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You Need to be Honest to get Customers to Honestly Self-Appraise

Conventional sales people sell from a position of self-preservation, self-protection and self-enlargement. As you can see there's not much room for anyone else's self. No wonder there's so much resistance and suspicion of sales people.

The non-selling posture is about saving sales people from themselves. As Poco said; "I've seen the enemy and it's me." The enemy within is sales people's self-orientation. The non-selling posture is a unique way for sales people to position and brand themselves differently from their competition. It's about being grounded, accessible and transparent. It's about simplifying and demystifying one's offering and sale strategy. It's even about demystifying the reasons why customers buy and change. Or, you could say, the non-selling posture is about disarming, disarming, disarming.

The non-selling posture represents a sales strategy that is suspicious of conventional thinking. It's no fuss, no muss, practical, pragmatic, no nonsense, common sense approach, no sizzle, unsentimental, realistic, genuine, objective, fair-minded, unbiased and empathetic. That's a long list. It's a stark contrast to what most mainstream sales people do, which isn't hard to miss; sell with abandon.

The non-selling posture is a transition from a rigid and forceful self-serving approach of conventional selling, to a position of flexibility, creative intelligence, collaboration, emotional intelligence and selling with the customer's best interest at heart. The non-selling posture is more about being. Where as selling in its conventional form is more about doing. When you're in the vice grips of selling, you tend to be far less customer-centric.

The non-selling posture is self-contained and has an independent sales vision. It requires minimum props, proof of concepts and product validation. The proof of concept is the customer's problem and their desire to do something about it. That's the proof the customer cares to understand the most. Not the proof of your solution. All strategic selling starts with the customer's challenges and only addresses the solution much later in the sales process.

Customers get nervous when they see sales people licking their chops in anticipation of making a sale. Sales people wear their positive emotions on their sleeves and customers get rightfully defensive. As soon as customers perceive you're doing something to them (selling), they tend to go on high alert, or shut down.

The non-selling posture is effective because it's done for its own sake, rather than a means to an end. Customers are always leery when they perceive sales people selling as a means to an end, instead of a journey of discovery. No one likes to be objectified and used as a tool for another's self-directed goals.

Sales people who take on the non-selling posture are bound by the creed of not personally selling on their own behalf. They need to remain a neutral business advisor. Their input is short on pundity and product/solution speculation, and long on problem defining and analysis.

Customers need you to "get them." In order to capture the essence of them and their situation, you need to know far more about them than just what they need and what their specifications are. You have to know their problems in and out, and you have to know how their challenges fit into their grand scheme of things. Conventional sales people's primary goal is to get customers to "get them."

When you're ready to reject the classic model of overreaching personal influence, you're ready for the non-selling posture. You must first be willing to accept professional boundaries and take measured risks. You do this by empowering your customer to exercise freedom of choice and essentially giving up your traditional power plays (selling).

"Customers operate out of a model that they want to feel autonomous and in control of their environment and actions. Being in control is a basic human need. You need to always try to restore this balance," says Scott Ginsberg. The non-selling posture undermines traditional sales people's sense of false strength. That's why it's resisted with vigor by some. No one likes their false sense of security to be questioned, much less gung ho, lock and load sales people.

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