The Non-Selling Posture is an Eloquent Strategy
That Requires Very Little Eloquence
The non-selling posture demolishes the conventional sales process and reconstructs it from the ground up. It challenges the primacy of information and product selling. It's a very clean methodology that eschews the typical extraneous excess of reliance on pomp, product propaganda and it's delivery mechanism; an outgoing personality and incurable enthusiasm. It's an eloquent process that requires very little eloquence. It's about not denying reality. It's all about avoiding trying to put a square peg into a round hole.
The non-selling posture is an exercise in self-control and nuanced restraint. It requires a cool head and very little product sentimentality and nostalgia. It's a no-frills process that relies on a frank and forthcoming exchange of real information. There's no spectacle of self-serving company PowerPoints and selling fluff.
The days of pummeling customers into submission with information is so yesteryear. Selling today is all about customer understanding, patience, humility and trust. Performed properly the tortoise (non-selling posture) will consistently beat the hare (standard issued sales person).
The beauty of the non-selling posture is the whole strategy has trust imbedded in it so you really stack the deck in your favor in relationship to your competition who is desperately fighting for credibility and authority. It gives you a huge advantage because few sales people have the inborn natural talent to project authority and attract trust, especially if they're using archaic, post-modern sales strategies of pitching and pushing product.
Good sales people realize that they're a lot less influential in sales engagements than their customers. They recognize the importance that it's not the right solution that will carry the day, but it's being with the right person, with the right problem, with the right authority and leverage, with the right timing, under the right circumstances. Traditional sales people operate under the false assumption that they wield a lot of influence. In the world of B-2-B selling the reality is you can't consistently get someone to buy something against their will or best interests.
The real power of influence lies with the customer. Your goal is to facilitate. The only sustainable influence a sales person has is their process of inquiry to tap into what customers are already predisposed to do. As long as you believe you're very influential you'll tend to take center stage, ask few questions, usurp your customer's position and misuse your information, all resulting in damaged trust, minimal understanding and elongated selling cycles. True influence is subtle, understated, indirect and implied.
The non-selling posture is the art of conveying professional emotional distance and at the same time deep depth and intimacy. Your motive for personal gain is far away and your motive for understanding and insight is close and personal. Like trust, the non-selling posture can't be forced or manipulated, it can only be earned. That's why it works.
"For the first time, customers are really going to listen to you. And why not? It's their business you're talking about, not yours. They really want me to sell, because they want the improved profits they know I can deliver. As a result it's no longer clear to me whose job I'm doing, their's or mine. It's no longer clear to them either. Maybe that's why were working so well together," says Mark Hanan. Selling is a voluntary process best initiated by your customer. The greatest enemy of selling is the illusion of it.
Most mainstream sales people could be labeled extreme loyalists. They're loyal to their company, themselves and their selfish agenda, at the expense of not being loyal to their customer's concerns, issues and priorities. And this is probably a leading reason why customers are considered so disloyal themselves.
The customer can't feel securely in control and in charge of a sales call as long as sales people think and act as if they're in charge. Knowing you're powerless is very powerful. Knowing that it's all about the customer and not about you is very powerful. You need strong conviction and courage to transition from overselling to underselling and being comfortable with uncertainty. "Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties," says Eric Fromm.