The Best Sales Tactic Ever, Isn’t a Sales Tactic

The funniest things go through your mind when riding a bike on switchbacks up a mountain. It came to me today while slogging up the hill that something a client of mine and I had talked about last week riding up the same mountain together was pretty important. Sales people and business owners really don’t get it.

He related that he had been at a gathering and a friend introduced him to an insurance guy, then promptly walked off, leaving my friend with a guy who oozed “sales pitch”. Sure enough, the sales pitch came almost immediately.

My friend was polite but cut in and made it very clear that he was not the least bit interested in insurance of any kind, that he was totally happy with his existing insurance of every kind, and didn’t need any second opinions at this time of any kind. The insurance guy nodded, then went on for 20 minutes about his great insurance. My friend finally had to make up an excuse to get out of the conversation and move on.

If this insurance guy had understood the best sales tactic ever, my friend would have had no annoying story to tell me. What most sales people and most business owners do not understand is that our job is enter other people’s worlds, not get them to enter ours; to meet them where THEY are at, not where we want them to be.

Drawing people into “my world” is what we all want to do. Let me tell you how great I am, how great my product/service is, and how great you would be if you just jumped into my world with both feet and bought my stuff. I know what’s best for you, so I’ll ignore what you’re saying and keep on recruiting you to enter my world.

What if we took the opposite approach? What if we said to ourselves, what does that person want and need, without regard to what I’m selling? What if I was simply willing to enter their world, to mentally and emotionally meet them where they live, not where I live? This is the essence of servant-selling. Serve, don’t sell. We all want to buy stuff, but none of wants to be sold stuff. Serve me where I am at, regardless of your product/service, and I just might be interested in buying from you.

Here’s the simple, but incredibly challenging “sales tactic”. It comes from the book, The Power of Purpose, by Peter Temes, (the subtitle, “Living Well by Doing Good” is my life vision). This isn’t a sales book, but should be. Peter says the highest tier, Tier Three of “thinking” is “What does the other person I’m talking about think and feel about themselves, and how can I help push them forward in that?” Tier Three thinking does not focus on what I feel and think, or even what the other person feels and thinks about ME, but only where they are and what I can do to help push them forward right there.

Start purposing to enter other people’s worlds, and apply Tier Three thinking to everything you do. You’ll be surprised how hard it is to stay focused on the needs of others (it was very revealing to me how self-focused I am). It will also be the most powerful way to break down barriers, make a friend, and put someone in a position where they want to buy from you.

If you start entering other people’s worlds, meeting them where THEY are at, and do it with the right motive, you may never have to sell anything again. People will be too busy buying from you.