Needing to Make the Sale
is What's Holding You Back
The ideal sales call is product free, expectation free, pressure free, bias free and has nothing to prove or disprove. It's all about getting to your customer's truth and their perception of reality. Their circumstances and situation drives the sale more so than your solution.
In sales there's very little substitute for genuine lack of selling. Sales people by and large will successfully sell in direct proportion to their need not to have to make the sale. "The secret to making a sale isn't wanting to make a sale," says Scott Savage. This underscores the essence of the non-selling posture. The non-selling posture strives for total freedom. Freedom is achieved when you have nothing to lose.
When you take on a non-selling posture you'll find that you no longer will have your adrenaline racing going into turbocharge deciding whether you'll buy a Lexus instead of an Infinity with your forthcoming commission check. The non-selling posture keeps you off an emotional roller coaster and allows you to have a more balanced mature adult to adult conversation with your customers.
Sales people too often go into a sales call with what I call a "closed mind." They either are too emotionally focused on a positive outcome, or too worried about a negative outcome. When you go into a sales call with an open mind you're open to any and all possibilities; pro or con. You tend to listen more and gain much greater insight and understanding of your customer and their business.
Sales people who take 100% responsibility for their own results and how they interact with their customers don't place undue pressure and expectations on them. A non-selling posture relies heavily on a position of professional detachment. True detachment comes from deep understanding, care and respect, not from distancing yourself from your customer.
The irony is you risk distancing yourself from your customer when you're too close, needy, wanting, overly eager and familiar. When you don't have appropriate boundaries with your customer, especially early on, you prematurely put pressure on your customer, resulting in them putting up their defensive guard.
Giving without expectation of return is the ultimate sacrifice in life and is an ideal goal in the profession of selling. However, how can we give without expectation of return and still be profitable? The definition has a variation in sales. Instead of giving away all your assets of time, resources, information and energy; you give away your attachment to the outcome. You give customers the ultimate sacrifice; a neutral, non-biased and objective perspective of whether or not you can help them, or whether or not they should change.
The non-selling posture is all about letting the customer get their emotional needs met before the sales person. It takes the position that you don't know what is best for your customer, or at least you don't let them know that. As long as you don't know in advance, you'll spend a lot of quality time trying to find it out.
Any sales strategy that isn't "me" focused is difficult for most sales people. That's why the non-selling posture is challenging. However, when we don't satisfy our ego or sense of self we can satisfy much easier the ego and emotional needs of our customer. Putting the customer ahead of the sales person is the hallmark of the non-selling posture.
Sales is unfortunately fraught with unresponsive, unreliable and unaccommodating customers; it's the nature of the beast. You will always have customers who don't return your calls, don't get back to you when they promise, will say one thing and mean another, politely mislead you and be total flake jobs. When this happens sales people too often try to get customers to unrealistically change their behaviors; while personally driving themselves nuts in the process. Instead, they should do something that is far easier, realistic and practical; change their own expectations, attitudes and behavioral responses. The question is which is easier, to change the customer's behavior, or change your own reaction and perception? The answer is a no-brainer.
Traditional selling is what I call fear-based selling. It's optimism run amuck. A non-selling posture on the other hand invites and welcomes reality and bad news as a viable and realistic outcome. It's built on the foundation of good business decisions sales and not rampaging emotions, wild assumptions and unrealistic expectations. It's always disheartening to lose a tightly contested deal that you never had a chance to win. It's heartbreaking to lose at the end, instead of losing at the beginning of the deal where you didn't have to wastefully squander your assets. The more emotionally invested you're in the deal, the more likely your perceptions will be skewed and distorted, and the more likely you'll make bad business decisions. The non-selling posture is always about taking a balanced approach.
"If you want to see reality clearly and take action based on all available input, you must be able to accept differences of opinion and accept no. Once you do that you start seeing the other's viewpoint without losing your own," says Susan Campbell. Accepting negative feedback and bad news carries a price, but the price of getting "yes to death " or getting "killed with kindness" carries even a higher price of long selling cycles, unending frustration, false sense of security and higher cost of sales.