I don’t “sell”

Every now and then I come across professionals who say things to me like:


“I’m not in sales.”

“I’m not a salesperson.” 

“Selling leaves me cold”


When I ask about their roles, it turns out that while they’re “not in sales”, they’re responsible for :

bringing in new projects, or

building relationships with organisations who issue tenders or

identifying donors or partners or

achieving a certain $value of clients in order to qualify/maintain partner ranking…


So, yes they’re in sales; they just define what they do differently. 

They’re not alone either. 


There are loads of people in professional services firms: lawyers, engineers, surgeons, accountants, project managers….who think “sales” is transactional, requires little skill or experience and belongs more in real estate, cars, retail than in their neck of the business world.  And frankly, their role requires good relationships, lots of skill and experience and isn’t remotely like real estate, car sales or retail.  Different.

It’s a limited view, but it’s not uncommon. 

Let me be clear: if you’re responsible for delivering revenue of any kind and the success of your role depends upon generating fees, membership, partners…for adding clients to your firm’s cache… then I’m sorry you’re in ahem (clearing my throat)…um sales.

But I get it.


Sales has had a bad rap for as long as I can remember.  I’ve written blogs about how no one has the word sales in their titles anymore; everyone is an account manager, a business executive, an account executive, a partnerships manager, a business development manager, a new business team leader, a client services  It’s definitely a “thing”.

Here’s why thinking this way about selling could be a problem for you though… You’re more than likely missing out on a ton of potential additional revenue because you don’t want to be seen in the way you think a sales person behaves: pushy, oily, deceptive.

And I’d say to you: absolutely – please don’t behave like that!  But I’d also like to add, that great salespeople don’t behave like that.  The best salespeople I know, regardless of the length of sales cycle, buying cycle, industry, market, economy or price are better at:


listening than talking,

connecting than bombarding,

thinking about their approach before executing and

genuinely wanting to improve the lives of their customers through their product/service.


Most of these people have honed their craft, deepened their skillset and execute well on their plans.  They’re congruous and develop trust quickly because that’s who they are everywhere.  This is how I associate with sales and selling.  It’s why I love it so much.

2021 will require each of us to be more flexible and have more in our toolkit than we needed in 2019 for example.  Is it possible that now is the time to grow not just your perception of sales and selling, but your capability? Even if your title  doesn’t have the word sales in it?  Is it possible to even be proud to be a great salesperson?  How could that change 2021 for you, for your clients and for your organization?



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