We often talk about the importance of building relationships for sales effectiveness. But what about the relationships we already enjoy and the countless relationships in our future? From the little league ball field to the health club, church meeting, neighborhood gathering or civic event, opportunities present themselves every day to share with friends, contacts and acquaintances insights on our professional life. As sales professionals, if we only look for sales opportunities during the work day and at the office, we are missing out. And if we only see "opportunity" in the form of a closed sale, we are missing out on this front as well.

What do you say when you are asked, "What do you do?"

How do you respond to a simple question like, "What do you do?" or "Where do you work?" If your response is to rattle off your title and company name, you are tossing away a golden opportunity to share insight about your passion and expertise, as well as the value that you and your company bring to the table. Asked the question, "What do you do?" I could respond that "I am a sales partner for Carew International." Or I could share that "I'm a sales partner with Carew International, one of the leading professional training companies in the nation. I work with client organizations to drive growth and profitability, and improve the skills and performance of individual team members."

Should we expect to close a sale while standing on the sideline at pee wee football practice? No, but we can and should seize opportunities when they occur in our daily lives, and we should be prepared for what we will say when opportunities arise. All sales professionals would do well to take a page from Johnny Appleseed and continually plant seeds‚ about our and our company's strengths and capabilities, and especially about our own level of passion and confidence relative to the value we deliver.