Up