Don’t Think You’re in Sales? You Are.

If you’re an entrepreneur, or even someone approaching your corporate job with an entrepreneurial spirit, you’re looking to build something—a product, an idea. Whatever it is that you are building, if you’re not “selling” it, you won’t go anywhere with it.

When I joined Bloomberg, it had 190 employees, with revenues of 70 million. By the time I left, it had eight thousand employees, and revenues of 3.5 billion. Mike Bloomberg told everyone who walked into his meetings, whether they were a developer, or a project manager, it didn’t matter, “Congratulations! You’re in sales!” They’d said, “I’m not in sales!” Yes, they were. According to Bloomberg, anyone who walked into that company was in sales—that was the mindset.

I’m not talking about the kind of salesperson—the mall salesperson, the car salesperson, etc.—that you try to run in the other direction from to avoid any kind of interaction . . . you know the kind. I’m talking about the ability to sell others on your message, your vision. It takes conviction in what you’re selling, passion about why and how it’s needed, and a good dose of emotion that speaks beyond facts—whether or not what you’re selling is a product, a service, or an idea.

Formula of a Successful Salesperson

Let’s say you’re selling a machine. This machine performs a task faster than any other machine. That’s great, and very factual. But merely communicating your machine’s lightning-fast processing abilities often isn’t enough to close a sale.

A good salesperson will not only speak to the facts, but highlight the benefits of their particular product or service. In the case of this machine, they would communicate how faster speeds can help a client solve a given problem. There is emotion wrapped up in that appeal: you’re saving people’s time, effort, and helping them make money. Those solutions help get them excited about the purchase as a part of making their future better.

Like an effective salesperson, it’s only through a speaker’s ability to make an audience feel something that they eventually “close the sale.” People, both in their personal and professional lives, make decisions that they feel are the right thing to do rather than simply the logical thing to do.

Think about what you’re trying to accomplish in your professional or personal life. What “sale” are you trying to close? Just remember, no matter your profession(s)—engineer, accountant, marketing, parent, sibling, etc.—you’re in sales. You are responsible for selling your ideas. If you don’t, you won’t get anywhere.