To get ahead, sales professionals need to learn the language of the industry.
By Brie Pritchard, Director of Business Development, Sourcing Industry Group
As a sales professional, I never thought to learn another profession’s language to get ahead of the game. I am not talking about native language, but about industry language. While we may all speak the same language in corporate America, we often don’t understand what the other is trying to say.
When you go to the doctor’s office and receive a diagnosis, or when you try to understand what your bill says after getting a check-up, tune-up, court appearance or whatever it may be, we don’t always speak that specialized language and have to get someone to translate. It is frustrating, to say the least.
Sales professionals work with all kinds of industries, companies, people and cultures. Whether you work with lawyers, doctors, biologists, mechanics or procurement, they all have their own unique language. I’ve worked among CTOs, CIOs CEOs, VPs and the like, and while I consider myself a very good salesperson, I wasn’t always speaking their language, which cost me closing deals.
Does this sound familiar to you?
A little over a year ago I started working with Sourcing Industry Group (SIG), which provides thought leadership, training and networking opportunities to executives in sourcing, procurement, outsourcing, shared services and risk from Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies. I admit, I hadn’t worked with many people in procurement, supply chain or sourcing, but I had sent many RFPs, RFQs and contracts through procurement departments that never received a response, feedback or anything, which further compounded my frustration.
Then I took SIG University’s Certified Sourcing Professional and Certified Supply Management Professional courses that opened my eyes to the language that procurement, supply chain and sourcing professionals use. These courses helped me as a sales professional to realize what I needed to do in order to communicate more effectively. I learned how this group likes their contracts worded, the hard and soft skills of sourcing, the importance of stakeholders, the difference between procurement and buying, how to write a SOWs, sourcing business models and the list goes on! These courses were developed by practitioners, academics and subject-matter experts for sourcing and procurement teams, but the courses have an impact on those of us who work with them.
Now I can carry on conversations with sourcing and procurement professionals in their language, which allows me to better understand their problems so I can provide them with best-in-class solutions. I not only close more deals, but I am a more confident advisor because of SIG University.
I highly recommend that not just procurement, supply chain and sourcing professionals take professional development courses to stay on top of their world, but also providers to better understand the ins and outs of this amazing community of people who are so often misunderstood.