The famous Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson once said: ‘Everyone lives by selling something’. This is indeed very true, but, of course, especially so in the world of business. In fact, in the USA alone, over 11 million people are involved1 in jobs that involve direct selling, which is defined as ‘face-to-face selling away from a fixed retail location’.2 However, for all managers it is also necessary to ‘sell’ to others, whether what is being sold is in the form of an idea, or something more tangible such as a service level inter-departmental agreement. No business will survive without the ability of its key people to sell. As noted by O’Hair et al.3 ‘Selling products, services, or ideas occupies a great deal of time in organizational life.’ At times we specifically have to sell ourselves — the obvious example being at selection interviews (see Chapter 13). However, in all instances where we are making a presentation (or sales ‘pitch’) others will evaluate us as well as what we are promoting — in other words they will ‘buy’ or reject us.4 Exercise 8.1 contains a Selling Inventory that measures the extent to which you are likely to be a skilled salesperson. You should complete this now. The scoring key for this is given in Exercise 8.4 at the end of the chapter.
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