7 Ways to Stop "Selling" & Start Building Relationships
by: Ari Galper
Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder to keep us from backsliding into
old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down the wrong path with
I was inspired to write this article after a few coaching sessions with a
client named Michael, who sells a technology solution. Michael had been
struggling with a mental block about how to detach from the traditional sales
thinking he had learned from old-school sales "gurus".
You know who they are. You may even have some of their books or tapes. And
you know their sales messages too: "Always be closing," "Think positive, and
you'll overcome all your cold calling fears," "All you need to boost your sales
is a few new sales techniques."
But all these outdated sales messages fail to address the core issue of how
we think about selling. And unless we get to that core, and change it once and
for all, we'll go on struggling with the same counterproductive sales behaviors.
We'll go on experiencing the same difficulties and frustrations.
And we'll continue to believe that we're always just one new sales technique
away from the breakthrough we're looking for.
New Thinking = New Results
Maybe it's time to take a different approach. Maybe we need to seriously
analyze our sales thinking so we can identify why we're not making more sales.
Take a look at the table below and thinkabout your current selling mindset. How
would your selling behaviors change if you changed your sales thinking?
Traditional Sales Mindset: Always deliver a strong sales pitch.
New Sales Mindset: Stop the sales pitch -- and start a conversation.
Traditional Sales Mindset: Your central objective is always to close the
New Sales Mindset: Your central goal is always to discover whether you and
your potential client are a good fit.
Traditional Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's usually at the end of
the sales process.
New Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's usually right at the beginning
of the sales process.
Traditional Sales Mindset: Rejection is a normal part of selling.
New Sales Mindset: Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection. Rejection
should never happen.
Traditional Sales Mindset: Keep chasing every potential client until you get
a yes or a no.
New Sales Mindset: Never chase a potential client -- you'll only trigger more
Traditional Sales Mindset: When a prospect offers objections,challenge and/or
New Sales Mindset: When a potential client offers objections, uncover the
truth behind them.
Traditional Sales Mindset: If a potential client challenges the value of your
product or service, you must defend yourself and explain the value.
New Sales Mindset: Never defend yourself or what you have to offer -- it only
creates more sales pressure.
Let's take a closer look at these central concepts so you can begin to open
up your current sales thinking and become more effective in your selling
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1) Stop the sales pitch -- and start a conversation.
When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your
company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase
that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves. If you
don't know what this is, ask your current customers why they purchased your
solution. One example of an opening phrase might be, "I'm just calling to see if
you'd be open to some different ideas related to lowering the risk of any
computer downtime you may be having in your company?" Notice that you are not
pitching your solution with this opening phrase.
2) Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential
client are a good fit.
Let go of trying to "close the sale" or "get the appointment"-- and you will
discover that you don't have to take responsibility for moving the sales process
forward. If you simply focus your conversation on problems that you can help
potential clients solve, and if you don't jump the gun by trying to move the
sales process forward, you will find that potential clients will actually bring
you into their buying process.
3) When you lose a sale, it's usually right at the beginning of the sales
If you believe that you lose sales because you make a mistake at the end of
the process, take a look back at how you began the relationship. Did you start
with a presentation? Did you use traditional sales language like, "We have a
solution that I believe you really need" or "Others in your industry have bought
our solution, so you should consider it as well"?
When you use traditional sales language, potential clients can't help but
label you with the negative stereotype of "salesperson." This makes it almost
impossible for them to relate to you from a position of trust. And if trust
isn't established at the outset, honest communication about the problems they're
trying to solve, and how you might be able to help them, becomes impossible too.
4) Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection. Rejection should never
Rejection happens for only one reason: Something you said, as subtle as it
might have been, triggered a defensive reaction from your potential client.
Yes, something you said. To eliminate rejection, simply shift your mindset so
that you give up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, everything
you say and do should stem from the basic mindset that you are there to help
potential clients. This makes you able to ask, "Would you be open to talking
about issues you might be having affecting your business?"
5) Never chase a potential client--you'll only trigger more sales pressure.
"Chasing" potential clients has always been considered normal and necessary,
but it's rooted in the macho selling image that, "If you don't keep chasing, it
means you're giving up -- and that means you're a failure."
This is dead wrong! Instead of chasing potential clients, tell them that you
would like to avoid anything that resembles the old cat-and-mouse chasing game
by scheduling a time for your next chat.
6) When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them.
Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on "overcoming
objections." These tactics only put more sales pressure on potential clients and
also fail to explore or understand the truth behind what the potential client is
saying. When you hear, "We don't have the budget," "Send me information," or
"Call me in a few months," do you think you're hearing the truth, or do you
suspect that these are polite evasions designed to end the conversation?
Rather than trying to counter objections, you can uncover the truth by
replying, "That's not a problem" -- no matter what clients are "objecting" to --
and then using gentle, dignified language that invites them to reveal the truth
about their situation.
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7) Never defend yourself or what you have to offer -- it only creates more
When a potential client says, "Why should I choose you over your
competition?," your first, instinctive reaction is probably to start defending
your product or service because you want to convince them to buy.
But what do you think goes through your potential client's mind at that
Something like, "This 'salesperson' is trying to sell me on why what they
have to offer is better, but I hate feeling as if I'm being sold." Rather than
defending yourself, try suggesting that you aren't going to try to convince them
of anything because that would only create sales pressure.
Instead, ask them about the key problems that they are trying to solve, and
then explore how your product or service might solve those problems --without
ever trying to persuade.. Let potential clients feel that they can choose you
without feeling "sold."
About The Author
With a Masters Degree in Instructional Design and over a decade of experience
creating breakthrough sales strategies for global companies such as UPS and
QUALCOMM, Ari Galper discovered the missing link that people who sell have been
seeking for years.
His profound discovery of shifting one's mindset to a place of complete
integrity, based on new words and phrases grounded in sincerity, has earned him
distinction as the world's leading authority on how to build trust in the world
Leading companies such as Gateway, Clear Channel Communications, Brother
International and Fidelity National Mortgage have called on Ari to keep them on
the leading edge of sales performance. Visit
to get his free sales training lessons.
Marketing Success Defined
Copyright 2007 by Mark S. Levit
How do you personally define success? High income? Substantial net worth? A
fine home? Peer recognition?
On a personal basis, there are likely almost as many definitions of success
as there are people in the world.
In marketing, though, there are just four measurable elements of success:
Profitability, Market Share, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention.
Profitability requires little explanation. The very reason businesses exist
is to make a profit, or generate more revenue than they pay out. Profitability
may be increased by reducing overhead and the cost of goods soldóor by
increasing the price to the buyer.
But prices can only be raised so much. Per the laws of price elasticity, as
prices rise, unit sales tend to decline, as does Market Share; which brings us
to our next measure of marketing success.
Market Share, as a measure of success, is important to marketers since the
greater the share, the more stable the brandís performance is in the
marketplace. A product with 65% market share is a force with which to be
reckoned. A product with 3% share is vulnerable to a variety of market factors
such as competitive pricing, promotions, loyalty to better-known brands and
Financial managers understand the impact of Profitability and Market Share.
But concepts such as Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention are softer
items and tend to be treated as lesser by those managers. Yet, the long term
success and growth of a brand is highly dependent on them.
Customer Satisfaction doesnít appear on a balance sheet. It canít be measured
in dollars and cents. Itís measured by the customerís feelings about a brand.
Does the brand deliver its promise? Is it a good value? Does it bring status to
the owner? Is the customer generally happy with the product? Customer
Satisfaction begets repeat purchases, loyalty, word-of-mouth advertising and, of
course, long-term profitability via Customer Retention.
Customer Retention, the final measure of marketing success, is closely tied
to Customer Satisfaction, Profitability and Market Share.
A satisfied customer is likely to remain loyal to a brand, thus enhancing
market share over the long-term, as new customers are acquired. Retained
customers increase the profitability of a brand. In the course of acquiring new
customers, retained customersí purchases can be counted on for continued profit
Itís widely known that itís five times more expensive to acquire a new
customer than it is to keep an old one. Makes you wonder why marketers donít
generally invest more in Customer Retention, doesnít it?
Few business organizations focus on all four elements of marketing success,
probably because theyíre difficult to balance and manage as separate items, yet
theyíre strongly interdependent.
The four elements of marketing success are reasons enough for financial
managers and marketing managers to gain a better understanding of one anotherísí
disciplines and work toward the common good of their companies.
About The Author
Mark Levit is managing partner of Partners & Levit Advertising and a
professor of marketing at New York University. Partners & Levit is an aggressive
marketing services firm leveraging branding, advertising, sales promotion,
direct response, seminar and event marketing, the Internet and other channels to
guide prospects along a continuum until they become your loyal customers. To
learn more visit
http://www.partnerslevit.com or call 212.696.1200.