The following blog post was originally published on One Room in Beirut by Angela Solomon, Co-Founder of Jaleesa on April 11th.

 

If you consider ‘sales’ a dirty word, you’re not alone. Much like ‘diplomatic’, in some quarters being ‘a sales person’ is associated with lying and manipulation. I confess, even though spreading the word about Jaleesa is part of my job, the idea of ‘sales’ makes me think of unwelcome attention from shop assistants and cold calls from unknown phone numbers.  But that’s not the full picture.
Jaleesa is one of six startups selected for the Touch Innovation Program, a growth-stage support and mentoring programme run by Touch (one of Lebanon’s largest tech companies) and delivered with Arabnet (a top startup support organisation). Today the programme kicked off with a workshop by Abed Agha, founder and Managing Director of social influencing agency Vinelab (check out their amazing and intense landing page to see how savvy they are).
I joined the workshop today by Skype from London – uncoincidentally, the Touch Lab has an amazing internet connection. When Abed warmed us up with some questions on sales, I typed my answers into the Skype chat.
So – here’s what I got wrong about sales:

Q1: Are salespeople born with innate skills?

Angela’s answer: I think being prepared to sell is connected with self-confidence and also about how passionately you feel about the thing you are selling. I wouldn’t say I was born a salesperson but I really want to spread the word about Jaleesa and I will always therefore be selling it in a way, whoever I am speaking to.
Abed’s answer: Sales techniques can be taught – but we are born manipulators from the moment we take our first breaths. We cry to attract attention, to get what we need. Some people say they’re introverts and they can’t sell – that’s wrong! Introverts are the best sales people. The best way to learn sales is to keep trying, and keep failing. If you know why you lost a deal, you have the recipe for future success. You absolutely have to go out there and interact with clients – if you don’t, nothing I tell you will help you.

Q2: Do people want to be sold to?

Angela’s answer: I think we don’t want to be manipulated, but we do want information about new things that might make our lives better. Being sold to makes us feel important.
Abed’s answer: People enjoy being sold to! I’ve had people I sell to tell me how much they’re enjoying it.

Q3: Is sales a science or an art?

Angela’s answer: 80% science. I think sales is a combination of intuition and deployable learned techniques.
Abed’s answer: Sales is a science disguised as art. You need to understand the science. That means you need to understand the psychology of selling.

Q4: Is B2B sales emotional or rational? And what about B2C?

Angela’s answer: I think anything that involves human decisions is emotional, but businesses try through procurement methods to reduce the subjectivity in the sales decision. B2C sales is much more emotional, because the individual customer is making their own decision. But when it’s a big purchase they are more likely to try to deploy logic to decide whether it’s the right purchase for them.

Abed’s answer: Sales is a process of creating emotions – that’s how you get customers to your product. Building an emotional bridge or rapport with the contact in a company makes it emotional.