Non-selling professionals

The Sales Process for “Non-Selling” Professions

Despite my earlier assertion that everyone sells, there are some professions which, for any combination of reasons, prefer to think of themselves as “non-selling” professions.

Very often, medical professionals don’t like to think of themselves as having to “sell” their services. If someone gets ill or hurt and requires treatment, they will certainly provide it and bill the person (or more likely their insurance provider), but they’ll rarely think of what they do in terms of selling.

Lawyers often view things the same way. If someone requires their expertise, they are quite willing to put in the hours and submit a hefty bill for their services, but “sell” something? No thank you. It just seems too undignified.

In the non-profit world, many are horrified at the thought of “selling” people on the idea of contributing to their organization. Instead, they speak in terms of contributions, donations and endowments.

But the meaning of the word “sell” is very straightforward. According to Merriam Webster, it is “to exchange (something) for money.” If we use that simple definition, then the term sell can certainly apply to medical treatment, legal counsel and even contributions to a non-profit or religious organization. We exchange our money for the services they provide to us or to others.

Seems pretty clear cut to me.

However, as Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So if you prefer to think of what you do in terms of a fundraising process or a patient recruitment process or a client acquisition process, that’s perfectly fine. Please don’t let the name The Sales Process put you off or scare you away. Nearly all the elements of a successful fundraising campaign, patient recruitment effort or client acquisition process can be discovered, learned and adapted from that which we call The Sales Process.

Naturally, those who take money from others without providing corresponding value (for example, thieves, con men and some politicians) will not benefit from this material. But if your chosen profession requires you to actually provide value to people and receive payment for the value you provide, then you will certainly benefit from The Sales Process.

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