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We seemed embarrassed to admit it, or we are trained not to say this, but selling isn’t selling really about Self Interest?

Despite all the things we say about being customer focused, what we really want is for the customer to buy what we are selling.  We want to win, we want to beat the competition, we want to achieve our goals, beat our quotas and earn our commissions.  We want to be successful. 

It’s really all about Self Interest…..but what’s wrong with that?

Isn’t business, and life, really about Self Interest?  We choose our relationships based on how they make us feel.  We work in companies based on what we get out of it, not only pay, but they do things we are interested in, they represent what we like.

Our customers are the same way.  They work in their own Self Interests.  They want to achieve their goals, they want to get a promotion, they want want to be successful.

It is human nature to be Self Interested.

Where we get confused, when things start getting complicated or going wrong is when we work with people where our Self Interests Aren’t Aligned.

We are unhappy in our jobs when the expectations of management and the strategies of the company are not aligned with our Self Interests.

Self Interest in sales is very challenging.  If, in serving our Self Interest, we are pushing something on the customer that doesn’t serve their Self Interests, the customers resent it.  They feel pressured, they may feel manipulated.  Conflict arises when Self Interests are not aligned.

But what if we aligned our Self Interests with those of the customer?  What if by focusing on the Self Interest of the customer, we could also satisfy our own Self Interest?  When what we are trying to achieve–sell our solution—aligns with what the customer is trying to achieve—solve a problem, we have no conflicts.  We work in tandem with the customer, each of us satisfying our own Self Interests.

We aren’t interested in nice meetings and conversations (unless that’s in our Self Interest).  We aren’t interested in working with customers who cannot help us satisfy our Self Interest.  We aren’t interested in customers who don’t have problems we can solve.  We want to disqualify all opportunities that don’t serve our Self Interest.  There’s nothing wrong with that–afterall customers feel the same way, they don’t want to waste time with people who don’t satisfy their (the customer’s) Self Interest.  We aren’t going to hurt their feelings, we’re just being human.

There’s another thing about Self Interest–it’s about people, what each of us wants, what each of our customers want.  Our companies and those of our customers really represent the aggregated Self Interests, goals, and dreams of all the employees, stakeholders, and shareholders–but there is really no Self Interest in companies.  Sometimes in selling we forget about this.  We focus on the customer’s–the company’s—goals, objectives, and problems.  We forget about the people who are doing the buying.  We don’t understand each of them, their Self Interests.  If we don’t understand their Self Interests (otherwise known as What’s In It For Them), we may have difficulty in aligning our Self Interests.

There’s nothing wrong with Self Interest–as long as our Self Interests are aligned with those with whom we work and with those of our customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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