Should they teach sales in school?

If the UK is going to produce the next generation of business stars, I believe we should be teaching sales skills in school. Here’s why.

At Sales Confidence, we love to promote the best of the UK SaaS sales industry. It’s why we recently compiled our Top 50 UK SaaS Sales Talent list. We also talk a lot about the importance of sales training, how continuous learning and openness to new ideas are the keys to success. However, if the UK is going to truly compete with the US and Silicon Valley, we need bold steps.

Luckily, I’ve got one. I believe we should be teaching sales skills to all young people while they’re at school. There are so many reasons why this is a good idea, and it would bring so many benefits. Allow me to explain.

New skills

The great thing about sales is that there are so many different skills you need to utilise if you’re going to be successful. As part of my school sales syllabus, here are some of the skills that would need to be covered.

  • Qualifying leads and prospects
  • Matching solutions to your customers’ pain points
  • Presentation skills
  • Sales theories, such as SPIN
  • Closing deals

These are all valuable skills to learn, even if you’re not planning on embarking on a career in sales. Here’s why.

Advantages of teaching sales at school

The fact is, sales skills are super-useful in life, whether you’re a salesperson or not.

There aren’t many jobs which don’t require you, at some point, to persuade people to see your point of view, to get people to do what you want them to. All these tasks require effective communication and persuasion. Sales skills.

Sales skills make you an effective communicator. You become confident and at ease when talking to people, especially new people. You’ll also learn to effectively sell yourself, which will come in useful at job interviews.

Salespeople are persistent. They don’t give up at the slightest setback. Isn’t that a trait we should be encouraging in our young people?

Finally, teaching sales skills at school might bust some of those stereotypes which we all know. Sales is not about being a slick, fast-talking shark, it’s about research, knowledge and knowing the right thing to do at the right time. If people find this out early in life, sales becomes a more desirable profession.

Sales as a vocation

Of course, as we all know, sales is a great profession to be in, and one we should be promoting to the nation’s young people.

Sales provides you with transferable skills to build a successful career. You learn to help people, to solve the problems that are making their lives difficult. You get to work for companies that are trying to make a difference, to make the world a better place.

Moreover, salespeople make a huge contribution to the UK economy. They help make small companies big, and big companies even bigger. Hopefully, they make a ton of money while they’re doing it!

Children are salespeople already

If you’ve got children, you’ll know this all too well, but kids are born with sales skills.

  • The instinctively know their customers’ (parents’) pain points.
  • They don’t take ‘no’ for an answer
  • They have a seemingly endless amount of persistence
  • They deal with rejection with a ‘can-do’ attitude (if Mum says no, they go and ask Dad!)

Children are born to sell, we should be encouraging them to get even better at it as they get older.

Do it yourself

Let’s face it, my idea is probably never going to come to fruition. The powers that be will always think stuff like geography and French are going to be more useful to young people than sales skills. Their loss.

However, that doesn’t have to be the end of it. If you’re reading Sales Confidence articles, you must already be a top salesperson. Why not pass some of your sales skills on to a young person you know? Your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, friends’ children will thank you when they land that top CRO role in 30 years’ time! Let us know how it goes.

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