I always hated “sales”. The stereotypical sliminess. The used car salesman trying to push junk on someone at an information disadvantage. When I joined the software world, I found plenty of these people. But I also found that the most successful sales people were rather different. They knew what the customer wanted and needed. And if there were 20 people involved in the buying decision, they knew what each of them considered important. They knew who had to deliver what from their company to make the customer successful. They were open about obstacles, rather than pretending that everything would be easy. They seemed to me, as an engineer, a lot like engineers. They were just trying to solve a business problem, rather than a technical problem.

This has become my mantra, as a small business owner who has to “sell”, but doesn’t want to. However, I do love to help people I can help.

For a more elegant take on this, see Jill Konrath’s post Lost Art of the Quick Start.

“Lesson #3: Don’t sell. Help,” Danielle replied. “It’s actually my favorite. I’ve discovered that if I focus on helping my prospects and clients achieve their objectives, everything else falls in place. I also help them put together a business case for change and guide them through the decision making process. In the end, we all win.”

“But when do you sell? You know, give ‘em your pitch.”

“I don’t,” she answered. “We just talk about things. Good relevant conversations about what matters to them. By doing that, I get their business. It’s almost like magic.”

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