selling is built firmly on the foundation of confidence, boundless positive
thinking, enthusiasm, unflagging persistence and always putting your
best foot forward. This posture was effective in a bygone era where
information was a powerful asset that salespeople brought to the table.
In this marketplace, selling was predominantly a one-way street with
information flowing from salesperson to prospect. Because information
was relatively scarce and not always easily accessible, the salesperson’s
role revolved mostly around being a trumpet of product and service information.
Their mandate was to get people to like them and then to persuade them
of the superiority of their offering. This model became less relevant
with the advent of the information age.
salespeople are faced with steep competition, rapid commoditization,
less loyalty, customers who have global choices and who are more accountable
to the bottom line, have less time for salespeople, and have quicker
and greater access to information. Salespeople no longer have the luxury
of establishing their worth by bringing valuable information to the
their value is measured in their ability to bring creative problem-solving
strategies to the table. Therefore, all the aforementioned traditional
sales characteristics of enthusiasm, influence, persistence and boundless
energy have been negated or neutralized.
the information era, the selling skill sets and strategies that generate
performance and create value are very different. Because of globalization
and many other trends, the marketplace demands that salespeople be creative
problem identifiers, business strategists and innovative problem-solvers.
The sales skills necessary to execute this new strategy are: questioning
and listening, patience, the power of suggestion, building strong business
cases, being a change agent and advising and counseling as a business
strategist. Diminished in value are product knowledge, proof of concept,
educating customers and aggressive dogged determination in the face
of insurmountable odds.
facilitate this new selling strategy you need to take a non-selling
posture. A non-selling posture projects a neutral objective position
that allows your prospect to have the freedom to self-discover their
own problems independent of your own agenda. The days of hard-charging
salespeople with guns blazing, cajoling and persuading their customers
to jump ship are obsolete and archaic.
your job is to educate your prospects on their problems and help them
define their own options and solutions, you’ll now have to rely heavily
on questioning and listening skill sets to make you more productive
achieve understanding of your prospects' problems you’ll also have
to be very sensitive in providing a non-threatening environment where
they feel they can share emotionally charged issues that are possibly
latent and sensitive in nature. This is how you build strong business
relationships that are created by care and understanding.
have learned from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) that matching your
prospect’s posture is critical in trying to create an environment
that is favorable to change. According to the latest research in NLP,
if your prospect is negative, you must also be a bit negative. If they
are angry about a service issue, you must certainly not initially appear
rosy and optimistic even if you can resolve their complaint easily.
This definitely goes back to my original premise that so often what
prospects really want is to be heard, understood and listened to. The
best resolution of a complaint or the best solution, if delivered too
quickly without the prospect having the chance to vent or be heard,
will consistently prove to be nonproductive and ineffective.
all see this in our personal relationships every day. In relation to
personal communication, what is the #1 complaint women have with men?
You got it… they don’t listen. But being an average guy I
believe we do listen, we just don’t give the impression that we took
the time to really listen to what was said before we tried to give a
quick suggestion or a fix. Women, like prospects, aren’t looking for
an answer as much as they are looking for someone who honors them by
patiently listening and cares enough to allow them to get whatever they
need off their chest. The “fixer” mentality doesn’t work in personal
relationships and its lack of success is even more amplified in sales.
often prospects would rather forfeit the assistance they need from salespeople
than to do it on our terms. A good strategy to combat this hurdle is
to extend a gesture of good faith by being the first to cede control.
In doing so, one hopes to empower the prospect to follow suit.
The non-selling posture is the art of not knowing what anything means. This non-intuitive strategy
is very disarming, impartial and lets the prospect always save face
and maintain their dignity. It helps you to minimize the fear of the
unknown for your prospect and gives them the permission and the space
to say “no” and to hear and follow their own guidance.
need to demonstrate faith and confidence in your prospect’s ability
to make decisions independent of your own agenda. The way you’ll do
this is by being detached from a positive outcome. The more needy and
attached we are to a sale, the more blinded we are to the reality of
our prospect’s unique situation and needs. Prospects can sense this
and this is why they can be very guarded with salespeople. So don’t
trespass upon the prospect’s boundaries. Respect their boundaries
and if they feel comfortable they may feel inclined to open up to you
about their most pressing issues.
The non-selling posture will ultimately backfire and cause more
harm than good if you use it as a slick selling technique without the
authentic belief that you aren’t here to sell and you are here to
learn and understand. You ultimately will be perceived as manipulative
and self-centered. If you adopt a non-selling posture and you truly
believe in your heart that you aren’t right for everyone, your price
isn’t worth it for everyone and your quality product is suitable only
in certain circumstances, then you’ll be perceived and trusted as
an objective advisor and a nonbiased counselor working on behalf of
your prospect’s needs and not your own best interests.