002 What is Selling


What is Selling? There has been countless number of books and articles written on the topic of sales and yet most of them close over this fundamental question. What is selling? If you are getting started in sales, it can be pretty daunting. Sales have a bad reputation frankly because most sales people are bad at it. They don’t understand this fundamental question of sales. What is selling? They try to use tactics or manipulation such as exploring offers or limited quantities or try to introduce scarcity in order to make you fear that you are missing out. But this is not what a good sales person does. Before we address the answer of what is selling, it’s important to understand what the sales relationship actually is.

The first thing to understand is that the buyer is in control of the ultimate decision. Think about it. The buyer has money, and money is probably the most useful tool that mankind has created. It can be used by this product or service or that product or service or any number of pretty much infinite number of decisions, buying decisions, could be made with money. However, once you’ve spent it, it’s gone and invested in this one product or service which the buyer thinks will make them happy, will make them happier or lead to a goal or outcome that they desire. Once they’ve invested in that product or service, it becomes very difficult to exchange that for something else.

So the buyer has this useful tool, infinitely useful tool called money. They want the specific product or service, what leaves them in control of the ultimate decision. So, thinking about that that the buyer is in control, the only way to do selling properly is to present your product in a way which meets the buyer’s motivation. That’s what selling ultimately really is. It’s you are presenting your product or service in a way which meets the buyer’s motivation, because they have the ultimate decision on the matter. They are going to decide if this product or service is valuable to them, and so the only way to sell something is to position it in a way which meets their motivations.

For example, let’s say your products or service offers four main benefits; A, B, C and D. The buyer only cares about A and B benefit. However, you don’t take the time to realize this and you spend your entire sales pitch or presentation talking about C and D, because maybe that’s important to you, maybe that’s what most of your other customers have. Maybe that’s the reason why most of your other customers have bought for C and D, but those benefits don’t mean anything to this potential buyer.

So ultimately, you will not make the sale. The buyer is looking for A and B, you’ve spent your entire sales pitch on C and D and no deal will come about. You’ll both be left wondering why because you knew there was a possibility. Both you and the buyer knew there was a possibility and yet nothing came about. Now the tricky part about motivations is you can’t just ask the prospect directly, “Hey, just tell me all your motivations and I’ll present my product in the way which meets those.

Unfortunately, people are a little more complicated than that. It would be great if that were the case. It would certainly make selling a lot much easier. But unfortunately, you have to do a little bit of digging. The way to do that is by asking questions. Unfortunately, because people are a little complicated, you have to read between the lines sometimes. So for example, someone may come into a car dealership and the sales person made approach on them saying, “So, what brings you into the lot today? What brings you to look for a new car?” The buyer may say something like, “Well, our neighbor has just got a new car and we were thinking about maybe it’s time for an upgrade.”

Now, reading between the lines, this could mean that what really motivates these people is the keeping up with the Joneses and that they are potentially jealous of the neighbor’s new car and they want something which is going to show off their status a bit more. Now, you may think that this is maybe not the most ideal or moral way to make a purchasing decision, but it’s the buyer’s decision ultimately and who are you to tell them that what they’re looking for is good or bad.

Your job as a sales person is basically to act as mini consultant and help them get what they are looking for. Keeping in mind that, as a sales person, you are presenting your product in a way which meets the buyer’s motivations. That’s pretty much all you need to know about selling. You can throw out all those clichés that you’ve had, stuff like always be closing. You’ll realize why that’s wrong when you come to understand this, You’ll feel better. Something will be much easier. I know when I understood this better that I used to be nervous about selling, and now it becomes much easier because you are just helping the other party get what they want. That will make both of you very happy.

Published by

Matt McCormick

Matt is the host of "7 Minute Sales" - a podcast from the perspective of a developer-founder who is learning to sell and market more effectively. Follow my journey and lessons learned at blog.touchingbase.io. Matt is also the founder of TouchingBase.io - A Better Follow Up System for Gmail.