Granger Network Content Strategist
Before coming to work at The Granger Network a year ago, I owned my own business.
There were a lot of things I liked about the experience of being a business owner—sales was most definitely not one of those things.
But over the last year, I’ve gotten the chance to watch my colleagues. And I’ve noticed how they go about sales in a totally different way.
And what I learned from watching them is something totally counter-intuitive about sales: To be truly great at sales, you cannot “sell.”
What do I mean?
The basic definition of selling is to “give or hand over (something) in exchange for money.”
But it’s the secondary definition of selling that often comes to mind for folks when they think about (read: dread) sales: “to persuade someone of the merits of.” To persuade. To convince. To cajole. The role of the salesperson is to push someone to buy what they are selling.
No wonder I dreaded sales so intensely. No one wants to strong-arm someone else…just as no one wants to be strong-armed themselves! It’s forced. Unnatural.
But sales doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn’t be that.
Great sales is never about cajoling or convincing. In a way, great sales isn’t about selling at all—it’s about listening.
It isn’t about being the expert who knows what’s best for the client / customer—it’s about being the discoverer, committed to finding out what’s really going for them, what will really make the difference, what will close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
Practically, this means relaxing into the process. It means resisting the impulse to rush to the sale and produce the proposal ASAP. It means feeling confident in not having all of the answers—at the start, anyway. It means being open to having the offer you thought you were going to make evolve in lock-step with the needs you are discovering in conversation.
A few weeks ago, I watched a recording of a Zoom sales call between a colleague of mine and a prospect. For the first five minutes of the call, my colleague barely said a word. The prospect just kept outflowing, sharing what was going on for them and their company.
10 minutes. 20 minutes. Still—barely a word from my colleague. “Are they ever going to say something!?“ I thought to myself.
Finally, 35 minutes into a 45-minute call, my colleague started to bridge the gap between the problem the client was describing and the services our firm could provide.
My anxiety in listening to that recording was rooted in the old paradigm of sales—time was running out to convince them to buy! My colleague was firmly planted in a more powerful paradigm of sales—committed to discovering what was of fundamental importance.
Now, all of this is easier said than done. As we already established, you may be feeling the pressure to make things happen, to notch a win, to make the sale…and that’s normal.
And I’m not saying you should stay silent for the first 30 minutes of your next sales call—your prospect might think something is wrong with you!
But if you can give yourself the time and space to step into that role of discoverer—to get curious, ask questions, to go where the conversation takes you—you’ll be amazed at how the sales process is transformed.
It’s no longer a fraught, nerve-wracking, uncomfortable process. It’s an authentic opportunity to discover what’s of real concern for your customer and to generate exciting new possibilities that neither of you saw before.
Sales is actually a co-invention.
Sales Leader Development Training
Sales is a fundamental concern for every organization. Sales conversations, however, often produce moods of skepticism and distrust. While some professionals love the art of selling, others must deal with a subtle resistance to “sell,” even when they believe in the product or service. In this program, we provide a new narrative for the sales professional, develop the capacity to conduct “transformative” sales, and manage and empower their sales team. Learn More