Ask people what they think about sales.
They usually conjure up some image of a greasy used car salesman or insurance broker shilling crap.
This image paints sales as the act of persuading someone to buy shit they don’t need. Of a self-serving shark slinging stuff for his own benefit.
I don’t see that as real sales. Predatory sales, maybe. But it misses the mark.
Real sales involves helping people get closer to what they want.
It’s consultative. Like a doctor prescribing a solution to make your pain go away. Or like a librarian recommending a good book.
One of my favorite economists once wrote a great tome called Human Action. In it he describes the necessary conditions for someone to take action. These apply directly to buying decisions:
- Unease or Dissatisfaction with their present state of affairs
- Vision of a better state
- Belief they can reach the better state
Sales isn’t about lubricating the process to move someone to a different state. Sales is about understanding the nature of someone’s unease or dissatisfaction. It’s quantifying their vision of a better state – not your vision of a better state. And it’s helping them reach the conclusion that they have what it takes to reach the better state.
Great salespeople know a secret. Sales is not about the sales person.
It’s about another human being. It’s about that human being’s current state of affairs. It’s about that human being’s vision for a better state. It’s about that human being believing him or herself capable of reaching that better state.
The best sales experiences aren’t transactional or one-sided. They’re relational and mutually beneficial.
Sales enables the transformation of lives.
Sales works best when one human being helps another human being remove friction, unease and dissatisfaction from his or her life.
Sales is about making people more free. Not burdening them with more shit they don’t want.
That’s what I imagine when I think about sales. Sales enables other people to live fuller, richer, more meaningful lives.