Licence to sell

In most professions you need some kind of qualification in order to practice. Chartered Accountants need four years of academic study, three years of workplace experience and pass their NZICA exams. Electricians need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate in Electrical Engineering. Lawyers need a to get Bachelor of Laws Degree, be admitted to the Bar and hold a practising certificate from the New Zealand Law Society.
Sales is different. Most people who are in the sales profession didn’t leave school thinking, “I want to become a sales person”. They often fall into sales without being adequately trained. They learn on the job and make things up as they go. It’s kind of like having a DIY home handyman to rewire your house. You’ll have average results at best and disastrous results in many cases.

Sales is not about just showing up to appointments and winging it. Like in any profession, there are some crucial do’s and don’ts. Sales professionals that develop an effective sales strategy, follow a decent sales process and hone their sales abilities significantly outperform their peers.

I think that salespeople need to get a licence to sell so that they can better serve their customers, their company and themselves. Specifically, I think that sales people should learn the seven key sales capabilities before they are unleashed on the market:
  1. Activity management

  2. Creating opportunities

  3. Establishing trust and credibility

  4. Discovering the need

  5. Presenting the solution

  6. Closing and negotiation

  7. Retention and growth

If you were to rate you and your team on the above set of skills, how would you score? What capabilities do you need to develop? 

Onwards and upwards,


P.S. No disrespect to those professions like Real Estate and Financial Planning, where salespeople are required to be licensed. However, the qualifications mainly cover rules and regulations the “selling” component is limited.

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