In recent years, the marketing department has been hailed has the most important area for business development. In fact, in recent years marketing and sales have gone head to head over which department offers a business more profit-based value. Companies eyeing the problem through a more innovative lens have realized that sales and marketing departments should be working hand in hand because they both rely on each other to succeed and have the same overarching strategy. I would say that if really look at what motivates someone to convert into a customer, it would be sales. Even from a marketing perspective, as a marketer, I’d say you can’t really do your job unless you’re thinking like a salesman.

So our question is: how do you get to be a successful salesman?

The 2 Golden Rules of Sales

To be successful in selling, you have to pair the art of communication with the science of psychology. A recent article in Inc. by Steve Cody, titled “Tips From the Best Salespeople I’ve Ever Met,” breaks down what any individual needs to turn great marketing strategies into a sales win.

Cody underscores listening as a pivotal skill, citing that “über-sales executives don’t utter a sound until they’ve processed exactly what they’ve seen and heard.” Processing the signs your client is sending out involves knowing how to read people.

Dr. Paul Ekman, an American psychologist and pioneer in the study of body language and micro expressions, has revolutionized how we read people. Ekman believes that most people tell you exactly what they think through the tiniest fractures in their expression – each of which can tell you exactly what the person is thinking, often before they’ve even realized it themselves. It would be worth your weight in gold to follow his blog, read a couple of his books, and watch the TV series based on his work, Lie to Me.

If the job of a salesman is to read people, there’s no better crash course in learning just how to do that than through Dr. Ekman’s work. In fact, I’d say its something all employees and management can learn from.

Getting back to our list, Cody also emphasizes applying the right amount of pressure, which means favoring sensitivity-based check-ins over “high-pressure sales tactics.” This involves listening for people who want to work with you naturally and without coercion. For Cody, the sales process involves evaluating the client as much as you’re being evaluated yourself. After all, you’re engaging in a professional relationship and you want to work with clients who “are worthy of representation.”

What Previous Generations Got Right When it Came to Sales

Sales is also about conversation. Conversation is about rapport. Rapport is about trust. Before someone is going to trust you with their business, they want to know there’s a connection there – a sense of amiability, which also ties into the rule that people do business with their friends. This is what older generations understood about sales. They valued the conversation just as much as the transaction. Today, not so much.

For larger businesses, this means having a charismatic sales force that knows how to network, and then giving them the budget and time to do so. For more humble businesses, especially in a digital market place, this means taking to social media. Ideally, you want to have a social media manager (but also a community manager) that handles not only the social media side but the engagement side. They’re striking up conversations on Facebook. They’re data-mining through Twitter to see what the conversation is about your industry and then jumping right into it. Having a community manager is also what boosts your online presence beyond just having various social accounts – which in and of themselves are useless. Think of your community manager as the driver, and social media as the vehicle. The latter without the former, who can command movement and direction, is useless.