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Egoless Selling; Nothing to Prove Nothing to Disprove

"Customers love to buy and they hate to be sold," says Jeffrey Gittomer. Most sales people get in the way of the sale, instead of getting out of the way. When a sales person takes on a non-selling posture of nothing to prove, nothing to sell, it allows the customer to self-discover their own issues independent of the sales person's offering, and it allows both parties to feel positive in a way that is the antithesis of the typical traditional sales interaction, regardless of whether it is a win, draw or loss.

By not being an overbearing product authority or mercenary you do not have to struggle for your own legitimacy by getting customers to agree or conform to your thinking, or to your sales position. When sales people are so passionately convinced that they are right, customers often challenge the motives, integrity and impartiality of the sales person. Therefore, make your sales points without insisting you are right and without digging in your heels. It is important for sales people to stand up for what they believe in. However, if you do not stand up for it in a professional and pleasant fashion, it is not the truth you stand for. All you stand for is your ego and your heightened sense of self-importance.

The non-selling posture has the sales person being totally open minded and focused on whatever their customer is thinking, feeling, saying and acting upon, irrespective of their own selling goals. This is accomplished with the sales person being nonjudgemental and not being in a fixer or solution driven mode. A true functional business relationship between the seller and the customer can only be sustained when both parties view and treat one another as equals. A non-selling posture stipulates that the sales person commit their resources, time and passion only when their customer is willing to reciprocate in kind.

A sales person who takes on a non-selling posture is very careful not to make a show of their strengths and force their hand unless it is absolutely necessary. By taking on a posture of non-forcing you let your customer relax and let things unfold more naturally. The non-selling posture lets the sales person be a mediator and arbitrator to help the customer find the common ground between wants and needs, and priorities and practicalities. It is very comparable to the Socratic method of teaching. You influence and teach through the art of questions that give your customer the freedom to find their own guidance.

Sales people should be like a physician. They should be nurturing, but have a professional disassociation; no regrets or baggage of the past and no unrealistic expectations of the future. Look at your initial role less as a sales person and more as a pre-sales position. The pre-sales position carries the connotation of exploration and discovery. This is not unlike in the legal profession where lawyers do pre-discovery.

When you take on a non-selling posture you are like an unbiased business coach where in many cases you know the customer's problems in advance or right away, and yet instead of telling them their problems and fixing them, you honor them by allowing the answers to unravel naturally. "In the Art of War, Sun Tzu said we lose battles because we are too quick to fight (sell). Instead, we should set up situations (selling scenarios) in which fighting (selling) is unnecessary," states Gary Gagliardi. Sales people are too often addicted to the drama in selling; overcoming objections, closing hard, boundless information, fearless chasing and never giving up. All this actually does is give sales people a false and heightened sense of importance and at the same time yielding questionable results.

Sales people too often base their sales strategy on what they sell and what they say when they are selling, instead of basing their sales strategy on their customer's buying points and what they are saying. The non-selling posture bases its strategy on the sales process not on the sales content. Sales people place themselves and their customer under great pressure when they sell at any cost. The more pressure you place on yourself and your customer, the harder it is to find reality, a common ground and have an open and objective dialogue.

The fastest way to the truth is to drop your ego and the inherent conflict of interest that most sales people initially bring to the sales table. When you are dominated by your ego you will be inclined to dominate others. A non-selling posture stands for honesty and being forthright, and does not stand for any kind of pretense, or self-deception from either the sales person or the customer. If you allow it, customers will only be too happy to make you jump through hoops, chase your tail, waste your time and take you down the Primrose path and reduce you to a lap dog with a smile. Change your rules of engagement. Be clear and firm as to what you will do and what you will not do.

A one-sided sales approach without balance only encourages half-truths and distortions by your customer. "Use understatement rather than exaggeration in describing your products; it's more believable," says Brian Tracy. It is all about balance. If you really want to get to the truth and reality with your customer, be against, or for nothing. The non-selling posture is personified by the patience of deferred gratification.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com