Redefining Selling

“Hello. Gotta talk to you. I wanna switch to Cardknox. But I wanna do it ASAP. Do you have ACH as well?” A text message I received this past week. 

I hopped on with them almost immediately to answer their questions and help them through my simple application process. By the time this article is published, they will have already been boarded as a new client. 

The amount of selling I did was zero. It caught me by surprise. Have I been mistaken for years? Have I been misinterpreting sales my entire life? Have I been trying to sell way too hard while not appreciating the value I truly offer? 

If I’m defining sales as let me tell you why you need this product and why you should be buying it from me, then not only have I been trying to sell too hard, but I’m also completely misinterpreting the word, sales.

Business owners have a hard time being comfortable with the ‘sales’ responsibility. Nancy Bleeke Noel, (Why Does Sales Still Get a Bad Rap? May 2018, Sales Pro Insider) elaborates that “small business owners with technical expertise (that’s you financial advisors, CPAs, lawyers, engineers) or products that are valuable to the consumer seem to have an especially hard time being comfortable and skillful with the sales part of their responsibilities.” “In fact,” continues Noel, “I see many of them pour more money than they should into marketing and other efforts just so they don’t have to sell. At some point, conversations with potential buyers do occur and in fact, may be needed to help buyers make confident buying decisions; and they aren’t prepared for a collaborative conversation that will secure the “yes, we’ll work with you” decision.”

The simple word, sales, has thus made me feel needy for a while. It’s made me feel that all I wanted was something from the other. I’ve been hesitant for so long to eradicate the word sales from my conscious as I interact with others when in the sales process.

My current email signature which hasn’t been updated in years even says ‘account executive. But who am trying to trick? Mr. or Mrs. Director of Development, we get it. You’re in sales. So is every CEO, and they are selling much more than a product. They are selling ideas and a vision to their employees. I have it easy.

So how to shed that negative premise? Step one is to acknowledge what sales is. Step two is to be proud of the term in how it relates to the value we add. 

My personal greatest sales successes have come when it was completely about the other. When there was a need I was able to solve it, like a missing puzzle piece in an unfinished puzzle. Like the time I landed a major client because of current chargeback issues they were facing. Or a recent client from last week, a bookkeeping company, that reached out and required an account set up for a client to be rushed before the fifteenth of the month because of their client net fifteen policies. They also needed it done with certain specifications, like having the new payment gateway integrated into other existing internal software. It’s realizing that your prospects need you more than you need them. Once you get there, you’re selling on another level. It’s not about you anymore. The client feels listened to instead of sold to.

It’s about going through our customers and appreciating that each had a specific need at that exact time and place when they became a clients of ours. We have so much to offer that there’s no need to force the sale.

The selling in sales should ideally be more about helping get our prospects to the finish line. Showing that we’re listening to their concerns and helping with the decision-making process. Go out and ask for business but not without believing in your value and understanding how you can benefit the other simultaneously.

Hence, I hereby redefine the term sales, as ‘offering a product or service utilizing the power of emotional intelligence.’ Speaking of, that client application has just been approved, and my phone’s ringing. Gotta go. 

Shalom Markman
Merchant Consulting Group LLC

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