Does the idea of selling something to someone you love sound sleazy or conjure up images of a salesman with a greasy mustache and bad suit promising low, low prices on used cars?
We tend to confine our thinking about sales to business contexts – and more often than not it’s something we seek to avoid or shy away from.
But think back to the last time you put your best influencer skills to work, whether that was convincing your colleagues to take a new direction on a project, demonstrating your experience in an interview or pitching a startup idea. Chances are, you’ve developed some pretty good sales skills over the years.
In reality, sales is crucial for more than pushing used cars or hocking the latest as-seen-on-TV product. You can leverage this essential skill to success not only professionally, but also in your personal relationships. Whether you want to win over investors, land a job or organize a team you have to persuade others to support your vision or dream – and this same principle of motivation holds for romantic partnerships as well.
As you chase your dreams, it’s important to “sell” your partner on the positive aspects of change if you’d like them to come along on the journey with you. You can’t expect another person to read your mind, but chances are, if they have a clear sense of your needs and objectives, they’ll be your biggest cheerleader.
How Sales Skills Can Improve Your Relationship
Let’s say you’ve spent the last few months frustrated with your job, feeling that you are underpaid, undervalued and not doing something you really love. You feel defeated, unconfident and a bit lost. After much thought (and a few sleepless nights), you decide it’s time to start looking for a new gig.
This is a big decision that will involve substantial time and energy along with emotional up-and-downs. Without a doubt, your career transition will impact your relationship whether you want it to or not. Ultimately, you know that a change – whether that’s landing a new job or being your own boss – will have a positive impact on your relationship. Not to mention, the extra money in your paycheck sets you up for a stronger financial future.
Sounds like a good deal, right? Now it’s time to get your partner on board. Here are six tips for selling your career goals in a way that benefits everyone involved.
Give Them Insight Into Your Decision-Making
Even though you’re a smart, self-made woman who is independent and can call her own shots, involving your partner in your career change instills respect, creating a “were-in-this-together” bond rather than a “me-versus-you” divide. This may include discussing when you start job hunting (before or after your upcoming vacation? when the kids are back in school?), talking about how much you disclose to friends and family or designating a workspace in your shared abode. Even if you think you already know how you’ll address these topics, make sure your partner is aware that you’re thinking about them so that they can feel included.
Share Your Doubts And Fears
Taking the leap into entrepreneurship or switching careers can be overwhelming and scary. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your uncertainty with your partner. Everyone appreciates feeling needed and chances are he or she will go out of their way to reassure you. Allow yourself to be cared for – your success doesn’t have to be a source of loneliness and suffering .
Outline what kind of support you do and don’t want from him or her. Educate your partner about your goals and how they can best support you. For example, would you prefer they listen without always trying to fix things? Gently explain that when he or she asks how your day went, you’re really looking for someone to listen, not offer advice. If you’re used to spending after work hours together, be clear how you’ll need to adjust this schedule to create time to work on job applications or hustling on a side-gig.
Make The Case For How They’ll Benefit
Explain the return on your investment your career change will have for you as a couple. Showcase how short term sacrifices will pay off in the end and benefit your relationship. For example, “When I get this new job, I’ll finally be in control of my schedule and can leave the office at a reasonable hour. Why don’t we have Wednesday night dinner dates?” This will incentivize them to support you all the more.
Keep Them In The Loop On Your Progress
Once your partner has “bought” what you’ve “sold”, it’s only fair to keep them posted on your progress, like you would a business client.
As you embark on a significant life change – whether it’s changing industries, going back to school or launching a startup – sharing this experience with your partner in a way that gets him or her to buy in and support you is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship that grows over time.
How well this works, in many ways, is up to you and how you sell it.