Start Helping, Not Selling

Although I have been in sales in one capacity or another for over 30 years and BDU is a sales training, coaching and consulting company, I am a big believer that nobody in the whole wide world wants to be sold anything.  People or companies are seeking help to achieve their goals and objectives.  In other words…they want to be helped out.  So I tell people that they should stop trying to “sell” anything and instead start helping not selling.

One of the easiest ways to start helping not selling is to change the way you think of yourself.      I recommend that anyone in sales should consider themselves consultants not sales people.   For example, if you are a printing sales associate, change your title to printing consultant or if you are an IT sales associate, change to a IT consultant.  Furthermore, imagine that you will not be compensated for “making the sale.”  Instead, you will only be compensated if you can do one thing and one thing only…if you can figure out how you can help the person or company.  If you determine how to help them…ultimately you will make the sale. If you can’t figure out a way to help them…you won’t.

As a consultant or advisor, your need to get a good understanding and prospective of your prospect’s current situation, goals, priorities, initiatives as well as any problems or challenges that they are experiencing . Oftentimes sales people tend to jump right into presenting their products and services via elaborate presentations with well thought out and extensive slide decks without doing a thorough analysis of what is important to their prospects.  They are just hoping that what they are presenting is what the prospect wants.   They go in a do what we in the industry call, “show up and throw up”.  Instead, sales people should take the time to ask the right questions and uncover the client’s full history, current needs and future objectives.  Then, and only then, will the sales consultants’ presentation be focused and relevant enough to meet their prospective client’s needs and wants.

To illustrate this point I often use the analogy of a sales person and a physician.  When a patient goes to the doctor for the first time they are asked to provide lots of information about family history and current health status both in a written format as well as verbally to the Physician Assistant or Nurse that also takes the vital signs.  Then, the physician will conduct a physical exam as well as inquire about any problems or health issues.   Sometimes the doctor will recommend further tests and then and only, will they provide the diagnosis, prognosis and cure.  In fact, if they do this in the reverse order…it could potentially lead to malpractice. Just as the physician presents the solution after asking the right questions and obtaining all the pertinent information, so should the sales consultants.     The sales consultant must gather the facts first, and then present the solutions. By doing this, they will make sure that they are presenting the correct solutions to the prospect…ultimately demonstrating how they can help them. This, in my opinion, is the best way to make the sale.

To summarize:  First, take the emphasis off of “sale” and focus on “help”; start helping not selling.  Second, reposition yourself to prospective clients as a sales consultant and advisor rather than a sales person.  And finally, get the facts and do the research prior to presenting your products and services.

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