Sales As A Spiritual Practice
Sales has been focused on placing product. While some would disagree and claim it’s based on the ‘buyer’s needs’, it comes down to how to get a product placed.
Imagine if sellers had the tools to be true spiritual guides and not only sell product, but sell more than ever and become part of the buyer’s team with all of the commensurate integrity and values.
What would be the difference – in skill sets? In outcomes? In beliefs?
To consider sales as a Spiritual Practice, let’s start with my definition of ‘spiritual’. To me it means:
- always having a win-win (there is no such thing as win-lose);
- understanding that the whole is greater than the parts;
- understanding that we are all here to serve each other;
- recognizing that there is no right answer;
- believing that no one has an answer for someone else.
Different from sales, which sometimes has a ‘win-lose’, which sometimes believes that the parts might be greater than the whole, in which the seller serves the buyer, has the ‘right’ answer in their solution, and indeed might have the buyer’s ‘answer’, let’s change the equation from sales to facilitating the buying environment.
Let’s also define sellers as Guides (guides that lead buyers to their best decisions based on their own criteria) and discuss what our jobs would look like with this new set of beliefs.
ALWAYS HAVE A WIN-WIN
To have a win-win, both sides would have to get what they needed in equal measure. I realize that sellers tell themselves that by placing product, there is an automatic win-win.
But the dialogue must be much, much bigger than product placement. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. How did the Identified Problem show up that way? How is it kept in place daily? Why hasn’t it been resolved until now? What are the issues that would have to be managed in order to bring in a new/different solution and not create havoc?
Until or unless all of the internal systems issues are addressed that not only created but maintain the status quo, the buyer can’t decide, and product/service- focused dialogues are misplaced, mistimed, and misguided.
Imagine having a product-needs discussion about moving an iceberg when the entire discussion revolved around just the iceberg’s tip. That’s what the conventional sales model does, and ignores the entire range of systems issues that created and maintain the IP.
Changing the model means the seller will have to take some responsibility to help the buyer manage their off-line, behind-the-scenes decisions.
Is it the current vendor relationship that must be shifted somehow? Does one department have to relinquish a job? What about changes in policy? Or people’s egos? What about historic rules that have kept the Identified Problem in place? Or how have departments and job descriptions evolved so that the status quo is relatively functional?
Having a win-win means that all of these issues get resolved so the buyer is freed up to make a good policy decision. It’s not about your product or their problem.
When sellers see a PROBLEM it becomes the focus of all needs analysis, data gathering, data presenting. Sales is actually defined as a way to place a solution, and everything that supports the selling model is based on placing a solution in the right way to the right demographic. And yet sellers still close under 10% of their prospects (and waste 90% of their time).
Imagine if the sales job were to help the buyer make a buying decision based on the system issues that need to be resolved prior to making any changes. Imagine if buyers knew just what and when and how to buy once they achieved buy-in for change. Imagine not having to sell anymore, and closing twice as many sales. Imagine.