Many cringe when the topic of selling, or sales, comes up.

When told we are in the position of selling every day of our lives, its enough to make tummies turn upside down, but it’s true.

Whether you are an attorney whose livelihood depends, either now or in the future, on having another human being spend money for your services, or you are an IT professional whose responsibility it is to sit at a help desk and take phone calls from frustrated users, you are in the business of selling.

My first jobs out of college were in sales, so I’ve been right there with you.  I’ve been through some of the best sales training in the world with L.M. Berry.  I was sent out of town for two weeks of sales training before I was ever allowed out on the streets for what was, in retrospect, some of the toughest kind of selling in existence.  I also sold real estate and title insurance.  I’m in sales again as I run my own company.

Knowing we can’t get away from it, and it is our responsibility to be good at it, let’s talk about how to do it so it’s not so intimidating, okay?

Here goes:

The key to selling is…………………STOP SELLING!

What do I mean stop selling?

That’s right.  Stop selling and learn how to ask good questions that you really want to know the answers to, not just questions you’ve been taught because someone told you to ask them.

  • Learn what the other person’s business is all about.
  • Learn what they do every day to make their product or sell their service.
  • Learn how they got there.
  • Learn where they want to go.
  • Learn what’s working.
  • Learn what’s not.
  • …and so much more

So, yes, the key to selling is to stop selling, and start listening.  Only then can you adequately even begin to think about what you have to sell that might be remotely interesting or necessary to the other person.

Bottom Line:  The key to selling is to stop selling and start listening.  Your time will come.

Thank to MB for the use of the image.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • The social media and modern marketing approach of attraction over promotion has taken the forefront. Building relationships, advising, and consulting rather than pitching have become the standard. However, when the privilege is earned, do not be afraid of asking for the clients business. To be a true consultant/adviser first you must have the client’s best interest at heart, then you must understand the client’s needs. Nancy you are absolutely correct. I might add taking the time to learn to use open-ended questions will help you determine their needs. Who, what, when, where, why, and how instead closed in yes /no questions should help you discover what the client truly needs and expects. If you have the clients best interest in mind, understand their needs, and can fulfill those needs it becomes your privilege to ask for their business.

  • You’re so right, Nancy. I was talking to a business owner over the weekend about how he had hires a great “salesman” because the guy could tell a great story. What this biz owner should have looked for was a salesperson who could ask the right questions.

    The 80/20 rule applies to selling: Listen 80% of the time and talk 20%.

    Some roles within organizations shy away from the “selling” word. I had a client who adamantly insisted we not to “sales” development – although they desperately needed their customer service reps to sell more. I had to change the verbiage, but what they got was “selling 101”

  • Wow, a great story teller….sounds like a public speaker or a minister to me….but not a good salesperson. Thanks for stopping by James.

  • Yes, a privilege is absolutely right Randy! Everyone reading this post would be wise to take your advice about what kind of questions should be asking, and the most important point about having the client’s best interest at heart. Those are words that are often spoken because they sound good, but not always believed and practiced.