From Army to Sales Guru – Guest Post

I’m very excited to introduce you to Trevor Graeme Wilkins, a colleague and co-presenter in the ‘New Era of Influence’ series.  The series is being launched here in Winnipeg in November.  Read on to learn more.


Back in 1985 I left the army and started my first ‘sales job’.  I’ve spent over 25 years in international sales now – working very hard, making good money, travelling the world and meeting great people.  And what a roller coaster it has always been.  I’ve had to learn to relish the adrenaline highs of success and to drive through the lows of failure or delay.

But all the time, many of the people around me considered I wasn’t in a ‘proper job’.  I still regularly see friends that went to school with me, and they’re now almost all ‘professionals’ – engineers, architects, lawyers, teachers, doctors etc.  Some have admitted unease that I didn’t ‘stick it out as a professional’.  I’ve always been happy with my decision, but ‘sales is scary’ according to my students…

This is sad, and the sales profession has to take much of the blame for our not being seen as ethical, trustworthy professionals.  For too many years, we’ve woven a mystique of toughness, invincibility and manipulation around ourselves.  The TV depiction of used car sales and insurance agents has only made this image stronger. Worst of all, the sales training industry has always offered ‘hints and tips to close that sale’ or ‘build a pipeline that delivers’.  The emphasis has always been on ‘forcing through a sale’

Well it’s time to relegate that notion to the dustbin of history – our buyers are smarter and better educated now (especially the younger ones). They’ve got instant access to information or comparisons and, most importantly of all, they expect sustainability – and not just in the way they live and work. They now also demand it in the relationships they have with providers and whatever it is they buy – products, services, complex solutions or simply ideas.

My contribution to this ‘New Era of Influence’ movement is Turning Selling into Buying (TSB) – an approach that’s based on modelling the ‘Best of the Best’ in sales and management – the ones who have been successful (surprise, surprise) by always being focused on their buyer, not on themselves.  As a result, TSB focuses on a relationship that Builds a Willing Buyer and then works with that person to justify the investment that’s needed.

I am so excited that my good friend and colleague Laurie Barkman has invited me to join her in presenting our ‘New Era of Influence’ series in Winnipeg this November.  Like hundreds of teams and individuals in Ottawa, Europe and the Middle East, the attendees learn new words to say, new actions to take and new insights to use that ‘join the dots’ ethically and smoothly.  The result will be to drive market analysis, marketing, sales, customer service and account management out of the darkness of ‘Sales Mystique’ and into the bright light of the 21st century.


Click here to learn more about the ‘New Era of Influence’ series coming to Winnipeg (and perhaps soon to a location near you?)