The Definition of Sales

I was recently a featured speaker on the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals webinar, and one of the attendees followed up with me and asked me how I would define selling in today’s day and age.

To me, the answer has not changed from thousands of years ago. Yet I realized how many folks may not have the same answer as I do. When I wondered how other people would define sales, I asked them first and got variegated answers which ultimately led me to want to write this article.

So here is the definition – and it’s really simple. Sales is simply this – it’s helping your prospects. Too simple?  OK, let me be slightly more specific. It’s the process of actively listening to people about their pains and needs and then helping them solve that pain and need with your help. Selling is about discovering the prospect’s need by asking them and actively listening to them, and then having a joint plan to help them achieve their needs better, faster and more cost-effectively than anyone else could help them.

And guess what? Telling your prospects that you are not the best person to help is selling, too. If you realize that you cannot be the one to help them, then you are doing your job as a professional salesperson who is responsible, genuine and honest with your prospect when you don’t have the best solution for them.  Honesty and integrity will rewards you 10x more than any single sale, and great salespeople are the ones with the moral compass that tells them to point their prospect elsewhere whenever they are not the one with the best solution to help. Your job is all about helping your prospect discover that you can help them solve their pain, but only when that is truly so.

Let me also say what selling is not and never was. Sales is not about convincing anyone or using any tactics to persuade your prospect to buy something from you that is not in their best interest.  Your role and your primary objective is to focus on helping to solve your prospect’s pain rather than pushing your product. If the former is how you approach your job, then you are a true sales professional.

Happy Selling in February and, despite a short 19-day selling month, I know that true sales professionals (i.e. helpers) will be the ones who will do best this month and every month.

Zorian Rotenberg is VP of Sales & Marketing at InsightSquared. Follow him on Twitter at@zorian.

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