Recently I was having a conversation with a fellow sales trainer about why some people find selling such a challenge. One reason we agreed on was that the words “sales” and “selling” have a ton of unhelpful mental baggage associated with them.

Just test this out for yourself right now. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down or draw all the associations that spring to mind when you think of the words sales or selling.

  • What words come to mind?
  • What images pop unbidden into your minds eye?

I’ll make a confident prediction that some, if not all of the following ideas appear in your list;

  • Sharp suit,
  • Flash car,
  • Smooth talker,
  • Used cars,
  • Market traders,
  • Foot in door,
  • High pressure,
  • Sales pitch,
  • Con man,
  • Pushy,
  • Dishonest.

Was I right?

The problem is that all these concepts are negative, unhelpful and frankly out-dated so perhaps we need to update our sales vocabulary.

So what other more positive words would I personally associate with sales? What phrases better represent an effective buyer-seller relationship?

  • Buying facilitator,
  • Trusted advisor,
  • Consultant,
  • Expert,
  • Listener,
  • Questioner,
  • Understanding,
  • Helpful,
  • Decision support,
  • Honest & ethical.

Is it possible to change the public’s perception of sales?   I believe so. After all, if Skoda can go from being the butt of all bad car jokes to an award winning and highly sought after brand then the mental associations linked to selling can surely be changed too. It’s up to all of us to demonstrate the value of sales through our actions.

What do you think?

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