A Short Guide to Selling in the 21st Century

Change seems to be the watchword of the day. If we’re going to succeed is today’s highly competitive, fast-changing sales environment, we can’t keep doing the same old stuff we’ve been doing for years. (Seems like I’ve been preaching this forever, but the vast majority of companies and their individual salespeople, still aren’t getting the message. I guess that’s what keeps our training business busy.)

A Short Guide to Selling
“Day by day nothing seems to change, but then one day everything’s different.
(Calvin, of Calvin & Hobbes)

It all starts with how we perceive selling. Our perceptions drive our actions
(we need to be consistent, don’t we?), and if our perceptions are out of whack
with reality, bad stuff will happen.

So here’s a few thoughts that you might try to incorporate into your belief system that might help you make some good stuff happen.

The customer is not the adversary. When did helping someone fix a problem become adversarial? When you put the client’s interests ahead of your own, you will succeed. This is a very simple concept. Think about it.

Focus on people before money. I could get into some Biblical references here, but I won’t. Let me simply say that if you help someone get what they want, you will be rewarded. If you want something, try giving it first. Want referrals? Try giving a referral or two and see what happens.

Balance advocacy and inquiry. Back to the two ears and one mouth concept. Productive conversations are not one-sided. Your job is to get enough information to completely understand the prospect’s business (or personal) challenges. After all, if you’re going to provide an intelligent solution to a complex problem, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the problem. Salespeople don’t do a very good job in this area. But it’s a conversation, and the best way to get information is to provide some in return. (Just don’t overdo it.) Qualifying an opportunity is a conversation, not an interrogation.

Focus on process before outcome. The best way to control the outcome is to control the process. Focusing on the outcome takes your eye off the ball. Builders focus on the steps necessary to get the house built. They know that if you follow the process the outcome will be ensured. Sales is no different. All the research supports this concept. Hope that makes sense to you.

BTW, one of the hot books on selling these days is by Daniel Pink. To Sell Is Human (The Surprising Truth About Moving Others). More on Daniel Pink and his other books here. www.danpink.com

I had a hard time putting it down, and it totally confirms the content of this blog. Here’s a link to purchase it at Amazon. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

If any of this makes any sense to you, I’d love to hear your feedback. How close is your selling philosophy the The Salesperson’s Manifesto?

Jim Dunn
Jim Dunn is a sales process expert who has been selling and training sales professionals and professional service providers for over 40 years. He and his partner, John Schumann, are the creators of Common Sense Selling®, a counterintuitive sales process that’s been deployed successfully in hundreds of companies around the world. Jim can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 858-627-0726. And be sure to check out our breakthrough online training program at www.salescoach.com.