Don’t sell. Help.


By Alex Drew

One day last semester as I was sitting in my marketing class I learned one of the most valuable lessons to date. What my professor went on to explain and teach has stuck with me to this day and I want to share it with you. He stated:

“Successful salespeople don’t just sell people things, they help them find what they are looking for”

When you take a minute to think about this simple saying I hope it has the same effect on you as it did me. I thought back to all the times salespeople have assisted me and came to the conclusion that the truly successful ones were able to help me find what it was I was truly looking for.

Whether it was a new baseball glove, new bike, or even simply what to order at a restaurant the salespeople I remember and who have had an effect on me did not try to just push expensive product in my face. Instead, the most memorable sales experiences I have involved a person who truly helped me in my shopping process and wanted what was best for me.

Now, personally I have been in a positions where I was able to put this lesson into practice. While working for Northwestern Mutual Insurance Co. when I first started my internship it was all about calling the biggest clients and trying to bring about the most premium. As you may expect I saw very little success in those first few months and hardly made a sale.

Something had to change.

Remembering what I had learned in class I decided to change my approach. In order to truly run a successful practice I had to begin to understand what it was my clients were actually needing. When I began to ask more questions such as “What are you looking for” instead of “I think you could gain from this” I saw a dramatic change and began to make more sales.

This lesson I believe has been one of the most valuable in shaping my early sales career. Not only does it help you make the sale, but it also brings about the satisfaction that you have helped someone find what it was they were truly looking for and brought joy into their lives. I hope you will put this lesson into action and see some of the benefits as I have.

For further reading:

Know Your Customers Needs

Now, I would be interested in hearing some of the most valuable sales lessons you have learned.

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