What are sales?

The term “Sales” has many possible meanings, depending on the context in which it is being used. It can mean a department of a company, an event in which a retailer (shop/store) offers its goods at lower prices, or the activity of promoting or trying to persuade people to buy a product or service.

  • How much is sold – revenue

Sales may also indicate the quantity of products sold or the amount of revenue generated. Businesses use this measure to assess performance.

  • An economic indicator

In a broader economic context, sales data reflects consumer spending trends, serving as a barometer for economic health.

  • A legal term

In legal English, sales denotes the formal transfer of goods ownership. In real estate, for example, the term refers to the transaction of property titles.

  • Sell orders

In financial markets, the term sales involves the execution of sell orders for securities.

According to Wikipedia:

“Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. The delivery of a service for a cost is also considered a sale. A period during which goods are sold for a reduced price may also be referred to as a ‘sale’.”

“Sales” in the business world

This article focuses on sales when it refers to selling goods and services to consumers and prospects. A prospect is somebody who you believe has the potential to become a paying customer.

In the world of business, sales serve as the backbone of most commercial enterprises. In fact, without sales, a profit-seeking company cannot survive.

Salespeople and customers in a car showroom - article about sales.
Image created by Market Business News.


People who work in sales are called representatives, sales representatives, sales reps, or reps. We also refer to them as salespeople. The terms salesman and saleswoman are gradually being replaced by salespeople.

Persuading people

At its core, sales is all about persuading or influencing people to make a purchase. The process can vary considerably, depending on the industry, the product or service you are selling, and your company’s sales strategy.

There are several stages to sales, including (in most cases):

  • Initiating contact.
  • Presenting your product or service.
  • Handling inquiries, doubts, and objections.
  • Closing the sale (getting them to make the purchase).
  • Providing post-sale support (a.k.a. after-sales support).


Salespeople use a variety of skills to achieve their goals, including communication, empathy, negotiation, and problem-solving.

Apart from knowing about the features and benefits of what they are selling, they must also understand the needs, concerns, and other characteristics of their customers or prospects.

A good salesperson sees a successful sale as much more than simply making a transaction. For them, it is also about creating a satisfied customer who will return for future purchases and recommend your product or services to others.

Sales vs. Marketing

Some companies, especially small ones, lump sales and marketing together. However, they are not the same.

While sales focuses on persuading people to buy, marketing is more about creating awareness, generating interest, and learning as much as possible about the market.

If my company is considering creating and launching a new product, it first needs to find out whether people might want to buy it. The marketing department does that by carrying out a study (market research).

Marketing professionals assess market demand for a product, determine the optimal pricing strategy, and evaluate the company’s ability to satisfy these market requirements.

  • A synergistic relationship

The relationship between sales and marketing is synergistic, i.e., each function enhances the effectiveness of the other. Marketing creates the context and conditions that make sales possible, while sales efforts provide feedback and insights that can refine marketing strategies.

In conclusion, sales are a critical function in the business world, encompassing the strategies, processes, and skills needed to persuade consumers to make a purchase.

Image – What are Sales?

This video, from our sister channel on YouTube – Marketing Business Network, explains what the term ‘Sales’ means, using simple and easy-to-understand language and examples.