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Selling with Zen: From Salesperson to Trusted Advisor

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If you're looking for jobs in sales, especially if you want to make sales employment a permanent career, you can't just think of "getting the sale" as your ultimate goal. Rather, what you have to do is to engage with prospective customers or clients so that you become trusted advisors to them, helping them find services and products that will truly fit with them; this is very different than what we think of with traditional jobs in sales, where you're just focusing on "getting the sale" and nothing else.

What does that require, then? You might call this the Zen approach in sales, because what you're doing is engaging with prospective customers and establish clients and asking open-ended questions that are reflective; with large accounts, you may get this information from multiple contacts so that you come up with a cohesive approach to fulfilling the client's request.

If you take this approach to jobs in sales, it means that you're going to spend a lot of your time listening (as much as 80%) and only a small amount of time (for example, 20%) talking. In other words, you're not going to be peppering your clients with directives that they "have to" buy a particular product or service -- even yours. Instead, what you're really doing is gathering information so that you can come up with an approach that's going to truly meet your client's needs, which is in fact the only true measure of success in sales employment. If you meet your client's needs, he or she is going to come back to you again for more service, which results in more business. Far better than simply chasing the "next sale" and then the "next sale," without any eye to cohesive outcome, don't you think?



What you have to do, then, during this discussion to find out what clients want as part of your sales jobs? Truly analyze and determine what your client's core goals, challenges, negotiation and additions, strategies, and core business direction is going to be. It's okay to do some information gathering, of course, like downloading products, financial, and business information, or visiting the company website to get a feel for what the client does. What you need, though, is real-time information that comes directly from the client, not just some secondary and fragmented information from sources that may or may not have been updated for a while. Your focus as someone in sales employment is to listen to that client in real time, hearing the "inner voice" of the organization or company, so that you can help that client meet the goals necessary.

That requires trusting and confidence in you, the salesperson. That's why focusing on the "sale," again, is really secondary to first establishing trust and making sure that that trust is a real, not just a tool that you use to, again, gets the sale. Instead, fostering a relationship that garners a kind of long-term intimacy is going to give you your greatest success in sales jobs, which is the whole point of this Zen approach to sales.
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Popular tags:

 open-ended questions  listening  core business  methods  consultants  nurtures  spending  needs  relationships  sales


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