Since Managing with Aloha has been released, I’ve found that the single biggest misconception about incorporating the values of aloha into the business environment is this, paraphrased from more than a few tentatively asked questions in my presentations and coaching:
You bet you can.
Interacting with people on the basis of shared aloha is the only way I know of to make the sale and have everyone feel good about it. Not pitched to, not ripped off, not misled, not undervalued, not used and abused, yet still sold to, and happy for having made the transaction. ‘Sell’ need not be a four-letter word (with push, hawk, plug, deal and hard sell — what four-letter word were you thinking of?)
Motto of the Mea Ho‘okipa of the Club Shop at Hualalai
Selling does have a stigma to it. It’s largely been my experience that most people instinctively hate to sell (culturally a virtual given in Hawaii) yet businesses need sales to happen.
Sales = cash flow.
More cash in than cash out = profit.
This month our Ho‘ohana theme is about selling, something all of us in business have got to do. We’ll call it Bottom-Line Aloha, the Art of the Sale.
Count me among those who when pressed with the fundamentals of it will say, “I hate to sell.” In fact, Gallup aficionado that I am, the only book in the strengths management series that I have not read is the one called Discover Your Sales Strengths. Never even bothered to pick it up and scan the jacket blurbs, for the voice in my head would be saying, “Nope, not for me. No sales strengths to cultivate in this manager, not a single one.”
Over the years, as I’d interview people applying for sales positions who said the exact opposite thing, “I love to sell!” I’d try my best to get into their heads and figure out exactly what it was they loved about it, completely unable to personally relate to their enthusiasm. (I do have a theory on this that I’ll share with you in future posts this month.) Those were usually the longest interviews I’d conduct because I was so sure they were trying pull something over on me. Yes, I was convinced they were selling me something. You get the irony too? Unbelievably, back then I didn’t.
Since founding Say Leadership Coaching I’m discovering that I really enjoy marketing, however I still do not care for sales. I think it stems from the fact that I am a very lousy closer.
But once you become an entrepreneur and self-employed, hating sales and not making the sale is not an option. You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself, but it if you don’t, you better get someone to do it for you, and you better take care of everything else so they don’t encounter any roadblocks.
In my case that’s what I’ve begun to do in assembling my ‘Ohana in Business, creating partnerships with people who have the strengths which I don’t have. And in particular, if you are a good sales person and Mea Ho‘okipa I’m looking for you!
I’ve been told by many people that Managing with Aloha is a very good book, and it is a product that I should be very proud of. I am proud of it, but I’m pretty miserable at personally selling it, other than when I get in front of a room full of people and give a speech about what’s written in it (if I may say so, I am good at that). I give thanks daily for the wonderful people I have at Island Heritage who do the day-to-day sales for me, and the generous bloggers who have evangelized about MWA on my behalf.
Thing is, my book is only one of the things that must be sold at Say Leadership Coaching, and being in business, chances are you’ve got to sell something too.
So this month kākou, together, we are going to tackle Bottom Line Aloha, the Art of the Sale, me in my business, you in yours. Let’s learn together, and get better at making our profits happen, doing it with aloha.
Let’s talk story, shall we?
Footnote 1: If you love sales, have learned to manage salespeople well, are a leader passionate about sales reinvention, or can share any nuance of the art of the sale at all (perhaps a sales book review?) We want to hear from you this month! Please participate in our April Talking Story Meme. Details are here.
Footnote 2: I’d like to give credit where credit is due: I took the phrase Bottom-Line Aloha from the write-up for Managing with Aloha in the current Spirit of Aloha, the in-flight magazine for Aloha Airlines. It’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think?