Thursday, 24 March 2011

Governance in Selling

Governance is the term used to describe a company's responsibility to look after the interests of their shareholders (or for that matter their clients) - it is the absence of this sense of ethics - this 'duty of care' -  that has left the markets in the state that they are currently in.

I feel that it is time to include the concept of governance in the training and development of sales professionals.

I have always believed that selling has been treated as the poor and ugly step-sister of business - it is not perceived to have the same value as other business 'professions' such as marketing or finance or technology. It is fundamentally an 'accidental profession' in that few if any sales people choose to go into selling as a career choice - and if they did they were quickly dissuaded from doing so by parents and peers concerned at the lack of status and the negative stereotype of the job.

Yet nothing happens without a sale - and there is little need for other business professions unless a sales person engages with a client and has them invest in the product or service on offer. I believe that we need to re-claim selling from the old stereotypes and place it into a 21st century perspective.

The old image of selling is dead anyway - bringing information to the client is no longer a part of a sales person role - the client's got Google.

What they need now are advisers and partners - skilled in ethical and personal engagement and interpretation of information. They want people who can add  value to their decisions - especially as the buying cycle now begins on-line long before there is even a selling cycle.

There must be a new day for selling - returning to its original root of being of service. Creating a greater sense of ethics or a concept of governance must be something that sales educators and leaders alike must see as fundamental to the shaping of tomorrow's (and today's) sales people. Only then can we truly begin to create a new image and a new stereotype. Only then can we say that we have stepped on the road to being a true profession.  

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