Are you selling, or are you serving?
Selling—to “promote and execute an exchange of value”—relies on a fatal flaw, a natural error of human evolution. In short, we are a selfish species. We think about ourselves first, and our customers second. We obsess about what we want to sell (what WE want), rather than the customer (what THEY need). If I sell hammers, I try to sell you a hammer. Even if you’re looking for a screwdriver. Whether I sell used cars, nutritional supplements, treasury bonds, or life insurance, I’m here to sell you my product. And you are right to run in the other direction. No wonder selling can seem so difficult, an exercise in rejection. Selling is not the point. At least not yet. If you care about your customer, pivot your perspective, and seek to serve. Learn to diagnose like a doctor. First, do no harm. Start with empathy, to understand dreams and aspirations impeded by challenges, issues, and frustrations. Apply laddered inquiry (e.g “5 Whys”) to dig deeper for the underlying cause. Practice exploratory techniques (analog, precursor, metaphor, alternative, antithesis, hypothesis) to personalize their needs. Then weigh the range of solutions that best match the needs and preferences of your buyer; and only then present your offer when it suits them best. Case examples, live exercises, role play, and individual assignments allow you to put these skills into practice immediately and test and hone your capabilities with your instructor. Pose penetrating questions. Advise objectively and with empathy. Earn the trust you deserve. Stop selling. Start serving.