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BFS Capital Blog

How To Get Better At Selling

November 13, 2013

At some point you may have heard that people who need to know how to sell aren’t just in sales; selling is a part of pretty much everything we do. It’s true, more so today than ever before: Day in and day out, we’re in situations where we need to formulate opinions or arguments (pro or con) and then persuade others, from friends to family members to the clerk at the supermarket, to a point of view or a course of action. Or how about when you’re explaining your idea, trying to get buy-in or telling someone why you did what you did?

Most of the time we don’t realize it, but we’re actually selling.

Nowhere are our sales skills more tested than on the job. And very often if we’re having difficulty getting something accomplished or getting others onboard, the real underlying culprit isn’t our professional skills set or technical competence. Instead, the problem is in our sales skills or lack therefore.

That’s why contributor Mark Riffey makes the case on that every job is a sales job. And because of that, Riffey says, everyone should be taking advantage of some kind of sales or customer service training program like one he describes in his area. After all, whatever your business, you and your employees need to know how to maximize every encounter with customers. Most people don’t come by selling skills automatically. But these skills can be learned and practiced, so that you’re not leaving opportunities unexplored. And Riffey says sales training should be a must for everyone in every organization, regardless of their job:

From the occasionally snarky customer service person having a bad day to the kindest delivery person, from the nicest hotel concierge to the annoying little computer tech support person with no patience… the interactions of any and all of these people [have] a substantial impact on your sales.

Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer says that small business owners are really sales people in disguise. Sales, he says, is the biggest hat a business owner wears and without it, the other hats are useless!

As a small business owner, practically everything you’re doing has a sales component. Gitomer provides excellent examples, from convincing a bank of your creditworthiness to satisfying an unhappy customer. It’s all sales. Business owners learn selling skills, he says, because of desire, fear, the spirit of adventure, and simply just because they have to. Many business owners hone their sales skills and become quite good at selling. A few of the reasons for this: The ultimate responsibility for everything stops with you; you get a certain kind of direct feedback that others don’t; and you may have the primary relationship with the customer.

Don’t confuse selling—in any sense—with being pushy or overbearing. Instead, a successful sales process involves building relationships based on trust and understanding the other’s perspective. But as a business owner, whether you need to learn or fine-tune your sales skills, no worries. Sales expert Gregg Schwartz offers several ways for every business owner to get better at selling. You can try working on some of these even before you get more formalized sales training, and you can apply them across many different situations which require “selling.” Start here to start upping your sales IQ:

    • Record yourself delivering a sales pitch—for an idea, to ask for a favor, or to persuade someone to buy a product.


    • Be consistent and practice your skills in different situations.


    • Remember that selling is about solutions.


    • Have a clear and simple value proposition, regardless of the context.


    • Don’t force it!

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young /

How many different ways are you using sales skills every day? Have you taken sales training to enhance your skills?