Enthusiasm Creates Value for the Seller
and Little for the Customer
"When you're so enthusiastic, eager, motivated, excited and optimistic in what you want to happen you lose perspective of what the customer wants to happen," said Bill Brooks. You want to try to personally and emotionally connect with your customer on an individual level, while at the same time depersonalizing your offering so customers will not force feed you answers that they know you want to hear.
Without evolved sensitivity to another's opinion, empathy, sincerity and basic humility, the non-selling posture will fall on its face and be disastrous. Empathy is the most underrated, undervalued and underutilized skill set for sales people in the information economy. Enthusiasm, excitement, eagerness, being Mr Feel-Good and overflowing optimism are the most over utilized and least productive skill sets, because it is about delivering content and not what is really most important to customers; context and perspective.
"High touch is the ability to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to see the big picture, to create a compelling narrative and combine disparate pieces into an arresting new story. And empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in somebody else's position and to intuit what the person is feeling. It's the ability to stand in another person's shoes. To see with their eyes and feel with their heart. It's the ultimate virtual reality – climbing into another's mind to experience the world from that person's perspective," says Dan Pink.
In the healthcare field they now train doctors in empathy because not only does it lower litigation, but it increases the efficacy of the care to patients. The same is true in the world of selling. We are paid and rewarded more to feel than we are to think in sales and to get our customers to feel more than to just logically think.
"If you enjoy the feeling that you are very persuasive then High Probability Selling probably won't work for you. Any attempt to persuade when using HPS will backfire because it will generate more distrust than if you simply use a traditional way of selling. If you feel your success relies on your ability to change people's minds, then it may be difficult to give up that idea," says Charles Ingalls. The non-selling posture is very comparable in that it stresses giving up control, questioning over pitching and having the customer independently come to their own conclusions.
Once your ego is engaged and on high alert, all bets are off in a sales call. Sales people's egotistical position only heightens the defenses of their customer's egotistical position. We all know how challenging and frustrating it can be to have a constructive conversation with a customer whose ego is fully engaged. The primary purpose of the non-selling posture is to help sales people minimize ego, self-interest, self-reference and be expectation free and hyperrealistic.
Being a hyperrealist is subversive to many conventional sales people because most sell in an unrealistic, ideal and romantic world where customers pretend to pay attention, find sales people's pitches memorable and inspiring, freely share the truth, do not prevaricate or manipulate and love to have sales people influence their choices.
The non-selling posture is a reaction to the fact that in the information economy customers share little information to sales people, do not inform them that they are pursuing a lost cause, rarely give them the privilege of saying they are not interested, or giving the sales person the peace of mind of closure. Customers rightfully justify their actions in many cases because they get so little value and professional respect out of the sales interaction, and they know that sales people are primarily operating from their own self-interest. So they have no qualms about returning the favor.
"A man's sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results," says John Gray. Sales people have a fierce competitive spirit and love to win. Unfortunately, they are perceived by customers of wanting to win at their expense. However, customers and sales people both win regardless of the outcome when goals are defined, problems are isolated, costs are assessed, the cost of change is fully discussed and the priority of changing is fully explored. Selling is not persuasion, it is about helping customers decide what is in their best interests. That is the essence of the non-selling posture.
Because of their strong self-interest in defining themselves in making the sale, sales people are viewed as non-credible and apathetic. Most sales people have to be shown how to be trustworthy, credible, insightful and empathetic. The non-selling posture is an artificial insemination of empathy that forces the sales person to listen with care, restrain their pitch, create value by having customers look at their business differently, and allow the customer to find their own answers independent of the sales person's self-interest.
"In the last 20 years we've been taught what to say and what to do but not what to think," says Bill Caskey. This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges sales people face because their instincts are not aligned with what they are saying. Sales people need to reengineer the way they think about selling, building trust, assessing opportunities and their role as a facilitator. Once they think differently and their intent to help the customer is authentic, the words will come naturally. If sales people sold where they were not emotionally involved in the outcome, they would begin to really create value as trusted advisors.