Are sales professionals more than just people who sell?

Something that has been on my mind lately is the difference between a “true” sales professional and someone who merely sells something. Some may say that there is no difference; that their end goal is the same and therefore they are all sales professionals.

I beg to differ.

I hear the same words used repeatedly when describing a sales professional—passion, ethics, trust, knowledge. None of these words are mentioned in relation to someone who is merely selling.

Someone recently posted this very question on LinkedIn, to which one individual replied:  “A true sales person has a passion, not just for selling, but for doing things the right way with a high ethical standard that stays around even after the sale is closed and the ink is dry. They will take a true consultative approach and conduct a needs analysis to find out what the client or potential client really needs and find a tailored solution to not only fit that need, but to fit a budget as well.”

That really hits the nail on the head. True sales professionals – the A Players – aren’t driven purely by the desire to earn bigger commissions; they are driven by a desire to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.  The client relationship is of the highest importance.

On the other hand, we have the person who is merely selling. It isn’t about ethics, passion or customer relationships. It’s about money.  They put the commission above all else, including the needs of their clients.  Unlike sales pros, “sellers” pay no heed to whether the product or service will actually benefit the prospect they’re pitching; there is no trusted relationship and no interest in cultivating one.

Sellers vs. sales professionals – what do you think?