A few years ago I was a speaker at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals event, 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.
Generally speaking, sales is a process of creating value and helping prospective customers fix their problems. Sales is all about ABH or Always Be Helping rather than an old school ABC which was all about Always Be Closing.
And here is a more specific definition of Sales in the CHAMP Selling System:
“Selling is creating value for your customers by helping them to solve their problems and providing them a Return on Investment (ROI).”
Too simple? OK, let’s be slightly more specific. It’s just the process of actively listening to people discuss their problems (so as to understand their needs) and then helping them solve these problems and address their core need with your help (but only if you truly and honestly have the right solution that fits them). 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.
Part of selling is being authentic and letting your prospects know when you are not the best person to help them – if you realize that you cannot be the one to help them, then you are doing your job as a sales professional who is a responsible, genuine and honest individual (be truthful and also helpful to redirect your prospects when you don’t have the best solution for them).
Honesty and integrity are a critical part of selling and being honest will always reward 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 – 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.