"Everybody sells"

04.05.2021

A review by Elvan Büyükkal and Simon Deckert (exchange students at Turku UAS)

“Everybody Sells” this statement has now accompanied our fellow students and us for a whole semester. Our lecturer, Dr. Timo Holopainen, used every opportunity to teach and explain the meaning of this statement. At the end of our sales semester, we want to reflect on this statement, summarize it, and add our own experiences. This article is written based on the Sales Semester at Turku AMK and some Forbes, New York Times, Harvard Business Review articles, and the book “Everybody Sells” by Jeff Kaplan.

“Everybody Sells” is a statement with a clear message. But how should this statement be interpreted, and why is it important that everyone internalizes it? Selling surrounds us every day, within the family, at work, and in our whole life. Life is about rights and duties, and functions according to the principle of give-and-take. It should be clear that in most situations whether in life or at work, one prefers to take rather than to give. And that is precisely the point why everybody sells. It is important to remember that selling is not necessarily only about the financial aspect, but often other issues are more important to us. Like in technical sales, it is not only about the price, but properties such as quality, delivery time, and service are equally or even more important.

Similarly, in the private sphere, as an earlier slogan said, “here are some things money can’t buy for everything else there’s Mastercard.” For many private individuals, time, health, and joy are more important than money. But how do you achieve these things? For a better understanding, let us take two situations, one from the private sphere and one from everyday business life. It is a friend’s birthday, and you want to make him a present that will make him happy. But you cannot achieve a financial benefit with a gift; the giver wants to feel and see the recipient’s joy. Of course, you can directly ask what someone desires, or you can listen closely.

Sometimes it is those small things that really define what a gift is. Often it is not the gift itself, but things like the packaging or the way it is delivered. The question is whether to take the time to call or visit the person, or post a birthday message on social media, or simply have a gift delivered to the recipient via Amazon. In this example, the complexity of selling becomes clear because both sides have different weightings for each point. If these points are not openly and clearly communicated, this relationship between the two people will always be difficult. This applies equally to business and personal relationships. To make “Everybody Sells” even more precise, we expand the circle of protagonists for our business example to include the entire company.

A technical sales process is about the interaction between the salesperson, the buyer, the relationship between the companies, and the appearance of the entire company. When the customer enters the supplier’s building for the first time, this is his first impression. This is not made by the salesperson but by the receptionist. Often the appointment is planned and prepared by an assistant. These are two examples of people who are involved in the sales process without being salespeople. The same applies to aftersales services, such as installation, delivery, accounting, and other services. For example, if a delivery vehicle with the company’s brand on it is parking for hours in front of a school’s fire station entrance can undo years of marketing work, even if the entrance is not needed during that time. In the age of Twitter and the like-button, these kinds of situations happen quickly. Of course, the other people are not only a threat to the sales process; they can also be an enrichment. Excellent service is not provided by the seller but by the company.

Selling is everywhere and is done by everyone. Therefore, it is vital to empower each person in doing so. It is not necessary to train every employee to be a classic salesperson, but it is necessary to show them their role and impact in the sales process. “Everybody Sells” is not just a banal statement; it shows us the complexity, diversity and peculiarities of the sales process.

Authors: Elvan Büyükkal and Simon Deckert (exchange students at Turku UAS)