Selling is a Voluntary Process Best Initiated by the Customer
Always remember selling is a voluntary process where control, action and decisions are often best initiated by the customer. Their buy-in is critical as to whether they buy. The non-selling posture tilts the balance of power and control in favor of the customer, and gives them the security and the comfort of the upper-hand so that they are feeling in charge.
"When you accept that there is no effective way to control what another thinks, and all attempts at such control simply introduce static into your communication, then you are better prepared to deal with people with differing points of view," says Susan Campbell. We mistakingly confuse giving up control as a weakness and taking control as a strength. Ironically the inverse is true. Selling relies in great part on the efforts and intentions of your customer. If their points of view and convictions are not aligned, then forward progress will be very unlikely.
When we are trying to control the sales process, we often end up being controlled by the control we seek. Once you extend the freedom of choice and free will to your customer, and stop trying to control them or forcing your will on them, you will be amazed at how flexible and reasonable they can become.
When we give up control and extend free will to customers it is so much easier to learn a lot about their intentions, goals, their truth and to get their unique perspective. The harder you try to make a sale, the more compelled you are to try to control your customer, the less you will risk asking questions and listening since they typically are not controlling behaviors.
When you believe predominantly in the art of persuasion it is all about what you say and not what the customer has to say. Do you know how incredibly talented you have to be to consistently pull this off?
As sales people we can barely control our own environment and ourselves. How can we realistically think we can control our customers. Often when we think we are in control we are not. You ironically increase getting what you want, when you are prepared to give it up.The more you yield and surrender your self-centered sales agenda, the higher the likelihood you will get what you want; or at least get to the truth.
Because sales is a percentage game that you cannot control (do you have the ability to reach into someone's pocket and have them spend it with you?), one sometimes has to be strong enough to lose when the circumstances are not highly probable. What comes around goes around. If you demand control of the sales process you will in turn receive equal demands for control from your customer. Like attracts like.
A major hurdle in properly executing this strategic sales posture of giving up control is letting go of your ego. Sales people who are dominated by their ego dominate and try to control their customers. As soon as you take your ego out of the equation and your self-serving belief that you as a sales person is instrumental in getting your customer to change, you allow the space to have customers more naturally sell themselves.
The best sales person at the selling event is generally the customer. Their ability to sell themselves carries more weight, has more stock, and is more influential than your ability to sell them. Your job is to play the role of the facilitator, helping them access the most important information to make good decisions.
As long as you are dependent and emotionally invested in getting the business from a customer, you cannot remain objective and credible. The moment you feel you have to make the sale, is the moment you can no longer be totally authentic, trustworthy and unbiased.
Sales opportunities tend to naturally unfold more often than most of us will admit. Instead of focusing on forcing the unfolding, hone in on whether it is in the nature of your customer to change, buy or move forward with you. You will only be willing to give up control and extend to your customers the privilege of free will, freedom of choice and independence, when you believe in your heart of hearts that you are not a good fit for everyone under all circumstances.