According the Bureau of Labor statistics in 2012, 1 out of every 9 people were in a job classification that was considered sales. So what about the other eight jobs? Well, according to a study conducted by Daniel Pink (author) in his book To Sell is Human, the other 8 people are in sales as well, just not the traditional sense of the word.
In his best-selling book, Daniel conducted a study titled “What do you do at work.” They gathered 9,057 respondents around the world. Of the 9,057 respondents they paired down the results to a sample size of over 7,000 adult full-time workers in the United States.
The research had two major findings:
- People are spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling. Meaning they were spending that time persuading, influencing, and convincing others do get something done, not purchasing a product. That means 24 minutes out of every hour, they are trying to get someone else to do something.
- People considered this time critical to their success.
The findings come from people in various types of roles. The research also showed some other interesting findings.
- 37% of the respondents said they devoted a significant time to teaching, coaching, or instructing others.
- 39% said they devoted significant time to serving clients or customers.
- 70% reported that they spent at least some of their time “persuading or convincing others.”
Later in the survey to probe the respondents further. The survey asked respondents to rank 0-100 on a slider scale. “What percentage of your work involves convincing or persuading people to give up something they value for something you have?” The average reply among respondents was 41 percent.
It is now fairly obvious that we are all in the business of sales, or as I like to call it influence. We all have to influence other people or convince other people to listen to us. Without the ability to do that it is very difficult to get anything accomplished.
The more important thing I want to point out here, is that if 1 out of 9 jobs in a company are traditional sales roles. Meaning you are paid to go out and generate business by acquiring customers. It means the other 8 out of 9 remaining jobs spend at least 40% of their time connecting with customers. Then why is sales training, or any kind of training for that matter, only conducted with the sales team?
Since you are reading this, the chances are you are not in a traditional sales role based on the data. However, my hope is that I at least got you thinking about the fact you do spend a lot of your day trying to persuade and convince others in some form. So the question is how do you do it?
Here are three simple ways to influence, persuade, and maybe even convince others to your way of thinking.
- Ask questions: This is the number one way. People like to solve problems on their own. Especially since you are most likely in a peer-to-peer situation and you can’t just tell them exactly how you feel about something and this is the way we are going to do it. Nope instead you have to get buy-in from the other person.When you become more skilled at asking the right questions, at the right time, to a person that you are trying to influence, you can win them to your way of thinking. They start to convince themselves through their own words by answering your questions, that what you are suggesting is the better way. If, your way is truly the better way.
- Listen: Seems pretty easy doesn’t it? Come on, we all think we are better listeners than we actually are. But the facts states the opposite. That we truly aren’t very good at listening. Nope. We listen long enough so we can respond. Well, if you are trying to convince or influence someone else to get them to move, then we have to become better at listening to their perspective and then tailoring our response around that to ask a good follow-up question to nudge them in the direction we want them to go.
- The best way to win an argument is to avoid it.–Dale Carnegie. Yep Mr. Carnegie couldn’t have said it any better than that. You might be thinking, “Does that mean, I don’t stand up for what I think is right.” Read the quote again. No. That is not what Mr. Carnegie meant, nor do I. Instead of arguing about whatever it is you are trying to get someone else to do. You instead use basic human relations to get them thinking differently.
Obviously, this blog isn’t long enough to equip you with the skills necessary for you to always get others to do what you want them to do. The skills required to move others require constant attention and constant reinforcement and development.
Do you have the skills? As a leader or manager, do your people who are working with your customers have the skills necessary and required to move customers into loyal customers? We know your cost of acquisition is high for a customer in most cases. Then you turn those high value clients over to people you have invested very little, if any time or money into, to persuade and convince those clients to stay loyal to your company and your product.
My unsolicited advice. If it is not obvious. As you move into 2017, you must increase the amount of money you spend on the people who have to either work with your customers (which is everyone) and everyone who has to work with their peers and colleagues (which is everyone). So this is the 9 out 9 employees within your company.
How much money are you willing to lose because of lost clients, lost production because people can’t get others to move, or lost employees because managers aren’t equipped with the skills to get others to move?
To your success and your future.
References: To Sell is Human;The surprising truth about moving others. Author: Daniel Pink. Published by Penguin Group (2012)