The Non-Selling Posture
is Uncommon Sense
In the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, they talk about how everyone is fighting for share of mind in the red ocean where competition is fierce and where sharks reign. The Blue Ocean Strategy is where few are competing and where you can truly stand out. The key is finding out where you stand out.
One simple but not easy way to stand out from a selling perspective is to put the emphasis on not what you sell, but how you position it and sell it. In my mind it's the remaining Blue Ocean that can give you a sustainable competitive advantage in a world where distrust reigns and product/service parity is widespread. The non-selling posture is a tool to position your company, product and yourself totally different than the competition.
The non-selling posture bypasses and bucks the trend of classic salesmanship in every way, or more accurately it simply ignores it. This sales strategy is a state of being. It's less doing. It's about allowing customers to be free to speak their minds, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer. This however, necessitates sales people to greatly hold back their unique perspective and viewpoints (indiscriminate pitching and pushing product).
Mainstream sales people put all their stock, hope and energy into persuasion, instead of a simpler tactic that is attainable by all; open communication, transparency and most importantly the ability to understand their customer's challenges and priorities.
The non-selling posture is about unconditional acceptance that doesn't demand anything in return. And without deep understanding there is only superficial acceptance. This professional acceptance allows the customer the time and space to organize their thinking, priorities and commitment about their issues, look inwardly to find their own answers, and decide if the timing and circumstances are right to take action or not.
The non-selling posture positions you as an original voice and distinguishes you from the pack. This strategy is the antithesis of high– mindedness. It's just basic uncommon common sense. This selling posture is moored and anchored in reality, practicality, non-hype and no nonsense. It's important to be pragmatic if you're going to be a counterweight to customers who expect lots of non-essential information, easy answers, lots of bias and little valuable insight. Most Conventional sales people display only an occasional benign interest in their customers, nothing more than superficial self-interest.
Most orthodox sellers bring their "A game" to sales calls which is really their "me game." Those who embrace the non-selling posture know that the ultimate gesture of goodwill is to allow the customer to tell their own story (problems) in their own unique version, unencumbered by pressure and undo outside influence.
Customers have a right to be heard and company-centric sellers often deny this basic right. They frequently don't even want the sales person to tell their sales story, even if they're a perfect fit. Customers want to tell their own story, in their own way, in their own time, in their own words. Because they don't expect to be granted this privilege, they ironically pressure sales people for lots of superficial information they really don't need, but it at least allows them to cut to the chase and cut their losses and exposure.
Selling isn't unlike buying. A smart buyer doesn't just buy impulsively the first thing they see. They shop around, they exercise their options. Likewise with a sales person, you don't just accept everything the customer says as the gospel. You shop around the truth by asking tough questions. You sift, you sort. You listen for conflicting messages. If you make a commitment to buy what they have to say, then you invest your time and resources. It isn't about you. It's all about the customer's responses, situation and circumstances that will drive decisions for or against buying and changing.
The non-selling posture is learning to be self-sufficient and not to be so dependent on your product. Your product doesn't define you. Your product is secondary to the customer as to what will ultimately be the biggest factor in the sales engagement.