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Only a Halfwit Sells at the Least Provocation

In respect to most traditional sales strategies, what looks like strengths (persuasion skills) are often weaknesses, and what looks like weaknesses (non-selling posture) are often strengths. The reason traditional selling strategies do not work too well for most sales people is because it produces guilt due to manipulation, and creates negative emotions of dependency and neediness that is picked up by customers. Truth be told, most sales people's selling strategies conflict with who they are, and how they would normally interact with others. If they were truthful, few sales people would want to be sold the way they sell personally.

Socrates said, "I cannot teach anything. I can only make men think." Likewise in selling. You cannot sell anything to anyone. You can only get them to think, feel, emote, explore, and discover. This is the essence of the non-selling posture. When you sell with this posture you have no personal agenda, and the world you see, hear and intuit, will not be the same world when you are preoccupied with the cumbersome task of selling.

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it," said Henry David Thoreau. The same can be said about selling when you take on the non-selling posture. It is the act of trying too hard that puts sales people in such a discredible position. Only halfwits sell at the least provocation.

Customers are not all that different in their behavior and selection process to bank loan officers, future spouses, and hiring managers. They reward and are attracted to those who are not actively in the market for their services; are not looking for a job, do not need a loan, and are not looking for a new partner or spouse.

It is amazing how persuasive one can be when one is not so busy convincing and selling. When taking on a non-selling posture the sales person is buying as much as they are selling; they are determining whether they buy-in to the customer's motive to change and their commitment to change.

You will notice that when your own ego or self-esteem is not on the line in the sales engagement, there is little need for dependency, or a specific outcome. Things happen very organically, and have a more natural unfolding when the sales person realizes that one cannot consistently achieve their own goals at the expense of others.

The reason the non-selling posture is so challenging for sales people, is because it is a direct blow to the power of the ego, the intellect, the art of persuasion, and everything traditional sales people hold dear about their profession. In sales it is imperative that we temper our need for recognition, validation, to stand out, and our need to be heard, so that we do not compete and overshadow our customer's exact same needs. The idea that you cannot have what you are not prepared to give up underscores the essence of the non-selling posture. So be prepared to be unprepared.

We blame customers for having a double standard. However, mainstream sales people generally are not any better. Too often we come across unconsciously as, "I am the end and you are the means." Is it no wonder that customers respond heartily by returning the favor. So even if you reposition yourself differently, do not expect there will be no resistance.

Some customers who are hardened by sales people's incompetencies will be threatened by the non-selling posture, even if it is refreshing and engaging. Because it is a very honest, forthright and authentic position, it will be more difficult for customers to control and manipulate. It will throw off some customers because it does not conform and reinforce their biases and stereotypes about how sales people should act and behave. So again, be prepared to be unprepared.

The beauty of the non-selling posture is that it does not benefit the seller any more than it does the customer. It benefits both equally. However, most conventional sales people would probably disagree, and see too much risk, lost of authority and loss of control. What a shame!

Strategic sales people do not seek to be an authority for their customer, and they do not relinquish their power and control by being a doormat. They are good at seeking a neutral balance. Even when they are absolutely right, or in the right, they do not take a position of a higher authority. They are the voice of reason, which makes them very approachable and easy to deal with.

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