I mention this because, over the last few months, I’ve been accompanying salespeople on visits for two of my clients and what has horrified me most is the failure of so many to ask for the business (close the sale).
I remember very well when I was given my first ever business cards. They bore the name and address of my company, my name, and underneath my name the single word ‘Sales’. I knew what my job was and so did my prospects.
A few years later, whilst working with another company, my title was changed and my card bore the title Sales Executive.
A year or so after that it became the norm for the title ‘Sales Executive’ to be replaced with the title ‘Sales Consultant’ and soon after that the word sales was dropped by many companies. In my case I became a Financial Planning Consultant. In my opinion, the moment the word ‘consultant’ was introduced into the salesperson’s title was the moment the rot set in! Salespeople often stopped selling and became consultants and, as you well know, we do not get paid for consulting; we get paid for selling.
To be really clear – I have always believed in the consultative style of selling and to become my client’s most trusted adviser so they would never consider ever working with my competition. I’ve just never believed in going around doing a lot of unpaid consulting.