Are you really in sales?Article added by Steve Lewit on April 16, 2012

Steve Lewit

Buffalo Grove, IL

Joined: February 27, 2008

My Company

The rule I have is simple. If there is no emotion, there is no sale.

What’s totally unpredictable, engagingly mysterious, almost always irrational, virtually impossible to figure out and finally, that which your entire career hinges on? The answer: human nature.

My day, like yours, is filled with meeting and speaking with people. And, as we all know, each person is totally different than the other. Like snowflakes, if you will, no two people express their human nature in the same way. For me, that makes each and every moment of each and every day totally interesting and totally challenging.

Now, we in sales often think about the nature of our prospects and how we can better converse with and sell to them. What we don’t consider in that process is our own human nature and what we ourselves bring to the table.

In my experience, the human nature that most sales professionals bring to the table is totally counterproductive to the success of their sales and business. To put it more bluntly, most sales pros think they are trying to make sales, but the truth is they have a totally different agenda.

Are you really in sales? Step into my world and find out.

We are always trying to find the client’s emotional motivation to buy. The rule I have is simple. If there is no emotion, there is no sale.

Our clients are ultimately moved to make a change by the depth of their emotion, either to get rid of something that is causing them pain, or to fulfill a gap they have in getting the pleasure they want (fulfilling a dream, for example).

Now, we as sales pros, have the same emotional drives percolating within us. Like our clients, the emotions within each of us will drive us when we are on our sales calls. The question is, what emotion is really doing the driving?

Most sales pros think that the emotion that is driving them is the emotion connected with making money, e.g., then you can buy the house you’ve always wanted; or you could pay off the credit cards that are hanging over your head; or you could have more peace of mind, less stress, and so on. What most sales professionals don’t understand (or see) is that there are even greater emotional drives that subvert their drive for money.

Let’s take a couple of examples:

Jim likes to give lots of information anytime a client asks a question. He sees this as the proper way to serve the client and to build trust. Yet, he is not making sales. At the end of his sales process, his clients often say to him, “Jim, we really appreciate all the information you’ve given us. We just need a few weeks to digest it all and we’ll be back to you.”

While Jim thinks his goal is to make a sale, I say to Jim that he just thinks that his top priority is to make sales, but it really isn’t. We talk a little bit, and he finally says to me that all his life he has always wanted to be liked by others.
Now, the emotion that comes with being liked has transferred into his selling. He gives information so that he will be liked, even though he knows that the more information he gives, the less likely he is to make a sale. His clients get the information they want and then leave; or they take control of the meeting; or they just tell him how much they like him.

Without knowing it, Jim has substituted his priority of making a sale for the priority of being liked. He does more to be liked than he does to make the sale.

Here’s another example:

Jennifer, a CFP, is an astute financial professional. Yet, she has a hard time with her selling. While her clients really love her, they don’t buy from her. Her clients often say something like, “Jennifer, you are fantastic and we really appreciate what you’ve done for us. This is simply the best plan we have ever seen. We just need time to run through the numbers and the details to make sure it’s what we want and then we’ll be back to you.”

So Jennifer thinks she is providing detailed and sophisticated planning and numbers in an effort to make a sale. I say to her that that isn’t true, there is something else percolating that is more important to her.

After spending some time together, Jennifer tells me of how her parents were never satisfied with her grades throughout her schooling and that now she realizes that she is trying to get the approval she couldn’t get from her parents through her clients. In other words, it was more important that her clients knew how smart she was than it was for Jennifer to make the sale.

Get the idea? Are you really in sales for the sale? Or are you trying to get some kind of therapy from your clients?

Here’s a list of what I call priority killers — things we substitute for the priority of making a sale, one or two of which may ring a bell for you. If it does, I can assure you that that one priority killer is seriously undermining your selling results.
  • You want to be liked
  • You want to show how smart you are
  • You want to please others
  • You want to feel important
  • You want to control other people and conditions
  • You want to feel better about yourself
  • You want to avoid confrontation
  • You want to help people
  • You want to look professional
  • You want to feel needed
The fact that we are human, just like our clients are human, can make the interaction between us and our clients very difficult and confusing. We think they want one thing when they are really wanting something else, and we think we want to make sales when we are really trying to get some other need met.

Selling, to me, is a process of self-discovery. If you can discover what is really driving you, learn how to sublimate that drive in your selling, and make selling truly your first priority, the results will surprise you and speak for themselves.
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