Sales Process


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Need-to-sell versus need-to-buy

Early in my career, I called on someone I thought of as a cantankerous senior Vice President. He was Vice President of Application Development for a major retail chain. After several meetings that were tense and adversarial, I asked him why he did not like me? His answer stunned me and taught me one of the best selling lessons that I ever learned.

He said that he did not dislike me, but that most of our meetings caused him discomfort. Our company sold a leading edge, Business Intelligence (BI) solution to companies that had a lot of data they needed to analyze – and retailers have tons of data. We had sold our technology to other retailers and, in our meetings, we often discussed what we thought he should be doing to be more competitive.

But being more competitive wasn’t his problem! He stated that he had hoped our meetings would “help get things off his plate, not put more things on his plate.” The fact was that our meetings caused him more work and mental anguish, not less. He suggested that before our next meeting, I take the time to understand what his issues and current problems were and that I confine my presentation and discussions to how our company could help him – period.

What a revelation!

How do you discover someones need-to-buy? Be an expert at asking questions!

Mike Ehrensberger
Sales Force Systems, LLC
Since 1995 Mike Ehrensberger has concentrated on sales performance and effectiveness training and tools with Sales Force Systems. Earlier, he spent 1 years with Teradata Corporation in sales management and customer support management positions.


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