To Sell is Human to Not Sell is Divine
The sales person who knows before the customer knows, knows very little. To achieve credibility of what you know, it needs to be discovered by your customer, not revealed by you. This is the essence of the non-selling posture.
One of the great "ahas" of the non-selling posture is the recognition that you do not have to push sales through to have sales be made. Selling at its finest hour is not something you do to customers. When all pistons are hitting selling is effortless. It is non-striving. Selling is not something we do, it is who we are.
Your solution is not the answer. You are the answer. You make the real difference, not your solution. If customers do not value you or your input first, then they more than likely will not value your solution.
The non-selling posture's goal is to reinforce the idea that customers love to buy, but they hate to be sold. This soft sell approach will rankle the ranks of traditional sales people who sell with passion, conviction, enthusiasm and unbeknownst to them with a high level of self-interest.
The non-selling posture is about underselling instead of overselling. Instead of trying to sell and influence, you need to position for mutual consent. Do not try to influence the truth, just try to find it.
The non-selling posture is designed to combat the biggest fear customers have; you will tell them what ever they want to hear and you will tell them whatever it takes for you to make the sale. It is also firmly rooted in the idea that all customers are entitled to their own crazy viewpoints.
Mainstream sales people basically say to customers; trust me, do as I say, not as I do. This is the height of hypocrisy. They have the best of intentions to help customers achieve their goals, but the desire to sell supersedes their good intentions.
The non-selling posture is achieved more from the courage of sales people's convictions, than from what they say or do not say. "You can't be trusting unless you are courageous. You can't enter into reality if you're not courageous. Hence courage comes first...and everything else follows," said Osho. No question about it, this strategy takes courage.
In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by losses or gains of the other participants. Orthodox sales people are zero-sum thinkers. They have strong protectionist's instincts. They fear if they give they "will not get." But in sales you have "to give." What you give is not information, anyone can do that. What you give is a piece of yourself; frame of reference, context and perspective, unbiased point of view, sense of proportion and depth of insight. The aforementioned are all accomplished through thought-provoking questions. In order to do that, you need to be a positive-sum thinker. To sell is human, to not sell is divine.
Zero-sum thinkers try to control their environment at the cost and security of the customer controlling their environment. We all know who wins this tug-of-war. Conventional sales people are obsessed with exerting their will and playing primarily to their advantage, instead of letting customers open up and reveal themselves. The non-selling posture is not about doing, it is about letting customers safely unfold their concerns, issues and dirty laundry. It is a process that taps into the customer's intuition, something that most sales people do not have access to.
The more you try to control your customer, the less you trust your own capacity to spontaneously respond to their circumstances authentically and with critical thinking. Sales people who give up control are able to connect with customers because they are more real and authentic. This empowers customers to more easily make decisions, instead of being sold to. Assuming the customer trust us, our ability to reason is what gives sales people value. Usually this is not accomplished because of sales people's self-orientation and zero-sum thinking. The non-selling posture requires you to have a strong enough ego so you can put it aside.