As a very young salesperson I had some early success. I had no idea why but I enjoyed what I was doing and as far as I knew, I was selling.
I had an engineering degree and fell into sales completely by accident. That by the way is how a great many salespeople enter the profession of selling. Not too long into my sales career some of the Corporate big shots came to town and scheduled rides with our sales team. I was less than pleased when I discovered that on 3 consecutive days I’d have one of the big shots with me.
I assumed it wouldn’t take someone as smart as these guys claimed to be to figure out that despite my early success I really had no idea what I was doing. I apparently figured wrong.
In their report they said I was the best salesperson they had ever worked with. One of them made a comment that I could sell ice to an Eskimo. So my Sales Manager starting asking me questions about what I did when the big shots were with me.
I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary stuff I did every day and I had no clue as to why they said what they said about me. Then some smart guy asked me exactly what I would do to sell ice to an Eskimo.
I thought for a minute and then it began to dawn on me why I might be having some of that early success.
My answer was I wouldn’t sell ice to an Eskimo in the first place because they didn’t need any.
To this day that philosophy is what has helped separate me from common salespeople. I get the financial aspects of selling crap to people that they don’t need. But selling something to someone who doesn’t need it is not a sustainable strategy for success in sales.
Manipulating someone for your benefit at the cost of their wellbeing, be it financial or otherwise is not a sustainable strategy for success in life.
When I finally figured out what was helping me succeed in sales I became more intentional about building relationships, trust and friendships. That required that I find out exactly how my product could help people. It required that I know enough about a particular customer to know precisely how my product could help them.
That caused me to walk away from a good many potential sales and while I lost a few sales I never lost a customer. Helping your customers, being honest with them at all times, having the courage to occasionally disagree with them and always keeping their best interests in mind are the keys to long-term, sustainable sales success.
If anyone tells you otherwise they do not have your best interests in mind.
“Selling by helping” is the sales philosophy I’ve taught for a long time. I started doing training for two reasons, one was to help more people have better buying experiences with the salespeople they dealt with. The other was to help more salespeople have long-term success and make lots of money doing it.
The selling professional can be very rewarding, “selling by helping” increases those rewards ten-fold. It is also the certain path to permanent sales success.